Welcome to another episode of my current relocation to Teramo, Italy to play professional basketball for the year. For some, welcome to my new blog site (again) here on yardbarker.com. Yard Barker is a website for professional athletes of a variety of sports where they can voice themselves to share with the world. It also provides updates on scores and provides sports articles just like any other major sport media outlet service. Its pretty cool, so if you get a chance browse around a little bit.
We won our last game at home (Nov 15) to put our overall record for the season at 2-4. This game would pretty much make or break the rest of our season and we had to win for the sake of our team attitude as well. We had already but our selves in a small hole with the early losing so far, but we can now start climbing out of it a little bit since we won. Nobody likes to lose, let alone from the beginning of the season all the way to the end, that would be 7 months of torture! That would just make the whole season physically tough for me and mentally. I’m still coping with the “out the country” situation and everything that comes along with that, so I don’t need added stuff on my plate to deal with. Our next game is at home again (Nov 21), with that win we can build up some momentum before we hit the road for the following weekend, we can get this train moving in the right direction. Our first eurocup game starts on Tuesday (Nov 24) so the weeks will go faster now since we have 2 games a week. We also get to travel out the country for the eurocup road games, so I get see other countries around Europe now, so I’m very excited for that to begin.
As I promised in my last entry, I want to occupy some space to let everybody understand more about me, “Bobby Ray Jones Junior”. Few people know the living legend personally and where he came from to be the “American Scholar” he is today. Some may know what I have done and accomplished so far in my still progressing basketball career. It’s 2009; you can look right there on the Internet for anything you want. For once, I’m going to explain “myself” in “my words” about “me” to everybody, so lets begin.
So let me start off by getting these routine speculations out of the way before I go any further. Usually at some point, somebody has ask me these questions once I told them I’m from Compton. I do not know Dr. Dre (met him once though), The Game, DJ Quik or Snoop Dogg (went to the same high school my senior year but not at the same time obviously). I have never took part in a drive-by, never shot a person, never been shot and never shot a gun either. I have been in areas on various occasions where shootings has taken place (I got my ass out of there; you know I’m tall which means bigger target). They have mostly happened out of Compton, more than not it was in other places around America I lived or visited.
Now when it comes to the media, music, movies, and other major outlets describing “Compton”, lets just say it isn’t always balance and fair. The music we hear (most people believe everything they hear in music now a days), the movies we see (Boyz N Tha Hood, Menace to Society) all played into the mystique of “Compton” or even L.A. (Gangs) for that matter. This “perception” goes out especially to the people who never been, seen or lived there. Think about it, if you haven’t been somewhere, what else are you going to go off of when learning or finding about something? Regardless if its accurate or not, that’s what you have as information to use to base your view. From the supposedly safest suburban areas in America to the cities in Iraq or other countries around the world, violence is everywhere. The issue I have with the media every so often is how much you are being shown coverage of (negative news) compared to other areas that are the same or worse off. Once a first impression is established, there is no changing it that’s for sure. I know the news and especially the music videos (some of it is the artist doing projecting it to people) rather show unpleasant images before they show the positive ones going on. Everyday, there are just as much good deeds going on in urban areas. I hope eventually they will show the inspirational events (because those do take place) just as much as the allegedly “real ****” that’s going on everyday in the hood, just some food for thought.
I was born and raised in Compton, (DJ Quik song by the way) California until I went to college. I lived in the same house my whole life and had both parents living under one roof as well. I look back and it’s weird now because I think 1 maybe even 2 of my friends in my neighborhood had both parents living with them, in their lives for that matter. Lots of my friends lived with their grandparents, auntie, older brother or sister and adopted. I’m the youngest and it was my older sister who kept me company growing up in the house. Actually, my parents both had kids before me (dad had 2 boys and mom had 1 girl) but I was the only one they had together. I only played two sports in my life. I ran track and of course played basketball. More than not, I was going to be busy on the weekends doing one or the other and even both sometimes. So, as I continued to get older seeing my neighborhood friends would be difficult at times on the weekends (they didn’t plat any organized sports) unless we were in school, or once I was done with homework during the week (playing video games in my house). I remember I would get mad at my parents sometimes because I wanted to play with them on the weekends around the neighborhood instead of going to a track meet or basketball game. Come to find out, it was pretty obvious my parents knew what was best for me back then, get him away from “the hood” as often as we can.
