Hoop Dreams ~ BitterSweetLife

Friday, August 27, 2004

Hoop Dreams

Pulling your knees up when you jump makes you look higher.

A Basketball Diary

Once I dreamed I was holding an exclusive tryout for some top-flight agent, or NBA super-scout Marty Blake. To demonstrate my agility and power, I was jumping up and dunking a basketball through a ceiling fan. Then I woke up.

Marbury wanted to check Jordan. Kobe wanted to replace him. Lebron wants to be the best to play the game. We’re still looking for the next Great White Hope. In a world where hoops aspirations must be high if they’re not to be dissed, my basketball prospects have their vulnerabilities.

At 5’8,” I’m shorter than 99.74% of all college and pro-level players and 85.39% of all point guards in the same categories. (Statistics are based on quick mental estimates.) The fact that I’m in pretty decent shape for my size only emphasizes the above numbers, namely that I’m too short to even qualify as a “tweener.”

What’s worse, having picked up the game at age 12, I missed high school hoops through a combination of home education, no coaching, extracurricular travel, and ball handling skills that needed work to reach “par” level. A few years later at Rockhurst University, 18 hours of stiff academics beat out a walk-on opportunity my freshman year. However, I did find time to go through preseason with the team, drinking in one of the most grueling and least rewarding aspects of college hoops. Aaah.

I used to be the proud possessor of a 39 inch vertical, not bad for my height. Players would watch me bounce around the rim, shake their heads and say, “Too bad you’re not taller, man.” But back problems have taken away even this token victory, and reduced me to playing merely “above the net.” Now I’m forced to rely on ball feints and timing to get mine, at age 25 already turning into one of those “crafty old guys” we have all seen, been schooled by, and still somehow pity.

While I’ve occasionally been given the handle “white chocolate,” so far I’m not J-Will reconstituted. And while today’s prep sensations aspire to be the next Magic, Bird or Dream, my ambitions stand about two feet lower: Mugsy Bogues.

I wanna be
I wanna be
I wanna be
Like Mugsy

doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, but welcome to my game. I may not dunk on your head, but I will lay-up on your shoulder. Look out, there’s a hoopsta on your block, coming to a court near you: Little Dawg, the Small White Hope, and I’m bringin’ the rain. Or at least the drizzle.

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Anonymous said...

That was a well written piece of liturature for a street-ball player. Quite hilarious actually. :) It invoked a laugh-out-loud response! I want to play you some time. ;)


Pedro said...

Nice one, AJ. Sometime when I'm six feet we'll have to play.

Anonymous said...

Man oh man. What a capsuled compendium of the life of white males under six feet tall. I feel your pain, buddy, and one day I myself would like to feel all the air under a 39 inch vertical. Until then, I content my air travel needs with American Airlines. Sad substitute, I know. Someone should write a song about this.

burning midnight oil at the Ledger

Ariel said...

Thanks for the props, guys. It's good to know I am not alone in my bball fate. David, are you planning on finding any games in Lawrence? Let me know...I'll join you.

Ched said...

This is a very good post. I feel you've summarized my hoop dreams.


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife