Once again I have been very privileged to have been able to see yet another NBA superstar, and this time no less than the biggest star of them all, with 2 rings, 4 MVPs, 2 Finals MVPs, and 2 All-Star MVPs, 2 Olympic golds, 2 Bronze, 1 Fiba gold, current NBA Champion and current MVP LeBron James.
The day started out at Shangrila Makati where all of us media listened to a ten minute interview between him and Boom Gonzales.
Media were unfortunately unable to ask questions ‘due to time constraints’, which was unfortunate not necessarily because I had anything to ask, but because Q&A sessions are almost always a riot. When Kobe came there was a guy who was taking so much time leading up to his question remembering stories of his being a fan of Kareem, Magic and the old Lakers, that I could swear he forgot his question so he ended up rambling about his College days. Continue reading “WIItnessing History – LeBron's Manila Visit 2013”
Kevin and Bobbito, the guys behind ‘Doin It In The Park!’ and who were sent in by Nike Phils. to show their film recently have finally written about their trip here, and as I expected they were stunned by how much we had embraced the game.
Let me try to take you back to many years ago. See that picture of a basketball court on top of this blog? I can’t remember exactly when but years ago on that same court I was playing pick up on a typical sunny weekend afternoon. It was way too hot to be out of the shade but there I was anyway along with a bunch of other basketball ‘adiks’ like me, getting a game in before there’d be too many people trying to play on two courts.
I don’t know exactly what made it happen but during a lull in the game I looked up at the blue, cloudless sky. There were a few branches from the trees in the way but for the most part it was a perfect sky. On a perfect afternoon. On the perfect time of day with me doing the most perfect thing I can think of: playing pick up ball.
And it hit me that right there, right then I did not want to do anything else anywhere anyhow anywhy. I was playing pick up and everything else in my world could go straight to hell and I couldn’t give a fuck (and a lot of it was at the time).
I remember thinking: Right now on that rough cement court I loved the game and as I was playing it I was loving my life. I loved the sound our sneakers made. I loved the sweat dripping off my chin. I loved the near smooth basketball even if everyone was avoiding the responsibility of buying a new one and it was getting smoother each week. I even loved the sweaty idiots I was with, many of whom I would never have reason to talk to if it weren’t for the fact they loved the game too.
I loved the game with every stitch and every pore and every atom in my body and to this day the distant sound of a bouncing ball or the whistle of a referee from a nearby school would send me reminiscing about all those battles, all those relationships, all those hours sitting by the court itching at a chance to play.
It’s my life. It’s why I made this blog. It’s the very core of who I am. My memories of pick up ball are both beautiful and bitter sweet. Why bitter sweet? I’ll let you know in a second.
Unbelievable the way Nike comes up with fantastic commercials. So much so that sometimes it does get predictable. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised to get a talkie this time, featuring KD and the new KD VI.
I chose the Spurs to win in Six and it isn’t really a basketball reason. Or rather, maybe it is. It’s not easy to explain but what the hell, I’ll give it a go:
The Spurs are a family. The Spurs are one of the most envied teams in the NBA. This is because they operate as a family, with Coach Popovich acting as either strict headmaster or caring father figure. His compassion for his players is so well known the press does not pay attention to it anymore. They are a tight knit group with very few manpower changes that this fact gets overlooked. Other teams that want to implement the Spurs winning ways resort to raiding Popovich’s Assistant Coaches, so coaches like Mike Brown and more recently Mike Budenholzer (who will coach the Hawks) are always receiving job offers, with other teams hoping to implement what the Spurs have into their own system.
A tight knit group in itself does not necessarily translate to good basketball, but it does though lay the foundation for it. A team that acts like a family does away with all of those niggling issues that make groups of people that have to work together so dysfunctional. Issues like jealousy, no one talking to one another, petty fights, ego etc., that easily break teams are lessened if not done away altogether.
So I caught the first of 3 big interviews the NBA came up with in time for the All Star break, particularly the one with Ahmad Rashad and MJ. The other two were Ernie Johnson and Charles Barkley and finally Bill Simmons and Bill Russell.
Sadly the goddam thing was destroyed by too many commercials, a situation that thoroughly confuses me considering this is supposed to be cable tv. As a result I would occasionally get distracted because I would do other things in between like cook lunch or god forbid, work.
I did get some bits in though so it’s best to write about them before I forget.