SAN ANTONIO — It's another day behind the wheel on the streets of San Antonio.
Another trip down memory lane for Fennis Dembo.
Dembo has been a bus driver for San Antonio's VIA Transit service the past five years. It's been nearly 35 years since he introduced himself to college basketball fans around the country.
“I’ve run into some of my friends and people who've known me and went to school with me," Dembo said. "The normal people, they don't know. They have no clue.”
Dembo led an underdog team from the University of Wyoming to the Sweet 16 in the 1987 NCAA men's basketball tournament. A few months later, he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated for its college basketball preview.
“Everything I had dreamed about, it happened there at Wyoming," Dembo said.
Dembo ended his Wyoming career as the program's all-time leading scorer and rebounder. His No. 34 was retired in 2019.
"You can be as confident and cocky or anything about yourself," Dembo said. "You don’t think of that, getting your jersey retired.”
Being a star was nothing new for Dembo. He was one of the best -- and most flamboyant -- basketball players in San Antonio during his career at Fox Tech High School.
“I still have a little bit in my personality," said Dembo about his flashy reputation. "On the court, it comes out a little bit more. It was just about enjoying the game.”
Rudy Bernal coached against Dembo and the Buffaloes in his first season at San Antonio Lanier.
“Fox Tech was very good, and he was one of the reasons why they were very good," said the longtime prep hoops coach. "They were very flashy, and so people came to watch them play. They definitely put on a show.”
Dembo's enjoyment for the game didn't translate to success in the NBA after Wyoming. He won the 1989 NBA Championship with the Detroit Pistons, but then was cut the next season.
“It was overwhelming for me. I didn't take care of the things that I needed to," Dembo said. "Mentally and physically, basketball-wise, I didn't know how to be a professional basketball player. I really didn’t. And anybody that tried to show me…I wasn’t listening.”
He'd never play in the NBA again. Dembo bounced around the Continental Basketball Association and European leagues before retiring from basketball in 1998.
He made his way back to the Alamo City after a few years. He now lives in the shadow of downtown in the same house he grew up in.
Dembo has also been driving for the city's bus service 2016.
"The most important thing is getting to that destination and getting your people there," Dembo said. "I look at the people who ride these buses as my teammates. You have to find a way to get along with them, because everybody has a different attitude."
And a different attitude through life, just like the basketball star who's found purpose as a bus driver.
“If you asked that kid at Fox Tech, 'Hey, are you driving the bus?,' He would have said, 'no, I never would do that'," Dembo said. "But I actually live my life, again, going through these bus routes.”