Where do I even begin? For as long as I can remember you have been a part of my life. My mom has pictures of me as a baby in my Jordan’s while I was holding my little basketball. You’ve been with me through the lows and most definitely the highs. You were there for me when my dad decided to leave us high and dry. When I needed something to alleviate the pain I ran to you, and when I did you sang beautiful music to me. The way the ball sounded when it bounced on the hardwood, the sounds of sneakers sliding on the deck, and the sound of the net was all music to my ears.
You gave me a haven where I could escape the realities that were going on around me. I knew that if I was on the hardwood or black top that no bullets could catch me, the drugs infesting my community wouldn’t reach me, and that I’d always stay off the same streets who had taken so many of my boys from me. If it wasn’t for you I’d be just another statistic. Because of you I became someone and managed to get out of the hood I grew up in. I owe my life to you.
Even though I never became an NBA star my love for you never went away, it only deepened through the years. Because of you I decided to start sharing my writing to the world. And even though I’m not technically a “basketball” writer a lot of my analogies and how I explain things to people have to do with basketball. If you know anything about me it’s that not only is my podcast named The Shoot Your Shot Podcast, but that is literally my life motto. Even if I get rejected by an artist or celebrity for an interview I pick myself up off the ground and shoot that damn shot again. I honestly can’t picture my life without you.
Now that I’m getting older I’m starting to think of having kids more and more. Every time that I do I come back to the same scenario. It’s me and my future son (I’m saying son because if I get a girl I’m going to get payback for being such a hoe during my single days) in our matching Brandon Ingram jerseys cheering on the Lakers. I always imagine what I’m going to say to him, what I’m going to teach him first, but most importantly I’m going to teach him that weak man-to-man defense is downright unacceptable.
I never had a dad around to teach me the nuances of the game like how to shoot a proper jumper or when to use the glass on a lay-up. I had to learn all that on my own, and even though I wouldn’t trade it for the world, basketball is a game that is much more enjoyable when you share it with the people you love.
I hope that you do for my child what you have done for me. You’ve inspired me, motivated me, and dragged me through hell sometimes but I believe it’s because that was your way of showing you loved me as much as I love you. Without you I don’t know where I’d be, but more importantly, I don’t know who I’d be without you.
You taught me how to be resilient, you taught me that giving up was not an option, but most importantly you taught me that you’ll only go as far as the amount of work you put in. Because of you I know what it is to be dedicated to my craft. You made me a man without even knowing it and for that I will always love you.