It's getting old

It's getting old


It's getting old

- by

I have a real funny story to tell. I just don’t know how to tell it. It’s been made clear when I just pour words onto a computer screen, people have no idea what I’m talking about. I’m not really sure if it’s anyone’s fault or if the parties involved are just at an intersection of two perpendicular paths… Screw you, I actually talk that way.

In plain words, I have to express things that way at times to avoid insulting someone. As I’ve said before, I am an arrogant, smart asswhich, when combined with the fact I am a basketball player who has never defined himself as one and (despite what people may think is blind cockiness) I am actually far above average at the sport, make my snide remarks really piss people off. But if you don’t care, here goes…

I guess a blog, for you that care about every level of professional basketball experience, is supposed to be a simple first-person description of a dumb ass athlete’s daily activities. Of course there are people that appreciate the creative outlook… So to them: Sorry in advance.

As I was saying, my basketball blog is supposed to be a simple and to the point “duh” description of this slippery, bumpy, ugly side of professional basketball. You’ve got the good, with Pete Mickael, Caron Butler and, thank the Father above, Etan Thomas (I love that guy and I don’t even know him). You’ve got the bad (sort of) with Paul Shirley’s blog. And with my blog, yes I concede, you have the absolutely grotesque… Sorry, that means ugly.

Luckily for me, the economy matches the basketball market so I won’t get lonely. Not playing right now is a bit harder than I thought because I like to play. I may hate the fake garbage that goes in with the playing, you know, like everything outside of the court. But I do like to play. I must say this… It doesn’t bother me nearly as much when I see the names that are not playing. Because really, who am I? Right?

What does bother me are two things: 1. I’m actually by definition, in my prime as a basketballer. So it’s kind of a shame not to be playing. So I know eventually, I’ll have to swallow my pride and take an offer soon. And 2. Excuse my French, this is a huge fucking Two: Reasons outside of my control are keeping me from playing in good places.

You remember that stuff that happened in France with that team ASVEL? I thought that shit was done. They couldn’t leave well enough alone, could they? Was I crazy from about birth to 24? Absolutely. Have I gone to a party, drank a drop of alcohol, been late to a practice or even so much as stayed out late during a season since then? No. I’ve never touched a drug or even a supplement. I’ve had a disagreement with a coach once in my career. Yes, I’m a motherfucker on the court, a complete raptor. But all to win a game. However, off the court, I challenge you to even see where the hell I am. So, for ASVEL to tell a team in France that wanted to sign me that I have problems off the court, just to keep me from coming to France and tearing a hole in them, is childish to say the very damn least.

If I did something, by all means shout it from the rooftops. But if I did nothing, let me live. In order not to lie, I don’t do what I would have to lie about. But if I did it, I will tell you, “Yeah, I damn did it.” This is what happens in 90 percent of professional ball overseas.

“Oh, he’s just bitter,”

Yeah, yeah. That’s the easy way out. Dismiss it as bias. No way it could actually be true. Well, ask Pete Mickeal. You could be on a team where every player on the team curses the coach out and nothing happens because they make too much. But if the one guy who makes a negligible amount shows the slightest emotion, they’ll fine you half your check. Period. Then they’ll dare you to say something. Sure you’re good and they know it, but you’re an expendable no-name that is only useful to make an example of in front of the rest of the guys. Was there not enough “duh” in there for you?

Sorry, let me paraphrase: Quite often, teams will unfairly screw you if you are not a superstar. That is just part of it and it is not a big deal. You just have to know you are nothing and shut up if, and only if, they are giving you what you want. For me, they were giving me money and the chance to play on a big stage.

So was it worth it? No doubt. Especially in Euroleague. You haven’t played basketball until you’ve played in a dingy, dark, hot Turkish gym in front of 20,000 people hidden by smoke and light flares, for a spot in the next round of the Final 16. Paraphrase: It’s only worth it if what your getting for your standards is more than the rubbish they make you tolerate. That’s why I’m at home. For me, it would not be worth tolerating insulting standards to play for $10,000 a month in, say, Hungary. But I’d play for free just for the opportunity to play in France right now. And I don’t blame that team for not wanting me there. I’d be scared of me too.

