Basketballer to barbecuer

Former TU athlete-turned-restaurateur enjoys giving back.



Anthony Fobbs at his restaurant, Big Anthony’s BBQ.

Evan Taylor

Anthony Fobbs has come a long way after enduring a rough start in life in the less affluent section of Fort Worth, Texas.

“I’ve been an ‘overcomer’ most of my life,” he says.

The restaurant owner and former University of Tulsa basketball player first gained notice as a multi-sport athlete at Fort Worth Southwest High School.

During Fobbs’ senior year, TU Head Basketball Coach Nolan Richardson and Assistant Coach Scott Edgar visited Fobbs and pledged to help him get an education.

“I asked him (Richardson) to put that in writing,” Fobbs says. “He came back the next day with the letter that included everything we talked about. I signed it and never looked back.”

Once in Tulsa, Fobbs adapted quickly to TU’s up-tempo game made famous by Richardson.

“We played a ‘run-and-gun’ style in high school, so I was used to the way TU played,” Fobbs explains. “That made the transition so much easier.” 

While perhaps not a superstar, Fobbs was nevertheless a key component in TU’s impressive run of four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.

Fobbs defends Wayman Tisdale of the University of Oklahoma as the University of  Tulsa upsets the Sooners, 104-69, at the Tulsa Convention Center on Jan. 9, 1985. University of Tulsa Athletic Department.

His contributions often came in ways that could not always be measured. Blocking out an opponent’s top rebounder, setting screens for teammates or putting the clamps on an opposing team’s big man all helped TU claim many victories.

“I always seemed to play better against good big men,” explained Fobbs, who at 6 feet 10 inches and 235 pounds made for an imposing presence in the paint.

Fobbs also scored a career high 23 points against Oral Roberts in a crosstown rivalry at the Mabee Center.

After college, Fobbs continued his basketball career by competing internationally. Playing in Mexico, Argentina and Australia provided Fobbs opportunities to see the world.

“I met some amazing people and saw sights that I would never otherwise get to see,” he says.

Bad knees finally forced him to hang up his sneakers and return to Tulsa. 

A variety of jobs, including working for a flight simulator company, painting houses and mowing lawns, left Fobbs somewhat unfulfilled.

He started dabbling in a favorite childhood pastime — cooking barbecue.

“My grandfather was a sharecropper in east Texas, and he would also smoke lots of meat,” Fobbs says. “I would help him and my dad with the fire and grill. When I was about 9 or 10 years old, they handed me the fork and spoon and simply told me to ‘run the pit.’”

Fobbs gradually learned the finer points of grilling, often providing food for his church, the Broken Arrow High School band and football teams and TU Lettermen events.

Encouraged by his friends, Fobbs entered several local barbecue competitions, such as the Bixby BBQ and Blues Festival and The Art of BBQ and soon found himself winning awards and gaining recognition for his culinary skills.

After much soul-searching, Fobbs and his family decided to take the big step and open his own restaurant, Big Anthony’s BBQ. 

Wife, Kimberly, daughter Alaiszia and son Anthony Jr. all help at the restaurant when they can. Going into its fifth year, the business is seeing more patrons than ever.

Community minded, Fobbs coaches boys’ and girls’ Amateur Athletic Union basketball teams. He also served as a referee and assists in area summer camps. He often speaks at the Tulsa Boys Home and helps young culinary students develop their skills through a partnership with the Tulsa Job Corps.

“All this keeps me grounded,” Fobbs says.

 

Big Anthony’s BBQ

8151 E. 21st St., 918-561-6227, www.biganthonybbq.com

 

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June 2019

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
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View map »

More information

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Cost: free & open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
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View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
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View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Then, Here/Now: Creating Community in the Center is a group exhibition that illuminates the histories and presence/presents of LGBTQIA+ art collectives and projects that help to ensure visibility...

Cost: Free

Where:
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307 East M. B. Brady St.
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Telephone: 918-585-1234
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Cost: $100/week; $400/4weeks; $30/day

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415 Couch Drive
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View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
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More information

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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

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National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
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More information

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Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
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View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

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Cost: free & open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
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View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

More information

The Museum’s Dickinson Research Center is home to more than 700,000 photographs, 44,000 books, and perhaps unexpectedly, at least 1,000 horses. Meet some of the herd in Horseplay, the new...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
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View map »

More information

Then, Here/Now: Creating Community in the Center is a group exhibition that illuminates the histories and presence/presents of LGBTQIA+ art collectives and projects that help to ensure visibility...

Cost: Free

Where:
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307 East M. B. Brady St.
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Telephone: 918-585-1234
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Cost: $100/week; $400/4weeks; $30/day

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Cost: $15

Where:
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Telephone: (405) 236-3100
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More information

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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

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More information

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Cost: free & open to the public

Where:
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View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

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Cost: $15

Where:
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View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
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Telephone: 918-585-1234
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