Archive for Tim Duncan

Loose Ball or Loose Cannon: Who Is Lavar Ball?

Posted in Sports with tags , , , , , , on March 2, 2017 by geniusscribbleink

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“Basketball is my favorite sport, I like the way they dribble up and down the court”-Kurtis Blow

 

It was the year 1984 and yes the bias child that still lingers within me unequivocally believes that life just couldn’t get much better than the 80s. I remember watching some local cats embattled in a break dancing contest in front of a local store front and at the time the very song I borrowed an excerpt from at the beginning of this blog Basketball was providing the nostalgic soundtrack for what is arguably one of the greatest forms of self-expression to date which is the B-Boy or Break-Boy. Of course this is not a blog on the evolution of Hip Hop culture as we can save that for a future blog. My true intent and focus is actually about the song Basketball. I recall hearing that song for the first time during that break dancing memoir I previously detailed. It was then in which I realized just how relatable that song was to me on a personal level.  I love basketball, just like Kurtis Blow articulated in that song. In fact I have healthy/not-so healthy obsession with the sport that often hovers on the cusp of insanity. But is that not what passion is all about?  Passion is defined as: “strong and barely controllable emotion”. Well if you ever catch me watching my New York Knickerbockers play, all that is described in that definition is always on full display, as my television is usually a sounding board for both those positive exclamation during heroic moments, as well as the profanity laced discourse of villainous failure. Indeed it is the quintessential polar opposite dynamic that embraces the concept that in order to understand great love you must first experience even greater heartbreak. But that is what unbridled emotions are about. They are lively and in the moment. They are raw and organic. And at times they can even be misconstrued. This is why I entitled this blog focusing on the father of UCLA’s basketball star Lonzo Ball; asking whether or not he is merely a loose ball or a loose cannon? We all know he loves his son, but is his passion too strong and uncontrollable due to his emotions. Let us delve into his history and let you decide.

 

First let me state that I am a very confident person. I don’t wear it with an arrogance or exude the type of bravado that sucks the air out of all living species. In fact I despise narcissism and self-absorbed people. To me confidence is just believing high in yourself and your ability to accomplish anything you set your mind towards doing. If we are going to give confidence its fair description, its definition states the following: “the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust”.  When examining Lavar Ball and his impassioned assurance in his son Lonzo Ball’s basketball prowess, one could conceive that he believes and trust in his son’s ability to become a great basketball player at the professional level. I don’t believe it is a farfetched notion as Lonzo Ball’s projected ceiling has zenith and apex written all over it. Projected to be one of the top draft picks in this up and coming NBA 2017 draft class, many have Lonzo Ball being either the number one or number two pick. So one can concur that not only does Lavar Ball have confidence in his son, but apparently those at the professional level endorse his conjecture as well. But this is normal and not outlandish. We have seen young prospects be ballyhooed year after year, projected to be the next Michael Jordan. So no harm no foul in that regards. In the case of Lavar Ball what has been an unprecedented act is the fact that he has predicted greatness for his son (who has never played at the NBA level) by climbing over the back of two NBA champions (Jason Kidd and Stephen Curry, the latter a two-time league MVP) in order to transmogrify his son into a basketball savant.  If it stopped there then maybe this blog is not written, but he then goes on the lament the fact that his son would only play for a particular franchise of his preference (he has since backtracked the statement) even though the drafting process is in laymen’s term is “first come, first serve” as whatever organization that is in position to draft said player has every right to pick whoever they so choose. He also went on to proclaim that albeit sneaker companies have been after his son (once again his son has never played a professional game in his life) he is only willing to discuss distribution deals for his son’s sneaker brand in the likeness of Jordan brand called Triple B’s. So to give this perspective, a young man who has never played professional basketball father is demanding that his son have a shoe deal, his choice of the team he wants to play for, all while insulting two NBA legends as well. Wow. We often talk about handing out trophies to all participants, but what does it mean when a kid’s father hijacks the trophy truck way before the trophy presentation. I can understand having confidence in your child and feeling passionate about his life and wanting the best for your child. I get it. But what kind of precedence or standard of respect is this teaching your child? To each his own with regards to how they choose to raise their offspring, but sometimes some things are so egregious that you have to question a person’s parental guidance. Lavar Ball is not lacing up those shoes, in fact the university is paying for them more than likely. Lavar Ball will not have to pay his son’s salary at the NBA level, because the org he plays for will handle that. Lavar Ball will not have to face competition night in and night out against the world’s best basketball players who will look to annihilate young kids who come in with an air of arrogance surrounding them. So all in all why is Lavar Ball acting like he is the one playing for UCLA and not his son? This should be a time for his son to showcase his greatness, yet we are talking about the arrogant proclamation of a father  who is stealing the spotlight from his son. No one is questioning Lavar Ball having high standards for his child or anyone having high expectation for children. Really good parents want their kids to exceed abundantly. I have always believed that true power is alway silent. Greats like Tim Duncan barely made a squeak during his entire tenure as a professional and yet his NBA resume puts him atop a list of the all-time greatest ever to play the game. So is Lavar Ball “that” parent?  We all know them, the ones who scream at their kid’s coaches and trip cheerleaders who make the squad over their kid. The ones who create a generation of entitled anal cavity muscles who believe they deserve everything just because they showed up. Lonzo Ball has apparently worked his butt off to get where he is and I think it is safe to say his father played a humongous part in doing so. But one of the worse things any person can do is pull a Leon Lett and celebrate prematurely before reaching the finish line. You respect the goal and you respect the process, I don’t know of any great person no matter how confident he or she is that does not adhere to this philosophy. In sports you may see players scramble for a loose ball now and then and are able to corral it, but when a loose cannon misfires the results are always quite damaging. My hope is for a great career for young Lonzo Ball who is talented beyond measure, but I also hope that Lavar Ball recognizes that he has done a great job that does not require these demands as validation of that terrific job. And perhaps in the end Lonzo Ball will be remembered in a song by his generation’s Kurtis Blow’s much like Julius Irving was. #when Dr. J shook the whole damn team with moves that came right out of a dream #they’re playing basketball  #ballislife

