BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A no-hitter, bowling a 300 game, hitting the bull's eye. It is said that the pursuit of perfection breeds excellence, and one local artist has had his taste of both.
Ed Palubinskas is a bit of a mess. The back of his pick-up truck is stuffed full of boxes, paint cans, rollers, and other tools of your average mural painter. On Friday afternoon, he was digging through old plastic bags looking for three pints of paint that have mysteriously disappeared.
"Einstein and all those guys who did great things, they never organized their stuff," he said. And that is good enough for Ed.
He may be no Einstein, but he has pursued greatness all his life. The last thirty years was as a painter, but that was not his original plan.
In college, Ed wanted to be a college basketball coach. That was when he learned he had a different talent.
"I did a portrait of every player, and they put it in the media guide," he said.
Besides the portraits, Ed drew the cover of the guide that year. "I look back now, it's kind crude."
Thirty years later with his basketball dreams far behind him, art seems to shoot from his mind to the brick wall he is airbrushing.
"If you're going to be a great shooter, or great at any business, God is in the details," he said.
And it's that pursuit of greatness, that attention to detail that endeared him to legions of LSU basketball fans in the early 1970s. People might remember Ed better as No. 10, the Free-throw Master.
Back then, he set the record for free-throw percentage (92.4 percent), consecutive free throws in a game (14), and consecutive free throws in a season (43). He was the second leading scorer in the Munich Olympics in 1972, and he set the Guinness Book of World Records for free throws at more than 1,200 without a miss. He also shot 85 percent from the free-throw line -- blindfolded.
These days, when Ed is not looking for lost paint cans in the back of his truck, he is coaching NBA stars, like Dwight Howard and Brandon Bass, and middle schoolers alike on the focus, the drive and the practice it takes to strive for perfection in sports and in life.
"I really believe we have a duty to find out what our gifts are," he said from his perch atop a ladder, dabbing paint on the egret taking shape on the wall. "Michelangelo saw the Statue of David inside a rock. Chiseled away, and all of a sudden, it's a fancy sculpture."
In Ed's eyes, we are all great artists. We just have to find our medium, and work at it.