Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Take 'em baseline. Run 'em. Ball screen. Fade away. Jump hook. Dunk master flex. The terms that define the game we love. The art work they instill only brings out the very best in creating description and teaching of this most influential team oriented game. How can we improve upon these phrases to make the game more powerful then we could ever imagine? KitKat, a chocolate wafer candy bar that only spells one thing through our media driven minds; Gimme a break.

When you're on the end of a three on one and those three players are coming at you full speed without the ball touching the floor, all you can do is press. Don't worry about the precision of their ability to wear down your lack of hustle, merely take it as a challenge to put forth your 110% and stretch it to 111%. The goal is to put the ball in the hoop, drive the rack, get fouled, and stop the clock to give your guys a chance to rest. That's where KitKat should come in.

This term shouldn't be elevated on the playground or on moments of weakness towards the officials, the term should be elevated during a sense of urgency to project more effort that could be put forth for the entire team.

Think about the commercial, the ingenuity, and creativeness about the commercial the candy bar displayed. "Break me off a piece of that KitKat bar." Break = Run out on the break, get to the hoop, help out your team. The goal of this term shouldn't lazily refer to running a 2-3 zone when the defense needs a break or run iso for the star player to put up an and1 mixtape. KitKat should be running out on the break, driving to the hoop, and being aggressive to assure oneself of getting to the charity stripe.

Life shouldn't be about breaks, it should be about making breaks. KitKat; Earn your break.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Too Scared to Drive

It's the fear of the height, the crash, and the block. The clogged center of the paint that only real warriors aspire to flee. It's an anomaly that constantly requires grit and dirty work to earn the easy two... But, define "easy." That definition lies between a 15 foot lane that is the difference between a poster and a prodigy. An area where legend can grow or wilt, become hammered or slashed, picked or poisoned. It can be the fast lane or the lane of 5 o'clock traffic. Either way, some people are just too scared to drive.

The step back shooters, fade away lifers, and the live and die three-point heavers all have this worry of the drive. They fail to take on the consequences of the easy bucket and lack the guts of driving it in towards the defense. These guys may not have the skills to take the 2-3 dribbles to penetrate this portion of the floor, but most of the time it is fear. They can't take the bruises or the opportunity to open up the floor for their teammates. The thought of doing something so selfless clearly irks their style of play, but what ever pays the bills right? We all know who these guys are and we know their passion is only part time for what this game provides.

I used to be that guy. The step back, fall away jumper, Oo-&Aw the crowd guy with his white man composition as though I don't belong. But I try to drive more often, knowing my teammates will be ready and available to make the next best percentage play. It takes time to accept this challenge, to be a man and understand that % > 3's & Glamour. Knowing that bruises build character instead of lifting three's on the break. Where a slashing cut and a two foot bounce pass can stop a defense on a dime instead of swinging it on the perimeter, waiting for something to happen.

Driving can help eliminate this stagnant style of play, making the game more colorful than it has become. Three-pointers have become parallel to obesity in this country where lethargic habits become the norm. The ones that make these habits ordinary may never find critical thinking as an important entity in their pursuit of life. Driving can only open ones mind helping us understand how the other five guys will react. Adjustment will come later, but the drive will force the comfort to dissipate and make scrambled eggs sunny side up.

So I challenge you to drive the lane, make an attempt to get out of your comfort zone, and help your team win the game by opening up another door. Three-pointers are nice, but they are like having too much fast-food; the more you shoot, the shorter you live. Drive the lane, take the pain, and push fear out of the passengers seat.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Playground

Ever since you were a little kid you have known about the playground. You know that recess time fills up your nostrils full of fresh grass, wet pavement, and gravel that only reminds you of opportunity awaiting you in your own curious state of youth. The playground is the one place you know of that provides the serenity, peace, and safe haven that allows our youth to develop by role playing and frolicking to their hearts desire.

There is also another sense of sound in the playground that can only be matched by the competitive spirit or just the simple game of horse. The sound of a bouncing rubber object in the distance, the clanging or crashing of the iron or metal, the swoosh of the nylon or clink of the chains, and the constant pitter patter of sneakers scrapping along the pavement. This playground is for finesse, fickle, and fortitude. Only the best ballers will survive. This version of the playground requires determination, max effort, and a place where legend is born. This is basketball at its best.

There are the stragglers, the lolly gagers, and the old men with perfect fundamentals, but this sanctuary is a place for the diverse, the accepting, and the best memories. On rainy days there have been fadeaway's that have won ballgames right before dinner was called, catch and shoot corner daggers on scorching afternoons, and soft rim attacking layups with an "Oh Baby" attached for good measure. Not everyone here goes pro, but some think they can. Some do have facets that pro's might wish they had, but this place isn't built for that. The playground is a place to stand your ground, a place to show that you have what it takes to compete and the best part is, it never fades.

This is the place where equality exists, where it thrives, where real life takes a backseat. No color, no money, no fame, and no name is ever guaranteed a warm welcome. Real game speaks here, while real talk echo's. The passion and fairness of the game exists while the real referees sit on the sidelines. Nobody calls fouls on a real blacktop. Go to the hole, get close-lined by Big Mike in the paint, get up, run back down court, play defense. Dap it up during a dead ball and move on. The way the game was meant to be played; hard, physical, aggressive, but with mutual respect understanding that the ball was the target.

The playground can be unforgiving, but at the end of the day, only you can make the decisions. The sanctuary is laid out, the stones are aligned, and the ball is in your court. Whether its life or a game, make the best of your opportunities and always give your very best. While the children play and their sounds billow in the blustery winds, you feel the rock in your hands, the pavement between your leather, and 9 guys around you, waiting for you to make a decision.


The playground doesn't wait.