Just a few yards from the Ultimate Hoops headquarters, Johnson and Hyslop have played their pickup basketball games semi-regularly since the mid-1990s. To members of Life Time, the duo are simply known as "Frank & Dave." And with Johnson having played in a recent national seniors basketball tournament and Hyslop still seeking out games across the country, there’s no sign of they will be retiring from basketball soon.
“It’s great for cardio, great for stress,” says Hyslop. “It’s a great from that standpoint. And you get great friendships, like this old buzzard here,” pointing to Johnson, grinning.
Johnson retired from IBM in 1996 after a 33-year stint with the company in its marketing and finance divisions. Hyslop semi-retired from his career managing orchestras in 2003, but he still operates a consulting business that sends him around the country.
“When I travel around the country for work, I try to find games,” says Hyslop. “I’ve found games in West Virginia, Idaho, Chicago. There was a game in Dallas, and I’m going to see if those guys are still there.”
Both men departed from basketball in their youth, unknowing that they would revisit the game later on in life.
“I played high school ball at Kansas City Southwest, and graduated in 1956,” says Johnson. “I didn’t think I’d revisit basketball at that time, I was more worried about getting a job and supporting a wife and kids. A couple years before retirement I was working downtown, and I came over here at lunch hour. I just shot around, I didn’t play at first.”
Hyslop played basketball his freshman year of high school at Mont Pleasant in Schenectady, N.Y., home of General Electric and NBA legend Pat Riley (whom Hyslop was just two years older than in school). A misdiagnosed kidney infection scared him away from sports, and he picked up the trumpet instead. His passion was classical music and opera, and he got a Rockefeller Grant for orchestra management in 1966. The grant sent him to Minneapolis to train with the Minneapolis Symphony at the University of Minnesota’s Northrup Auditorium.
“When I came [to Minneapolis] with the grant and because we were at the University of Minnesota campus, I started playing with the college kids,” Hyslop reminisced. “I just kept it going, and I’ve been playing pick-up ever since.”
The pair have made friendships through the years while many of their fellow senior colleagues have hung up their basketball sneakers and stopped playing. "Frank and Dave" maintain a few secrets that they’ve held through the years, leading to their longevity on the court.
“Stay productive, keep the mind going, eat well,” Hyslop listed, with Johnson nodding. “And have a sense of humor. When I am playing ball, it seems intense. Once I step off the court and watch from the sideline, and it looks like basketball in slow motion.”