San Antonio Spurs: A Lesson In Globalization

Posted in Sports with tags , , , , , , , on June 17, 2014 by geniusscribbleink

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The term globalization is defined as “the process of international integration arising from the interchange of world views, products, ideas, and other aspects of culture.” Two of the supposed “basic core aspects” of globalization is said to be the migration and movement of people and the dissemination of knowledge. Acclaimed Sociologists Martin Albrow and Elizabeth King described globalization as: “All those processes by which the peoples of the world are incorporated into a single world society”. Throughout the vast history of the United States, New York City is often thought to be the center of the world and is said to be the quintessential “melting pot” due to the migration of diverse cultures that migrate to this great metropolis in search of a new life, a new hope and ultimately to live out the so-called “American Dream”. What gets often lost in this country, as we seemingly find the topic of immigration being heavily debated amongst politicians and certain sections of the population at large, is the fact that for the most part, this country’s evolution was in large part due to the lack of borders and the acceptance by Native Americans of all who sought refuge on their land. In other words, before the concept designation and construction of Ellis Island, America for the most part was one gigantic, freestanding “Ellis Island” that was immersed in the ideological aspects of globalization. In our current world, we live in a time in which the world has for the most part shrunk due to the World Wide Web and other tele-communicative devises; however the process by which we seek out our dreams remains the same. And as the old adage goes “we must go where our dreams take us”. In this particular instance, globalization will not be about trade transactions or capital investment. This take on globalization in its truest form, is about two things: Basketball and the players from around the world who migrated to play it. Their destination? San Antonio Texas.

