This is more of a personal bio than a basketball article so I really donâ€™t expect much commentary, or frankly much interest. I hope some of you find it meaningful...
I have enough blessings in life that I know where basketball stands. It is not as important to me as my family, friends, or so many other things. But it is important.
Unlike most die-hard fans I have not followed basketball for my entire life. I was introduced to the NBA while attending Western Washington University for the 91-92 schoolyear. In addition to spending a few drunken nights with Shawn Kemp who had a girlfriend on campus I was treated to the amazing playoff series between the Golden State Warriors and the Seattle Sonics. I remember the exact moment I became hooked on this game and it was an alleyoop pass from Gary Payton to a streaking Kemp on the breakaway. That dunk started something that probably borders on obsession.
Over the last 13 years I have followed basketball religiously. Every player transaction, draft, rumor, and game has resulted in hours of online conversation that have probably been pretty damn unhealthy for both my body and my marriage. Despite my passion there was basically nothing positive coming out of basketball other than hours on the couch watching games and playing Playstation.
About a year ago I made a decision to change that. Coming off a particularly hard and stressful time at work I was invited by my friend (and SC.com participant) Ben Dobbs to play a game at the Washington Athletic Club. I decided then and there to play regularly, joined a gym near my work, and began to play the game anywhere from 3-5 times a week. Since doing so I have gotten marginally better, made some good friends, and lost about 14 pounds in the process. I also have gained a better understand of the game and really enjoyed myself.
Now comes the only part that may be interesting to any readers. Somehow with all thatâ€™s going on I have managed to convert my love of basketball into a chance to actually interact and participate with the Sonics. I can't really explain how it happened other than to say this opportunity came very suddenly and that I simply asked for it at whoat turned out to be the right time and place. 10 years of typing wasted messages on the internet and suddenly I am attending practice, talking to players and in a limited way able to consider myself a sports journalist. Over the span of a year basketball has gone from an unhealthy obsession to a meaningful part of my life.
This whole process is keeping me very busy and sometimes starts to feel like work, but every once in a while I have moments of clarity that make me really appreciate how good I have it. One of those moments came at Mondayâ€™s practice. I was shooting around with RJ Brunson, Rick Brunsonâ€™s 9 year old son when suddenly it hit me that I was there, joking around with Danny Fortson and playing basketball on an NBA court with the Sonics logo. How could any true fan ask for more?
As the holidayâ€™s approach I want to take a minute to say thank you to the Sonics staff and PR department who have been so welcoming to me. Thank you to the other Journalists, Frank, Percy, David, Jayda, Etc. who treat me like I belong. Thank you to the players who really are such a cool group of guys. Thank you to all my internet friends and readers who have wished me well in this process. Special thanks to Kevin Pelton who actually started this whole crazy thing, and most importantly thank you to basketball!
The game has been really good to me.