There are days when I sit back and reminisce about my adolescent years. Young and full of energy, I could climb trees and run around the neighborhood for hours. I was, for the most part, of average height and build compared to my peers but the one thing I lacked was competitive drive. Growing up I was considered a nerd. An A-average student for most of my pre-college years, I started to dabble in sports considerably late in my childhood. I was 13 years old when I played on my first organized team. It was the swim team. Yes, black guy on the swim team.
Don’t get me wrong, I played almost every sport recreationally. Football, baseball, soccer, and even tennis. When I started playing basketball I played on the street with a milk crate attached to a light pole. This would be the beginning of an awesome ESPN “30 for 30” except for one major caveat, I suck at basketball. After 31 years of living on this earth I’ve come to the realization that basketball is not my sport. I could blame it on my parents not really being inclined to get me into sports, not exposing me to them at a younger age. There is however only one person to blame for my miserable existence as an athlete, Kobe Bean Bryant.
By high school, I had participated in wrestling, football, and track. I failed to the point where I pray there isn’t footage of my lack of skills. Baseball was my passion and I did fairly well with it playing all four years of high school on a rather lackluster team. I tried out for basketball, twice. Didn’t make the cut, twice. At the point of my auditions I honestly thought I was the second coming of Kobe and Magic Johnson. A willing passer, good shot selection, great rebounder, and aggressive defender. What I failed to realize is that Kobe is Kobe for a reason. He’s talented. He works hard. He’s gifted. In a moment of self-assessment I decided to give myself a scouting report.
The best part of my makeup is my physique. Other than my now 31 year old slight stomach pooch I stand at 6’5″ and 225 pounds. A far cry from the 255 pounds I weighed about a year ago. In high school, I peaked at 6’2″ and 180 pounds during my wrestling season. Fair to say that even though I was a decent size NBA guard back then I was taller than most my peers. So during pick up games I was always the Center. Try putting Derrick Rose in the paint every play and only getting the ball IF you got a rebound. Yep, I was that guy.
Have you ever seen a fish jump out of water? That’s exactly how my jumpshot looks. No form. I can’t seem to place my hand on the ball correctly despite having relatively small hands for a man my size. Think of Shawn Marion shooting a three pointer with his eyes closed. Once again, I’m that guy. My Kobe-esque turn around fade away is sick though!
One area of my game I can hang my hat on is my passing. I do have a pretty good court vision. Being cross eyed helps me in so many ways on the floor. I can pass on both hands and my drive and kick is legendary on 12th street in Saginaw, Michigan. However, the next category hinders me from ever getting the ball to a teammate.
Ball Handling: F
Remember when I said I was always the Center when playing basketball? Well that definitely did not help my dribbling skills. I am quite stubborn though and in my mind I believe I’m Allen Iverson crossing someone over when in fact I’m more like Kwame Brown. (True story) I played a pick up game about two months ago. I was bringing the ball up court to the dismay of my teammates on a fast break. As the defender approached I knew I was about to ‘drop’ him with a crossover. As I planted my foot to execute this sensational move I broke my own ankle and fell to the floor in agony and pain. I truly thought I broke my ankle only to find out I fractured my foot. I have not played a game since that day.
I’m not getting dunked on. I’m not getting crossed over. I only break my own ankles. I’m an adequate defender. That’s all you should expect of me.
Basketball IQ: D
If I had a good basketball IQ I wouldn’t think I’m a point guard now wouldn’t I?
It sucks to be this tall and have people constantly ask you if you’ve played basketball before. It’s quite embarrassing actually. Nonetheless, one day soon I’ll step out to a court for a pick up game. There will be many suitors for my services. As long as I’m tall and black I’ll get picked up every day on a playground. All I have to do is ride my team’s coattails and win games because once the next round of players see my skills I won’t have to worry about playing another game. Maybe I should just stick with swimming. At least there is NBA2k16! I’m currently a 91 rating.