Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Kickin' It Old School

For many of you that read my blog, I am usually taking on the wonderful world of college sports, but today, something has me feeling nostalgic. It could be the after effects of the high school reunion a couple weeks back. It could be that I have a jumped the shark as they say and I'm on the downward slide. Maybe Neil Young was right, it is better to burn out than to fade away, but at least, I've got the memories to keep me going. For the first time in a long, long time, I have a genuine interest and excitement in the NBA finals.

A long time ago, I was this small town kid with the Tony Hawk shwap. I lived and breathed everything that was the NBA. Baseball didn't do it for me. Football was cool. Hockey was great. My soccer fandom was in its infancy. None of them however could feed my imagination the way that basketball did at the time.

With every fantastic highlight, I would go outside and somehow try to imitate on our backyard court what I just saw. Lack of athletic ability usually got in the way. Everyday I would shoot hoops for hours on end. Often, my dad and I would play a game of horse. Of course I would try every fantastic highlight reel film shot I saw. My Dad of course would be shooting shots popular in his era like the hook, the set shot and the left handed layup, while I would be trying the double pump in mid air, with a kiss off the glass. I thought I was Jordan. My dad thought he was Bill Walton. Neither one of us though had a great shooting percentage. I guess that would explain why Coach K never sent me that scholarship offer and my dad never made it past the Fountain Hill High School varsity.

In my dad's youth, they had Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente and Whitey Ford. We had Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and of course, his airness, Michael Jordan. These were my heroes. Charles Barkley telling me that he was no idol, made him more of one to me. I remember Mr. Robinson's house. I remember Dominique Wilkins with the windmill slam. Watching Spud Webb win the slam dunk competition gave hope to the little guys like me. When Michael hit the last shot against Utah, it ended. It ended that is, until now.

Something feels right about a Boston - LA final. I am not a particular fan of either team, I guess its the nostalgia of so many great memories of my youth coming out. It was Magic vs. Larry back then. Now its Kobe vs. Boston's big three. It has everything you want, from the Zen Master on the sidelines to Jack Nicholson sitting in the stands. If only Chick Hearn and Johnny Mosley were still alive to call the games, we then could have had basketball nirvana. Showtime may have closed its curtains, but Kobe and company opened it back up in HD.

So I guess now I'll be looking for the Spike Lee Mars Blackman Nike commercials again. It was never really the shoes Spike. For the first time in many years, the other day I went to the local basketball court to shoot some hoops. I probably had a shooting percentage of around fifteen percent. Just like back in the day, it was the wind, of course...


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