Please accept my humblest apologies for all who give a damn. I’ve been on the euro-basket-tryintuh-makuh-livin-schedule. And it’s nothing nice. Tau is cool. We’re 5-1 since I came and feels good to be on such a good team. Tiago Splitter is much better, bigger and stronger than I thought. Lucky San Antonio. Not playing very much and I’m not sure why… But again, what choice did I have? I’ve played against many ex-NBAers. All making obscene amounts of money. Even though I’m not playing much, it’s fun to see old friends and play, however poco the time, against them. I’m sure there are worse things than getting paid, what would translate to a million dollars in the US to play a game I love in a beautiful country of diverse history yet getting chewed out for every mistake I make. Hey, you can pay me for that ten times.
Getting right to it… I was inspired these past two weeks. I’m not particularly sure what did it but I thought about it and marveled how different I was just five years ago and how differently I thought. And it is all due to basketball. It’s truly miraculous when you think about it. I have been transformed completely because of a sport. And to think, I would have been just an everyday, run-o-the mill asshole. Instead I am lucky enough to be an analytical, philosophical, every once in a while saying something logical if not totally “warped” (I got the e-mail) “uh slight” asshole. Albeit imperfect, the change is welcomed and I pray for even more enlightenment. By enlightenment, please don’t take it as someone trying to sound better off or smarter than others. I just am better off and smarter for myself. And the measuring stick is simply the results. I’m happy, healthy, more disciplined and less selfish. All due to this enamored sport of mine. Here’s my inspired thought as of late that I noticed, I simply wouldn’t feel that way if it weren’t for hoops: I’m not black. Click. He’s nuts… Next page. Let’s see what’s on ESPN.com.
For those who are still here…
My conversation arose with Will McDonald and just hearing him talk I found myself befuddled trying to find the correlation between the 6-foot-10 monstrous brotha in front of me and the stories of how he’s telling me he used to be. It doesn’t even seem like him. But something he said started me on thinking… I don’t consider myself black. Whoa… Well Gabriel, what the hell do you consider yourself? Afro-American? Hell no! Negro? Oh yeah “black” in another language… Nope. Not even African? Strangely enough, no. All those were names assigned to me. Who named Africa anyway? My forefathers didn’t. Who named Nigeria or Niger? Some guy who came down from Europe and said, “Well they’re all dark, so let’s call their country…oh I got it…black.” The only name for my race I could come up with was one not given by anyone other than the people that spawned 99 percent of sub-Saharan Africa. Bantu. Meaning “the people” or Bantubonke meaning “all the people”. I know what you’re thinking. I need American cable TV or the full season of 24 over here. I was just listening to Will telling me a story on how he had problems in Madrid because the Africans hate the Black Americans, who hate the Dominicans, who in turn hate the Africans (for now I’ll keep it regular but if you talk to me I will use Bantu interchangeably with “black”). So my mind started racing as all Savants’ minds do. (No I’m not really… I don’t think).
And I remember I used be the same way. I mean culturally and ethnically there will be separation but that’s like someone from Texas feeling he/she has more in common with Texans. I’m not talking about that. I was that American-born Nigerian that looked at all other non-African blacks as lost and different than me. OK… I called them the all-famous “akata” like all the rest of the West Africans do. That or “les cousins”. Terrible. But in one of my stints in China, Leonard Hamilton dunked a ball on a Chinese player and celebrated after the play and loud as all get out, in an empty, cold dingy gym, you could hear one fan in the crowd, in noticeably the only English he learned (funny how people learn the bad things) scream, “Yoo monkey!” I was mad as hell! And caught myself, why was I mad? Because I was and am the same “people” as him. American-born, Jamaican-born, English-born. All of Bantu descent. Like it or not Gabe. In my travels in hoops, I gotta secret for you… The only people who consider ways to accept (being the key word) separation of “blacks” are well… “blacks.” It’s truly fascinating. I’ve been to Ethiopia, Cameroon, Benin, Congo, North Africa, Australia, England, Canada, you name it. And I have seen one thing in common: self hatred. It’s hilariously terrible, if that makes any sense. I saw the very same phenomenon African-born Bantus insult American born Bantus for… in Africa! And on a more consistent basis. It was crazy. The only difference is over 7,000 years of history and culture still practiced for the most part. But other than the cultural beliefs and heritage that governs us from being just totally thrown into a cesspool of chaos, I saw no difference.
