As I was watched Damian Lillard drill that game winning three against New Orleans, I couldn’t help but think about myself. Because I’m a narcissist.
No, it was actually because I was recently thinking back on my basketball career and lamenting the fact that I NEVER hit a game winning shot as time expired. Not once. That might seem like a ridiculous thing to regret. But it’s not.
What scenario does every player imagine when they practice? They don’t pretend to get an assist on the winning basket, or clinch a game with a steal, or take a timely charge.
Those are all things I have done, and I am proud that I did them. This isn’t a humblebrag. But no one dreams about heroic defensive stands. You dream about sinking a shot as the clock hits double zero, and getting mobbed by your teammates.
That is the holy grail of in-game moments. Call it selfish, close minded thinking, but it’s the truth. Nothing gives a person more satisfaction, credibility, and confidence than draining a shot on the final possession. At least that’s what I assume. I don’t actually know, because I never did it. What I do have experience with is missing such shots.
And I learned something from all those misses. It’s something that I have been in denial about for years, and I think it’s finally time to come clean: I had a tendency to be unsure of myself in clutch situations. Continue reading “Behavioral Economics and Clutch Performances”
You have to sign a general D-League contract in order to be eligible for the draft. The league has a vetting process to make sure that only the most qualified people are in the draft pool.
The final list of players eligible for the D-League draft was just released. I was not one of the 261 people on the list. That is going to make things quite difficult for me in the “getting drafted” department.
I had a small chance of being selected even if I was eligible, but it would have been nice to be included. Particularly because of some of the other players that made the cut.
I want to look at some of the shorter people that are in the draft pool, because they are presumably my competition. Keep in mind that everyone listed at 6’0 is probably 5’10, and everyone listed at 5’11 is more like 5’8. That’s just the way basketball works.
For instance, see Courtney Lee, and his 6’5 listing.
I played some pickup against Lee a few years ago, and he is MAYBE 6’3 if he is wearing thick soled shoes and did an hour of yoga that morning. But there is no downside to listing yourself as taller than you are, so you’d be foolish not to.
And just to be clear, I am the last person to denigrate someone just because they are relatively unknown. There are tons of people out there who can thrive if they get an opportunity. Maybe one of these guys will get drafted and have a great career, and if so, more power to them. One of them might have absolutely killed during a tryout. Who knows. It’s just from where I’m sitting, these people seem to be particularly under qualified for inclusion in the draft. Continue reading “Who Are These Guys??”
Day 2 of my D-League tryout for the Reno Bighorns was a success. Day 1? Not so much.
The event most integral in improving my performance on the second day occurred before the days activities even started. At the beginning of the morning session, while everyone was milling about and stretching, a player I did not know approached me. He said “You’re a good player, man. You’re a real point guard, and that’s hard to find out here.” And then he walked off.
Goddamn that made me feel so good. In a span of 2 seconds I went from feeling sluggish, annoyed, and silly for making the trip in the first place, to simply radiating good vibes.
It’s amazing how a small compliment from a stranger can change your entire outlook on things. I was of the impression that no one could have come away impressed by my performance on the first day. That one compliment let me know that there are people that notice the little things, and it gave me the hope that the coaches might be taking note of my contributions as well. Continue reading “Reno Tryout”
Utah forward Jeremy Evans recently had this fantastic sequence of events.
A monstrous block, a mind-blowing dunk, and then a great hustle play to deflect a pass out of bounds, all in about 10 seconds. That was pretty cool to watch. But what I want to talk about, if I can put on my snobby, basketball purist hat, is how people are going to say things like “Evans is the most athletic player in the league!”
Athleticism is not all about who can jump the highest and run the fastest. (And I’m not just saying that because I have as many career dunks as Mike Penberthy.) Knowing angles, having a quick first step, and having exquisite body control all play a huge role in how “athletic” someone is. Continue reading “What is Athleticism?”
When a bunch of athletes are constantly hanging out with each other, it is natural for a lot of trash talking to go on. But if you are a small, white, Ivy League grad, you are probably going to deal with more crap than the average person. That is just the way the world works. There are a couple of main points people like me have to contend with. Continue reading “Hazing”
We used to make fun of Jeremy for his beliefs. A lot. There was not a bus trip that went by where another teammate and I would not take him to task. If god was so benevolent, why all the wars? How come you can never see him? Do you really not believe in evolution?
The funny thing is that I think I was missing the whole point. The ancillary details surrounding the religion are not that important. Being religious gives people a moral framework that they build their life around. This structure can be a very positive force.
The power of the mind is undeniable. If you believe that a higher power has planned big things for you than you are more likely to make something out of your life. I really think that’s the case, and even if it is just a placebo effect, it is still an effect. They have given pills to pregnant women that were supposed to induce vomiting, told them it was an anti-nausea pill, and watched as those women suffered less from morning sickness. The human brain is NUTS. So, if you ignore the fact that a ton of religious people think a dude died and came back to life, and that the earth is only 10,000 years old, you can see where having seemingly irrational beliefs can come in handy.
You need to be irrational to succeed in basketball. You have to believe in the hot hand, even if stats prove it does not exist. You have to believe you are the best player on the court, even if you have just played 5 sub par games in a row. You have to believe that spending hours a day shooting a ball through a hoop is a better use of time than learning a different skill, spending time with friends, or even studying. Continue reading “Religion and Basketball”