It started with a text… “You definitely can bang on one of these guys tonight.” That text message had my eyes light up like an 8 year old on Christmas morning.
The term “bang” or the act of “banging on” another player is hoops lingo for dunking on someone. And anyone that knows me knows how much #iHeartDunks
Due to scheduling I can’t always make every game in this league. My older cousin/basketball mentor, Fletch, was reminding me of the game time, but knew he needed a good way to hook me in, and dunks are the best bait. For the next 2.5 hours all I could think of was suiting up for my aerial assault.
After completing all of my tasks for the day it’s finally game time, but I’m running late! As I’m making my way in to the gym, I notice the score and chuckle to myself. I knew we would win the game from the tone of Fletch’s text message but I didn’t expect it to be this bad.
As I’m lacing up my Nike Kyrie 2’s one of my teammates says to me, “hurry up, we need you!” I look over to him and say, “yeah sure, I can tell by the score.” He looks at me with the most sincerest of looks and says “we’re down.”
I showed up with about 10 minutes left in the first half, and by the time I was dressed, stretched out, and ready to enter the game there were 3 minutes left on the clock and the score was 8-26.
As I come to terms with the situation, the competitive nature kicks in and I have one thought, ‘we’re going to win.’ …At least that would be my mentality. At the next deadball the ref blows the whistle, the buzzer goes off, and I check in.
“Who’s got skinny? …guys who’s got Kerry Kittles?!” My antennae go up like Drake on a Tuesday. I look in the direction of the voice, and make eye contact with the comedian. I grin. I get it, you’re up 20 points so you assume our team is a joke. What difference does it make if this skinny guy that resembles a 90’s NBA star just subbed in to the game?!! Up until this point your team has dominated mine, and as a late entry to this competition, you’re just making sure I’m aware. The spirit of competition!!
The spirit of competition also includes the preparation prior. The hours, days, months, and years of your life preparing for moments like these, and even greater. In hearing the “skinny” remark, I mentally went back to those days. My competitive fire was lit, and so are these highlights!
8 points in 3 minutes. The first half was just a taste. I was just getting warmed up. That first 3 minutes was the beginning of the end, for the other team. The second half would be worse, and because of the “Kerry Kittles” comment I had no sympathy and it showed…
Slowly we made our way back in to the game. Picking the defense apart and getting good shots was key! Often times young basketball players feel as though dominating a game means scoring a lot of points. True dominance is shown when a basketball player is able to make their teammates better.
Our biggest problem was rebounding, so I made it my mission to go after every missed shot. I found myself at the free throw line, a lot.
With just over a minute left in the game we would tie 50-50 and force their team to call a timeout. Perfect timing because I was absolutely winded. At certain points through out the game I probably should have subbed out, but I was determined to win and resting wasn’t an option. Thank God for the timeout…
With one final play our team would take the lead and never look back! Teamwork was the theme of the game and this was the icing on the cake.
Immediately, reflecting on our well deserved victory, I realized how absolutely rude, disrespectful, and dishonorable I had been on this day towards the culture of the sport I love. I, in know way, meant any disrespect to the basketball legend that is Kerry Kittles. It was the “skinny” comment followed by “Kerry Kittles” that set me off. I could only wish to ever be as good as he was. So to the gentleman that thought it was funny to make such a comparison, I am truly honored.