I love to ingratiate myself with people from different cultures because it is the easiest way to touch the entire globe without purchasing a plane ticket. Albeit I am a die-hard NY Knicks fan (don’t worry my wife sends me to counseling for this condition of lunacy) I make no qualms in revealing the envious basketball crush I have on the San Antonio Spurs (we are dating they just don’t know it yet). Their franchise has always exhibited the type of class, professionalism and dignity that any fan of any sports team yearns to cheer for. But what enhances their allure that much more is the fact that they also win championships in the process. I am a person who embraces change in most aspects of life, however I hold a certain stubbornness when it comes to basketball and my theory on how the game should be played. I grew up watching arguably the greatest era of basketball during the 1980s and in turn, I had the privilege of watching what most of us deem as the greatest player ever to play during the 1990s. So for me, I know basketball only one way and that is “the right way”. It’s what dynasties have been founded on and what the history of this great game was solidified upon. Now I’m not dead set on the refusal of change. Let’s face it, my High Definition television forbids me to even compartmentalize the black and white television I grew up viewing that reminds of the scene from the movie Poltergeist (I refuse to look back into the gray and black pixels of the light Carol Ann). In fact I love the newfangled gadgetry of this era. I recognize that time evokes a need for change, but overall it’s hard to change ones system of values. My mother taught me a valuable cliche when assessing a movement towards change. She would say “You don’t go from sugar to sh%t”, meaning you make change for the better and not the worse. I’ll admit that I have been a miserable basketball fan for several years now, as I’ve been pining for a glimmer of hope. A hope that someone would please resuscitate the air back into the orange sphere of Spaulding and dribble the damn ball the “right way”. Well sometimes prayers are answered and sometimes there’s an additional windfall that accompanies the prayer. After a seven-year drought, the San Antonio Spurs captured their fifth world championship of basketball on Sunday and they did so by overthrowing the reigning two-time champions (Miami Heat) in what was perhaps the greatest route in NBA Finals history. This win was done by playing sound, fundamental basketball; all within the context of team concepts. This phenomenal feat also marked that of a philosophical change in the NBA, as this idea of five individuals playing together as a one went completely away from the modern-day, standard, norm of featuring supremely gifted individual talents as a focal point instead. I am also one who likes to “wax poetic” from time to time and wanted to also sensationalize another point of emphasis with regards to the changing of the philosophical guard as well. Not only was the San Antonio Spurs a team oriented team; they are also a team that resembles the philosophy of globalization. When peering down their roster, you will find a collection of globally diverse individuals from many different parts of the world. Tim Duncan was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Tony Parker and Boris Diaw both hail from France. Manu Ginobli is from Argentina. Patty Mills and Aron Baynes are natives of Australia. Rounding out this United Nations mosaic is Marco Bellinelli of Italy, Tiago Splitter of Brazil, Cory Joseph of Canada and of course Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Austin Daye, Matt Bonner, Jeff Ayers and Damian James of the United States of America. This worldly conglomerate, at the command of head coach Gregg Popovich, all convened in the one of the most unlikely place of destination (San Antonio) because they decided to go where their dreams took them. The dream of course was to capture an NBA Championship. I think what we can draw from this is the fact that when there is a common goal and there is a genuine collective effort being put forth to achieve that goal; that the backgrounds, religious beliefs, cultural rituals and language barriers of the individuals should not be deal breakers, but more so mere hurdles to be jumped over and not to be thwarted by. Sports has commonly been known to bring together people from many different economic classes, ethnicities and genders. It is the one time where everyone roots for the home team and against the common enemy at hand. Not that the issues of society can be solved by a lay-up or a three-point shot, however, somehow teams like the San Antonio Spurs have been able to do what no world leader has been able to do, which is gather nations, set a goal and commit to achieving it. I’m not sure what the solution is for the world problems at large, but I do believe that the leaders of the world may want to take a look into Gregg Popovich’s play book for some answers. Some may dismiss this by saying it’s just a game, well I will offer a rebuttal of that by saying don’t many refer to our existence as the “game of life”? Perhaps I’m wild and zany or perhaps I’m just a dreamer of sorts. But this I do know, San Antonio solved my basketball misery, so it’s not so far-fetched that they just may be able solve other issues as well. As children we are taught to “play nice”; but now we just seem to want to “play evil” instead. If we only knew how to play together, then maybe we can start to “play the right way”. #SA World Champs