Before sitting for an interview on the back deck of Kokomo’s at the Mirage, Nate Morris said, “I gotta show you this.”
Then he produced his iPhone, which showed the famous “SF” logo of the San Francisco 49ers.
“I’m a Niner fan,” said Morris, one of the founding members of Boyz II Men. The vocal group that hit it in a big way in the early 1990s and has sold 60 million records worldwide is booked at Terry Fator Theater for a run of 77 shows from March 1 through the end of the year.
The point of this appearance at the Mirage on Jan. 3 was to announce that partnership. Boyz II Men promises to bring its distinctive “Motownphilly” artistic sensibility to the Strip.
Motown, as in Detroit and that city’s soul-funk-R&B sound. Philly, as in the hometown of the group’s original members.
None of that description hearkens to the San Francisco Bay Area. Why is Morris such a fan of the 49ers, who play in Atlanta against the Falcons in Sunday’s NFC Championship game?
Credit goes to a schoolyard bully in a Cowboys hoodie.
“As a kid, when I was 6 or 7 years old, there was this bully who used to beat me up all the time,” Morris said while drinking a cup of tea. “One day, he came to school, and he was all mad. Really, really upset. I asked one of my friends why he was so pissed off, and he said, ‘The Cowboys had a game last night, and they lost.’ ”
Morris asked, “Who’d they play?” His friend said, “They played the Niners.”
“I said, ‘OK, I’m jumping over there,’ ” Morris said. “I’ve been a Niner fan ever since.”
Asked for his prognosis for the Niners-Falcons game, the winner advancing to the Super Bowl, Morris says, "We should win. That's the scary part. But I don't think it will be a blowout."