I used to think (while I was still living in Compton) what I seen around me and lived through was for the most part normal for a kid growing up. When something like death or violence happens a lot around you, I couldn’t help but get used to it a little bit. I know it taught me to be ready and always keep your head on a swivel; expect the unexpected, words I still believe to this today. Picture this scenario, you’re a kid playing outside of your house but worrying about cars randomly driving past because somebody died from a rival gang the other day so you know they (rival gang) might try to retaliate at anybody at anytime. No wonder my mama would get mad and try to tell me to play in the backyard and to be in the house when the street lights would come on. Once it got dark, nothing but trouble would be lurking around at night.
I experienced many cases of random acts of violence so far in my young life. My older cousin (no more than 11 or 12) got shot in his own living room right around Christmas in Los Angeles in the early 1990’s. My older brother (18 years old) got shot and killed over a fight in a nearby city (Lynwood) in the mid 1990’s. My childhood best friend (19 years old) got shot and killed in his car leaving a girl house one random night in the Compton (summer of ’02). Another childhood friend got shot and killed standing in front of his house while on the phone in Compton. My sister and her family were shot at as she was dropping her kids off to stay the night at my parent’s house last February (Super Bowl Sunday). What kind of person could do such miserable acts and decide to determine a person’s life as if they’re God? There is no exact answer, but I know some of these traits play into it. An inconsiderate person that wont do anything with their own life and want others to suffer pain and lost like they have, regardless if they knew the people or not. With all that said, there were bad memories but there were absolutely more good memories. It’s just that those bad memories are such big issues to deal and cope with.
Despite the fact that I had an older brother, I didn’t see him very much for whatever reason (I wish I could have now I look back). So I really had no older brother to look up to directly and to imitate growing up. Indirectly I did though, even if he didn’t know it. His name was Tayshaun Prince and he lived right around the corner from me my whole life. We went to the same elementary school all the way up to high school. He was four years older than me so the route I took he already taken it. I was naturally smart in school and so was he, so whenever I did something good in school people would always compare me to him. Every academic or basketball award I won in school he already won before me, it was impossible to top this guy. In a friendly way, I was constantly trying to top him in school and on the basketball court, which inevitably made me strive for greatness in anything I did. The dude was an All-American in high school and won 2 (maybe 3 can’t remember) state championships and a national one as well. He decided to go the University of Kentucky and as I anticipated got drafted to the NBA and even won an NBA championship with Detroit Pistons. I mean damn, once I got to high school I knew I had a lot to catching up to do, but now I’m doomed. Don’t get me wrong, I faired all right in high school. I was won 3 state championships (I hope he had two J) and a national one too (we tied). I got drafted too so I’m hanging in there a little bit. I finally got to play him my first two years in the nba, but we didn’t win any of the games but it gave me a sense of accomplishment to know I finally caught up to Tayshaun (Well not in all ways but you get the point I hope). We spoken a handful of occasions but not enough to where I told him how much an affect he has had on my life and how much I’m thankful for it, I will one day though.
Believe it or not, I wouldn’t trade growing up in that city “Compton”. It takes a special person as well as special family members and friends to help catapult a person out of there and help them make something out of their life. Easily I could have made one mistake growing up that could of drastically affected the rest of my life, I was lucky. I know people and friends back home still living in Compton (or close to the area) that want to leave but they can’t for whatever reason. I hear them tell me all the time don’t take it for granted, which most definitely I don’t by a long shot. I just wish more people had made it out to see some of the better things in life have to offer.
Thanks for listening, until next time… Ciao!