Skip to Content

OJ Simpson’s Complex Life Traces Found Scattered in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO – Prior to his acquittal of murder charges, O.J. Simpson was revered as a local hero with humble origins.

Born in 1947 and raised in the impoverished neighborhood of Potrero Hill, the San Francisco native, Orenthal James, honed his athletic skills at the Potrero Hill Recreation Center, participating in basketball, baseball, and football.

Peter Linenthal, the Director of the Potrero Hill Archive Project, has obtained photographs of Simpson from his early years.

“When O.J. resided here, there was a greater presence of public housing on the hill compared to today,” he remarked.

A weathered mural at the recreation center still commemorates Simpson’s achievements, while a trophy box inside proudly displays a photo of his little league baseball team from 1959.

O.J. Simpson, the former NFL running back famously acquitted of his ex-wife’s murder, has passed away at 76, as confirmed by his family on Thursday.

“In the 1970s, he generously contributed to the center, for which they were immensely grateful,” mentioned Linenthal, displaying a photo from his Potrero Hill historical book showing Simpson interacting with children at the facility in the ‘70s.

Simpson sported the number 28 at Galileo High School and later the number 32 at City College before progressing to the USC Trojans. The same number, 32, gained fame during his tenure with the Buffalo Bills after being drafted into the NFL.

Carmen Policy, a member of the Board of Directors for the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame, recalled Simpson’s induction in 1987 for his exceptional football career.

“Throughout the 1970s, O.J. Simpson was widely recognized as one of the most dynamic athletes in the region, particularly excelling in the NFL,” stated the retired 49ers executive.

Policy reminisced about meeting Simpson towards the end of his career when he returned to San Francisco to play in 1978.

“Even off the field, his impact on the fans was profound, regardless of his on-field performance,” Policy remarked.

He vividly recalled the unique charisma that Simpson exuded.

“The reactions of crowds and the public’s response to O.J. were reminiscent of a Taylor Swift effect,” Policy commented.

In the 1990s, Simpson’s fame as an NFL MVP and television personality became overshadowed by a tragic event.

“O.J. led a dual life,” Policy remarked. “Two distinct chapters defined his legacy.”

The second chapter commenced with the infamous murder trial that altered the course of his life.

“The latter part of his life, especially post-trial, epitomizes a profound tragedy, considering his earlier accomplishments both professionally and personally,” Policy reflected.

Despite the controversies surrounding him, Policy emphasized that the Board never deliberated on removing Simpson from the Hall of Fame.

“His eligibility for induction was based on his athletic achievements, irrespective of the challenges he faced later in life and the unfavorable actions he may have taken,” Policy clarified.

Policy also highlighted Simpson’s deep affection for his children, who were by his side at the time of his passing.

O.J. Simpson succumbed to prostate cancer at the age of 76 on Wednesday.