It’s really crazy how this sport turns Peter Pan to Superman. With basketball, guys can completely hide utter stupidity and uselessness to society. People that probably would have been my friends are my enemies and people that are my friends, I would have never known. All because of basketball. When I tried to associate myself with the life that comes with basketball, it was uncomfortable and unnatural. I missed out on so much just because I didn’t feel the need to acknowledge the existence of anything outside of basketball. So I can say when I concentrated on the sport and not the game, I started liking basketball.

In college, basketball was a means to the end the NBA. NBA for money, fame and you know it… beeyatches. I really didn’t care about basketball. Would I try to score 50 and dunk on you every opportunity? Of course. but it wasn’t for basketball. It was for money and fame. And, oh yeah, beeyatches. Once I accepted, the money was not really under my control, the fame was useless without money and the beeyatches were bitches, that’s when I started liking basketball. Now, I don’t care if I’m playing in Afghanistan, I would concentrate on playing to perfection the same way I would on an NBA court. Because now I like basketball.

You really think I’m the only one who thought like that? This is the reason why soccer is so great (just try to watch it for a month straight, and not the sorry teams, English Premier or Barcelona… You will love it). You try for the fame in soccer and you get Real Madrid. You try for the game and you get Barça. Soccer fans get it. Anyway, the unfortunate part is, when you act the part, you know money, fame and etcetera… Teams expect and accept it. But when you don’t say a word and don’t hang out and don’t celebrate, ever, you make people uncomfortable and you are the pariah or black sheep.

When I was in Korea, I was flamboyant, brash and unfriendly. After one game, my wife cried and told me I was embarrassing her. Like a light switch, I stopped talking. I was quiet and indifferent, just so I wouldn’t do anything to embarrass my wife. It was then, all my problems started. It’s nuts, right? Then everyone would ask me, “What’s wrong?” Or they said my desire wasn’t there. Never mind my numbers were still the same. I wasn’t a baller. I was a professional and no one liked that. I’m not saying it’s always like that. There are perfect situations, but you have to be lucky and find it.

You know the ratio for someone being a professional basketball player, right? Like one in a million or worse. Well, finding the perfect team or situation is even more rare. And the older you get the less likely that becomes. But for those few good guys, hard workers and tough mofos that get money, fame and the perfect situation, like Pete Mickael… Guys like that deserve it and earn it daily. But for some Peter freakin’ Pans, they get lucky and project that Superman attitude toward the rest of the world.

Forget the basketball ability. I don’t care whether they suck or not. If a team is dumb enough to give a bum money, great! I ain’t mad at you. Keep getting it. But just because they’re dumb, these clowns will confuse it as if everyone else who actually plays doesn’t know. Not only do you suck, but in the depths of you atriums and ventricles, you are still Peter Pan and basketball is your Neverland.

Yeeeeaaaahhh! He’s stupid and angry and so predictable right now. We likey! I have little doubt that my basketball career is coming to an end at 31 years old. Whether it’s soon or in a couple of years, I’m feeling the Eyes Rolling syndrome. Not because I’m getting old. Because, it is getting old. How long could you answer questions about how bad you were when you were 11? After a while it’s like, “Whatever, man.”

I know basketball treats different people differently but there is no equation. No one can claim to know how to succeed at it because of the simple factor of bad luck. I’m the same guy that went from a top team in Italy, to a middle team in Turkey, to the D-League, to the ACB, to Asia, to NBA camps, to Iran, back to a top team in the ACB and Europe, back to China. It’s nothing you can put a finger on. Not ability, not money, not way of life, not even attitude (insert everyone’s all knowing explanation here).

I got a three-part story to tell for my last will and testament. And no more “duh”, just figure it out. In that story… Se fogo, and I’m done. I will offer no opinion, just a story. Then I’ll let everyone and their mamas tell me how a team can pay you in cash before a game and then take it out of your bag during the game because, you guessed it, you’re not a good person with a bad attitude. Because all players who are successful all have good attitudes. And all players who are not successful have bad attitudes. Of course! That’s it! Now I get it. No, no nimrod. Can’t figure it out and disregard luck. Luck is the deciding factor. Well, luck and of course assholes… Definitely assholes.

Bonne chance, connard.

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