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Peppers on Tobacco Road: "All He Wanted Was Some Ice Cream!"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    In Bailey, North Carolina, it seems all 670 residents know Julius Peppers.

    Tony Tabrown remembers the Peppers family well and considers himself a good friend of Bessie Peppers, talking to her twice a month.

    "How quiet he was!" Tabrown said, "I used to go to his house all the time all he wanted was some ice cream, loved to eat ice cream!"

    In every store front, every shop, and on porches across this quiet little town, everyone has a story about Julius Peppers. Just stand in the parking lot of the Piggly Wiggly and you'll find guys like CJ Taybron who happened to be Peppers best friend from 5th grade through graduation from South Nash High School.

    "He was a tremendous athlete no matter what sport," Taybron recalled. "We always said he was going somewhere in something!"

    But back at South Nash High, everyone thought Julius Peppers was headed to the NBA ever since they saw him dunking in the 7th grade. You don't grow up down Tobacco Road not wanting to be Michael Jordan, or some combination of basketball greatness. Just ask his father George Kurney why he named his son "Julius Frazier"?

    "Julius comes from Julius Irving, Frazier comes from Walt Frazier with the Knicks" Kurney explained. Sitting in his living room next to the town cemetery, Kurney talked about his son Julius' lofty goals in life.

    "When he was a young boy he told me he wanted to be a professional and that's what he is!" Kurney laughed. "Julius was in middle school when he knew he had the potential to be an NBA player -- that's what he wanted, that was his first love."

    But after quenching his thirst to "be like Mike" at UNC, his basketball dreams changed to football.

    "His mom would say 'C'mon over to my house come and let me show you all the scholarship (offers) he's got," Tabrown recalled. "You got a millionaire right there, that's what I told her."

    A millionaire alright. But in football, not basketball.

    "He's the only one from this community that made it big," Arthur Deans smiled. Sharon Tarpley added, "it's a honor to have someone like that, 'hey I'm from Bailey', do so well in life."

    And from Nash County Corporal Kurney in the Sheriff's office. "Definitely proud of him" Kurney said, "words can't explain it."

    Julius Frazier Peppers, Bailey's number one son.