Leggo my ego

Leggo my ego

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Leggo my ego

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mini_muoneke.jpgHmmm. Let’s see. I just don’t seem to know where to begin. It’s probably prudent to remind myself this is a public diary of sorts. With that in mind, it’s just really hard to be insulted and/or angered by any of the negative comments. As much as Gabe would have loved to do a literally pointless back and forth of opinions at a younger age, it just makes more sense to hear what people feel, think and accept it.

So with that I say… I appreciate all the comments, concede a couple to be totally true and as for the rest… I respectfully disagree. I did love the one that talk about my fall as a HoopsHype blogger. I just cracked up. Seriously. Not sarcastically. I told you I have a morbid sense of humor. The ones that excommunicated me for “calling out” NBA players? Wow… I’m like still reeling. A player is a player. Because I play. I just don’t hold any distinction other than fame between NBA players and the guy at the Y telling me I ain’t ish and explaining to everyone in the gym how he should be playing overseas and I shouldn’t. But I suppose it makes sense.

Just read this for a sec… That some 5-foot-8 bonobo basketball analyst who’s never played basketball in his life can come on national TV and say LeBron James is overrated (actually happened) and people will actually give that colon chatter audience… But an actual player who’s basketball exploits has garnered him at least a minute amount of credibility can suggest the decision makers have no basis to unequivocally justify his choices unchallenged and be charged up like that? Pauley (Shirley) told me there’d be days like this. Paul, you told me not to be too honest and you were right but like I said… I just don’t care. As for one losing respect for me… Unfortunate. But I respect you for making them known.

(Sorry so serious… I’ll change it up. I just got back from winning the FIBA Asian Club Championship in Kuwait so you know that was just drained in humorous transpirings).

I’m an equal opportunity ripper. Sorry. I’m not Stephen Smith, but I will offer a non-bias opinion about a player’s basketball skills willfully as long as it doesn’t hurt his way of living. Because believe it or not, I want every brother of mine to get as much money as possible from the guys giving it. Overseas and NBA alike. But does that mean I’ll sit here and write online any different than I would talk to the very guys I mention? Nope.

Funny thing is, I really didn’t say what I really would say in person. But as long as Fox Sports News Radio will keep having me, you’ll eventually hear it. I’m sure that’ll end up being more than a mortal sin. All the guys I mention were intentionally big guys (save one… he was an inside joke. Sorry Joey… Wasn’t really directed at you. I’m sure it doesn’t matter but… Whatever).

I mean, did you guys not read the previous blogs? Did I not mention Reggie Evans was good enough to get me cut from Houston? And DJ (only DJ) translated what I said. Geez! This is getting stupid. Who cares? I’d love to apologize but I’d be lying so I’ll just address two more things and one I’ll pimply transition to the point of this entry. Anyone could use numbers to justify how good I am when compared to others or how bad I suck when used alone, but just because I say what I feel as a basketball fan and have a burning desire to experience a playoff court every time I watch the playoffs (same when I was a kid at my first NBA final series) doesn’t mean I’m bitter. Because if I was a billionaire president of the world tomorrow, I would still see a playoffs game and want to play in it.

However, thanks fan Dr. Phil for the cliche “get over it son” line. That was almost as funny as the hater comment (you might have as well called me a martian. It would have been as warranted and made about as much sense.) But the one comment I truly from the bottom of my heart agreed with and loved and I swear I took as a compliment was the two people commenting about “typical basketball player sense of entitlement” and my ego. See? Those were great. You just gotta love the individuality of people. It makes us all better. What do I deserve? No more or less than the man sitting on the street corner holding up the “will work for food sign.”

If you have ever intentionally hurt someone else (as I have and still do) I feel we are all deserving worse than what we for the most part get. I don’t deserve a damn thing. At least nothing good. That is obvious. But to simplify a basketball player (which often happens) as having a sense of entitlement for stating or believing egotistically what he’s worth is presumptuous and naive. I’ve got numerous friends overseas and NBA that always made statements about how good they were and how much they were going to get and yada yada yada. I was always the realistic one saying garbage like “Yeah, I know I’m good but I’m just happy to even be here.” I was the one staying humble and patiently absorbing all the nonsense people wanted me to accept and believe. While if you heard my boys, you’d have thought they were out of their minds (and at the time I’d have agreed).

Here’s what I’ve learned and I wish I learned it earlier. Humility’s only place on a basketball court is with refs and off it. Everyone of those friends of mine are successful. And, for the most part, got the exact deals that everyone said they were crazy for saying they were worth. (Did you get that? Worth. Not deserve). So when one comment sarcastically complimented me on my ego… Finally. It was the first time and about time. I have yet to see a hooper worth a damn that doesn’t have an ego. Two guys were close. Matt Carroll and Dirk Nowitzki. Matt is one of the kindest, most humble NBAer I know. Keep that belief about him when he pump fakes your teammate with that deadly jumper threat and comes baseline. Aww, here comes cool, kind, friendly, Billy Hoyle, shooter Matt coming in for a layup and boom! Yeah, he laid it up but he tried to dunk on you. Then gives you that look like, “Yep. Try it again. You’d better just let me shoot.” Or Dirk… He really got me. You get on the court and he’s just so unassuming. You push, he gives way. You bump, he falls. You give him a snide remark. He responds with a completely disarming statement, “Yeah, my feet are small for my size man, balance is an issue.” Then Mr. Hyde humble nice guy transforms into rip your nuts off, dot you in the eye Jekyll who just nailed a three when his team was up by 1 with 30 seconds left. Then he runs down the court pulling jersey laughing at you, tongue waggin’, asking you “What the (fudge) did you think this was?