Just looking through my notes. Funny story. When I was with Detroit, I sat the bench most of the preseason until Don Reid popped his achilles against Miami. Then Rick Carlisle played me a lot! The very thing I was supposed to be good at was my downfall. I messed up every play. He called time out and said, “who wants to bet Gabe doesn’t mess this play up?” “I’ll take that bet!!” yells Kevin O’Neill. He calls X3 (a play for me). Yep, messed it up. Sub-ed me out. “Thanks, Gabe.” Yes Kevin O’Neill really said that. Then patted me on the shoulder and we both cracked up. Great guys.
I saw the same thing in the Caribbean. Just because you speak Spanish my man, you and I are the same race… caballo. So after seeing all those things, I do not in the least distinguish myself apart from anyone of Bantu decent. I mean really how stupid is it that a people hate from within and separate yet the people on the outside do not? It’s incredible. I hear all the time from African-born Bantus, “those akatas are this…” Man if you saw the chaos on the Nigerian National Team you’d have cracked up. We finish eighth. In the world! Yet one of the major reasons we didn’t play the US for the chance to reach the Final 4 was because someone was pouting about the captaincy because of “Nigerian tradition.” What the hell? If Nigeria is so important to you why didn’t you see the benefit for Nigeria. If Nigeria played the US in the quarter finals of the world? Sam Vincent truly wanted to see that happen for an African nation, as his children are African (Seriously… They even speak with accents! It’s so gangsta!) But the madness was so much, he was as ready as we were to get outta Japan with sanity intact. Nobody even thought, “Hey, we just lost to Germany by 1 to reach an historic feat for a country. And even more so a race. Damn shame. So what is it for me? Hmmm… A G-damn revolution. Revolution of my mind.
Fine, people will do what they want in the end but I choose not to cock the gun that’s executing my ass. I just wont take part in it. And for me, diet has been my avenue for the continuing enlightenment I want. Remember the what if? Just ask: What if? If it is possible for me to live like the people of perfect, primal majesty God made me to be… I damn want it. If I die and it was never possible… Fine, I missed out on some donuts and papa john’s pizza. It was worth a try. But the possible benefit far outweighs the definite punishment. How does a man kill a lion? With weapons to weaken it. Here’s the thing. I believe my diet takes the weapon away. Now the fight is fair and you gotta use your hands. I’m not sure if you’re following. Make decisions from the facts you are given. Humans evolve, right? How many years did Bantus evolve in Africa? Now think for yourself if 400 years is enough time to evolve to be able to eat and find nutritional benefit from the Western pig. Or how about this, a doctor… M.D., after hearing my decision to possibly eliminate meat from my diet told me as an athlete I need the aminoacids meat provides in order to be effective at my sport. I told him I can get those proteins from nuts. And he retorts…”Son (son…wow), there are certain essential aminoacids only found in meat.”
Let’s see, 10 is the number of essential aminoacids… Isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylanaline, threonine, tryptophan, valine, histidine and arginine. Look them up and tell me one you cannot get from a non-meat source. Save your the time… None. Like I said, I gather my facts and I make a choice. To live a life with all the tools possible to attain the majesty ordained to Bantu people, or live at a blind disadvantage and just be happy to be well off and semi-famous until I’m a 40-year-old man with a tumor in his fanny wondering why no one remembers that dunk I had over Thurl Bailey (no I didn’t, just being stupid). My point really isn’t: be a vegetarian. I’ve just noticed a slight dilemma in “we”. Diet is just an example in an array of issues we are more than equipped to solve with the tools, knowledge and advantages basketball provides. It’s actually much more complicated. Sure every race is of majesty. I just single out the Bantu race because, shit is ridiculous.
