Passion is a strange thing, sometimes it lays dormant for days, months, years, and much like Mt. Saint Helen, ERUPTION!! Other times, passion is a feeling that lies within for the duration, or, perhaps, is something that is taught??? Yes, passion can be an acquired feeling, not with a person per se, but it can be in other realms.
The passion of the Spalding.
Sure, I would like to proclaim, I came out of my bearer’s womb with NBA on the brain. Yes, it would be a scientific marvel if my first words, were indeed, “NBA” or “Bas-et-bol”, but, I hate to break it to the audience, I was just an average newborn. There was no transference of passion from my mother’s blood through the placenta to my fetus. There wasn’t a Lion King like montage as I was born; Bill Simmons wasn’t the Mufasa to my Simba; I was just an average, adorable of course, but nonetheless, average baby girl.
Where did the passion come from??
This very website was spawned from my blogspot account, which in turn, was an offspring of my social media of choice: Twitter. I can, literally, watch NBA games, any era, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. No question. That was evident on twitter, I was bursting at the seams 2 days into the 2011 NBA lockout….2 d-a-y-s. I’m not one for the word “patience” mind you, but where did all this come before social media?
Wait, did that sound too mushy?? I hate mushy, but things are about to get mashed potato like.
My father, a product of his own upbringing, was a bigot, not nearly as a colorful bigot as his father, but one nevertheless. However, there was one thing that could bring our two worlds together: His “black and white” stance and my “we all bleed blood, daddy” stance.
That was the NBA.
His conceived notions on what a Caucasian and African-American SHOULD do were tossed out the window once his eyes, mind and heart were rapidly consumed by the NBA. I, the scholarly daughter, was the pseudo son.
My older brothers loathed sports. No, that’s not true.
My naval doctor brother was all about the NFL. BLAH.
My “I’m going to become a rock star, and get a tat on my skull and marry an uppity ******** brother was the corner opposite of a sports fan. BLAH.
Last, but not least was the brother 2 years older than me. We all have this sibling. You know, the “I’m too cool for sports, because I’m really liberal, I’m going to Amsterdam to smoke out, but it’s cool because I’m a hippie” brother. TOTAL BLAH!
It would be around my 13th year, when my father would be diagnosed with a terminal illness, several in fact, Emphysema, COPD, and the clincher, Cirrhosis of the Liver, the most identifiable of the bunch. Even though, he was limited to his bed, recliner, walker and favorite kitchen chair, his undeniable passion and adoration for the NBA never ceased.
Much to my mother’s dismay, we would spend hours in the evening just watching basketball. He loved the Boston Celtics, me, I just enjoyed the moments we shared. He was, lowkey, a fan of Michael Jordan (although he would never admit this) and I loved Dennis Rodman (I gravitate towards personalities) and we would verbally spar for hours about the two, both of equally stubborn, equally ignited, equally believing we were right and the other was absolutely wrong.
The moment of pure gratification I saw in my father’s cobalt blue eyes, was when I made the cut for my high school’s varsity ladies’ basketball team. Mind you, this was an athletic-centered high school, filled with taunt, agile, powerful and energetic talent, so making a cut on the football or basketball ll teams was significant. I was a horrible 3-point shooter. Just horrid! However, I had a jumper that was so W-E-T and I never “Gallo-ed” a lay-up, but most importantly, I was that player on the court that was never afraid of being labeled the “bad guy” ……
Perhaps, this would have translated into college and further, but I made a choice that I have never regretted. I was nearly 20, and my father became paralyzed and was bound to a wheelchair for the remaining years, thus I did one of the most unselfish things I think any child can do for their parent. I put my life on hold to take care of him.
I put college on hold. Basketball on hold. I put my budding, at the time, writing career on hold.
I wanted to dedicate myself to him for as long as it took. Oh, don’t get all weepy or a sour look on your face. His last two years were the most amazing to me. While he was gravely ill, what helped get him through, in my eyes, was having this fiery passion for the NBA, but more than that, was having someone so close to him to share it with. Outside of sleeping, that’s all that was spoken about.
I would wheel him into his doctor’s office and we discussed his abhorrence for Kobe Bryant and how he is going to ruin the NBA more than his own health. Yes, he really thought Kobe Bryant and his awful hair style was going to ruin the NBA. We talked more about Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson than the fact he had a few months to live. We debated more about who was going to be the breakout talent: Melo or LeBron over the fact he had to get his lungs drained.
His passion created my passion.
His livelihood stirred my livelihood.
I often hear, and I admit, I have said this same very thing “NBA is just a sport.”
While, in essence, this is true, but NBA represents much more.
To me, I am passionate about the NBA because it’s something that will always connect me to my father, I can remember specific games and correlate them to precise emotions , in turn, link that to a moment me and my father shared.
That’s truly what the NBA embraces: shared emotions and experiences.
AND that’s how the NBA Mistress was ignited.