I remember it like it was yesterday when my dad bought me a basketball goal and a ball. I took my first shot and all I heard was “swish.” I took another shot an it went in too. It was love at first sight. I have always had a passion to play and I still do. But it does not compare to the love I have for Jesus Christ. With basketball I have a lot of good memories but with Jesus Christ I have a bright future. I used to live by the statement, “Ball is life,” but now I live by “Jesus is my life.” So in this blog, I want to pay homage to some of the greatest influences on my life on the basketball court. All of them played the game with passion and a desire to win. I love their work ethic and that is the reason that they at some point in their careers won championships.
Larry Legend Bird was one of the first influences in my life as a child. This guy was a triple threat every time he got the ball in his hand. Although I hated the Celtics, I secretly admired his game and hustle. He worked hard every possession and he hated to lose. My dad bought me a VHS by Red Auerbach called, “Winning Basketball.” I must have watched that video then at least 100 times. I would then go in the yard and practice everything they taught. It worked and my game improved tremendously. Larry Legend I salute you sir for being a blue collar type of player. You were not a person of flash but you definitely hung a few banners in the Boston Garden.
My next player of influence was the Celtics nemesis. He hails from the west side of Chicago and his name is Isaiah Thomas. He definitely was a smaller player but he dominated in his position on the court. He was the leader of the Bad Boys and they were controversial with their style of play but in the end you had to respect the fact they won two championships. He was tough as nails. Who could forget the one game he twisted his ankle and still scored 25 points in one quarter. They lost the series but he showed that Chicago West Side grit that players from there are known for. Despite his critics and his treatment of Micheal Jordan, he still is a legend in my book.
The next guy that influenced me was none other than the greatest to ever lace them up in my opinion. He is what players today still want to be. His name is Micheal Jordan. Maybe you have heard of him before. If you know anything about the game of basketball, then you have heard of him. Who could hate his dunks, fade-away jumper and his defensive skills. This dude will definitely be the greatest of all time. He never lost in the Finals. He always came home with the trophy. This guy definitely changed the game was played. He was a beast on the court.
Then there is my favorite player of this era. Many love to hate him because they said he tried to be Michael Jordan. But is that such a bad thing? Everybody in the whole world wanted to be like Mike. Remember the commercials? This guy is Kobe Jellybean Bryant. He was an intense player and was a scorer like none other. Who could forget the 81 points in a game. What about the 61 he dropped in Madison Square Garden. It is said that he never saw a shot he did not like. But to end up as the NBA’s 3rd leading scorer of all time, what can you really say about this man?
Those are the influences from my basketball career. I love the game of basketball and always will. If you are a true Hooper, who are yours? There are no right or wrong answers here. Some of your favorite players can be the very reason you play the way you do.