Have you every read The Willie Lynch Speech? I think all Bantus should. Because if you didn’t see it with your own eyes you’d say it’s a fairy tale. It is quite simply an old English slave owner back in the day, teaching American slave owners how to “tame” that lion uh yurn, by teaching them separation. I don’t particularly enjoy talking about this stuff (as you can clearly see) but everywhere I go someone asks, and damn it if I ai’nt gotta answer. It may have gotten me in trouble in the past and might have played a role in my NBA woes. Who knows? So please, if you see me, and I’m trying to make a team (not happening) don’t ask.
In Charlotte I had the dumb luck to be asked… “Hey nutra-grain, what do you eat? I mean, shit, everything can’t be bad for you.” If I had a lip-lock back then I’d have paid cash to keep it on. I’d answer Jared Dudley‘s (you saw it coming J.) questions with all intentions of being honest but non-influencing. Then he’d crack up. I think he was just patronizing me in a polite way. But we got some good laughs out of it. Imagine my shock when Jermareo Davidson took it to another level and became damn near vegan on me. Fuck! Just what I need, a 22-year-old being influenced by me to give up meat. Your agent told you, “Don’t rock the boat” Oh! Me no speakah English. I was only slightly disturbed by the transpirings and revelations of JD (both) until someone pulled me to the side and said, “Uh Gabe, try not to…” Basically, shut yo ass up. Yep, I get the point. I thought I did. But Gerald Wallace saw me praying over my food (I really try to be discreet) and asked, “Gabe (he mighta said nutra-grain I don’t remember) what religion are you?” Lip-locks for sale! Get your lip-locks! Two for a dollar! Yep, I went into my oral dissertation and well… The rest I’ll leave to the imagination. Gerald, I must say, is actually an impressive person. I was shocked to see how he actually even entertained a conversation like that with me. Good guy, man… Stop eating that shit, man. See? I never learn. Can’t help it. It’s like drugs. If you know you are putting a poison in your body and choose to kill yourself, be my guest. But the problem is Bantus not realizing a food you have not yet evolved to digest is a poison. A weapon against the lion. I wonder if Jermareo is still doing that diet thing. He was way past me, even back then! I shutter to think what the trainer at Charlotte would do to me in a dark alley… (Just jokin. I’d whoop his ass) One love, Mark. I did get one teammate though that was older and genuinely interested in what I knew about diet. He even got my number. Wow! Ohp! He never called. What? You thought there was some inspiring happy ending? Man, please, I got cut so quick I still got knife marks on my culo.
The good thing is, I’m still feeling great and still taking care of my body. I have made a decision to become what I call an “opportunistic” raw foods vegan. Which simply means as long as the option is there (and usually it is) I won’t eat a living animal again unless my survival depends on it. In that instance, shit, I’ll slaughter the cow myself. But I have just seen the results. That is my proof. I am a different person and I get revelations that inspire me to be better to everyone. My diet is just the avenue God chose to use to start me on the path to everything else (like stopping cursing). I don’t believe these things that “just so happen” to transpire primarily in the Bantu community are accidental. I believe they are planned to precision. And “we” have a choice. I speak about “blacks” because it’s not like it’s needed in all places. Just here, it’s kind of a state of crisis.
Sure, I’m scared shitless to talk about stuff like this and the hoops experiences that outline my thought process. The thing is when other basketball players say they see this blog and the get something out of it, I think it’s a blessing. So… I keep doing it. I honestly could give a shit about any self stroking. I also am inspired by my teammates here. Igor Rakocevic, Zoran Planinic, Will McDonald… All want to see, what if? What if I can look 30 when I’m 50? What if I can play 10 more years effectively? What if I can have sex for hours like when I was 18? Ha! Everyone’s listening now! Pervs! (But before you ask… Damn right!) Will McDonald has been here the whole season and the team thought about reprimanding him because they wanted his weight down. Don’t rock the boat… Don’t rock the boat. “Gabe, why you eating fruit all the time?” Damn it all to hell. Good news is he lost 11lbs in two weeks and the team is elated about that. But more important to me, he says he feels amazing and he wants to take it as far as he can. So far so good. Guess it remains to be seen if this story has a happy ending.
Next blog you get to hear how the Wizards cut me from their summer league team on my wedding night. Ha. Bet you come back for that one!