I wish I had an ego when I was younger. That is believing I was better than everyone else not trying to make everyone believe it. Trying to get everyone to believe it is completely futile. I mean, look… Some clown actually said LeBron was overrated (again… really happened). So while I participated in the “I’ll make ’em all see,” all my colleagues took the “I am” approach. I think it served them well. I started late. I went to Division 1 in Turkey my second job out of school and scored 39 in my first friendly game off the plane. I played in the Spanish League and averaged 14 when I was 24 years old. I got to start an NBA preseason game with the Rockets (don’t care what you say, it at least says something). I did a lot of things that sure in the big picture means nothing, but on the small scale (my own reality) should have acquired me a bigger ego, earlier. And I’m not just talking players here. Coaches, teachers, politicians (especially politicians. Otherwise how could they ever take themselves seriously)… All must have egos to be good at what they do. People will have enough criticism to keep them humble as long as he/she is listening. So why join the masses? To appease the public’s desire?

So to answer your question, if I ever thought I just wasn’t good enough for the NBA… Nope. But again. I appreciate your opinion. No matter how people try to down what I do or have done, my growing ego has done me a lot better than humility in basketball. You know like people insulting the South Korean league or the fact that I played there. Or I’m sure I’ll have the occasional quib about the competition in Kuwait. But having an ego while playing on the court is absolutely essential. I agree some of the places I’ve played are laughable, but when I played in Italy, Spain and Turkey my pockets were empty. Is it logical to continue at the level everyone respects if the only benefit is how it’s perceived? Think of how bad it would be if I approached playing in places like those small markets with humility and didn’t win or dominate the league… I’d have been done years ago. Laughed off the court. Is it hard to leave your ego on the court? Unfortunately it is. Especially when you are still talking about or somehow involved in basketball even though you’re not actually playing at the time.

Like on my way back from Kuwait, I really felt like such a prick. I caught myself tripping about how my team bought an economy class ticket returning to the States. Then when I reminded the GM of my contract, he quickly bought another on the same reference number. However he forgot to mention I had to actually pick up the paper ticket in Kuwait. Otherwise I was still on economy. I didn’t figure this out until I got to the airport. And even thought Emirates saw I had a business class ticket reserved, they “couldn’t” put me in business without the paper ticket which had been sitting in a Kuwaiti travel office for two days. Yeah! So now I was stuck to travel 17 hours straight to Houston from Dubai.

Quick…

Have you ever traveled to Dubai? Better question. Do you have any idea how hard it is to not feel like a sheik when taking a first or business class Emirate Airline vacation to Dubai? People, everyone must do it once. Those people make you feel like you actually deserve the treatment they offer you (for the price, you might have an argument). I mean their first class is actually an upgrade. Not like first class now on local flights, where you pay $200 extra for your peanuts to be warmed in a microwave and served on a glass plate. All the while, flight attendants and economy passengers alike look at you like a dumb decrepit camel for paying for that upgrade. Hardi har har.

Back…

But after traveling so often to these areas where every janitor to sheik feels like a prince, I actually started to believe, “I can’t travel in economy… It’s too cramped… I’m too tall… I play ball…” What the? Didn’t I travel economy four years at the University of Texas? And wasn’t I bigger then? But they do make those seats too narrow. I think they were designed by Kate Moss. It doesn’t help the fact the dude behind me doesn’t seem to know if the touch screen doesn’t work, the remote cleverly place inside the arm of your seat will let you watch any Arabic altered version of our favorite U.S. films. So your Woody Woodpecker impression at the back of my headrest can cease. Or that as I’m sleeping I get a cute little tickle under my chin… “He he…stop it. He he…stop it.” Oh I’m sorry I thought that was my daughter waking me up to make her pancakes. Didn’t know you could manage to fit your foot between the seats enough to rest your bigtoe in my beard, ma’am. Thanks. Can’t really complain to anyone about old Hagen and Daz, lady. Who would I complain to? The flight attendant, you say? The same lady I requested a napkin from and her response was, “Oh there are napkins in the bathroom you economy class animal.” Then she spit on my shoe and slapped me. OK, that last part was made up but she did tell me to get it from the bathroom. Which was no biggie, I guess. Other than the fact that Ray Lewis‘ twin sister just came out of there and left the door open to proud-fully astonish discourage me with her toiletrious achievements. Thanks, but I’ll just use my jacket.

So I guess I’ll add trying to leave my ego on the court with my offseason plans. This offseason the goal is to turn myself into a silverback. If you remember, I have been debating whether or not to completely eliminate meat from my diet. I haven’t eating beef, chicken or pork in over a year. But I have been exploring the whole evolution thing with Bantus probably being better off eating the meat they’ve evolved to eat. For example, goat, ram, sheep… Which I still think is better than the western domesticated animals. But I’ve gone ahead and decided never to eat any form of meat again. I don’t consider fish meat but even fish I will limit. So that’s my journey this summer as to see if I can find the fountain of youth and play this upcoming season like a contract year. But I promise thinking of me as an egotistical, whining hater might not be a beneficial assumption when meeting me in person. But if you’ll never know me and it serves you, by all means keep it up. Although I appreciate the ones advicing me, I actually know or have heard before what you’re telling me. Even so I ask for the comments to continue. You never know what I’ll learn. If you really really, really just think I’m a terrible person for saying something questionable, again, e-mail. It costs what one is willing to pay for it, it’s worth what one gets. I deserve nothing good. I give all well wishes and to the ones that gave me the ego subject, muchisimos gracias. If I am really the way you say I am, maybe this year it will translate to a man’s worth and by God’s grace I will not get what I deserve.

Shalom.

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