We’ve all seen the emotionally charged scene at the NBA draft. Whether a player has been picked first or last it generally looks something like this. A wave of relief and excitement pours over a young man who has just experienced what it feels like for his dream to finally come true, he is now officially part of The National Basketball Association! And though he knows that there is still a ball cap to be donned on his way up to the stage where a photo will be taken of him and the commissioner, one of many photos to come in what he hopes will be a long and illustrious career, he first stands up and hugs some key people who are responsible for him even being there that night. If his father has been present throughout his journey they will embrace, if not it will be the mother who sacrificed more than anybody but her son will ever know. And then it’s on to his siblings, ending with a grandparent or grand parents at times who are also present for this special occasion. Then it’s off to shake the hand of the tall thin bald man for the photo opportunity already mentioned to officially launch the career of yet another NBA player.
But let’s break down what we commonly hear is involved in your average professional basketball player accomplishing what only above average players do to against a whole lot of odds finally be part of a multi billion dollar enterprise that is now slowly going global. It is mind numbing to think about how in the late 1800’s a teacher from Springfield Massachusetts named James Naismith attached a peach basket to a tree where he then encouraged his students to try to get a soccer ball to land inside it during a physical education class. He would explain later that the only reason he did this was to keep them fit. He had no idea at the time that years later what he started in that small high school would eventually turn into an institution that now transforms young men with little means into instant millionaires by simply having their name called through a microphone. But let’s talk about the parents for a minute, sometimes it was dad but many times it was mom who was responsible for keeping their son focused and out of trouble do that he could channel his passion for putting a ball in a hoop in such a way that he would always the best player on the court.
These types of parents are truly modern day heroes. They are the ones who are willing to take that extra shift at the factory so they can afford to buy the best sneakers that are available for their son, along with all of the gas’s it takes to make sure he is at every practice on time and doesn’t have to miss out on the basketball camp invitations that come his way.
And then there is little brother hugging his hero but knowing deep down inside that his name will never be called to play in the same league as his older sibling. Why you ask? Because the parent that gave their heart and soul for their oldest son to make it big simply didn’t have anything left in order to give the next one in line the same shot at stardom. So you remember those high end sneakers that the overtime money purchased, yeah well they are now wore out and handed down to the younger dream chaser to wear as he has to constantly hear from the same guy who coached his brother how great he was on his way to shattering all of the school records. So on graduation day it’s off to community college for this son where on the first day of practice it become clear to him that based on the fact that now the entire team is wearing used sneakers, and on his way into the gym he had noticed the rims on both ends of the court were either bent or broken, there was probably a pretty good chance his path to stardom would not be going through that particular institution of higher learning.
Now it’s big sisters turn for a final embrace before he makes his way towards an ever impatient Adam Silver who is at this point glancing at his wristwatch. This is the one person who instead of being out on a date Friday nights was always there as an unofficial tutor, making sure little brother had his homework done before practicing his free throws in the driveway. Even then she would be out there with him shagging rebounds. And each time she would pass the ball back to him for another practice shot she’d be quizzing him on the things they had just went over at the kitchen table. But this loving sister did this because she along with her grandma were the only ones that were able to see past all the trophies and local newspaper articles about this superstar in the making to know that if you are failing most of the classes you are in during your high school years, no matter how great you are on the court that scholarship you need in order to get into that basketball powerhouse college you have always dreamed about will be something that you simply won’t qualify for. So once her brother is excepted to Duke, Kentucky, or a handful of other colleges that are perineal participants in the Sweet Sixteen portion of what we all know as March Madness, off campus and across town in not the safest neighborhood is big sis. Only now she’s working full time in order to pay for a run down apartment that she soon learns is also occupied by a few rats that are the size of a small cats. But undeterred she sets her traps and gathers up the things she will need, because after putting in her eight hours doing a job she hates she will be able to continue to help her brother with the homework he now has that is ten times harder than anything he had in high school. Because it really won’t matter how well he performs at the college level, if NBA scouts find out he is failing most of his college courses they will be looking right past him at the next prospect that they know for sure will give 100% to whatever he takes on.
So now the picture is finally snapped and Silver has just called the name of the player who is drafted right behind this young man, and as the same thing that I have already described begins to happen this newly minted NBA player is hit with the realization that both he and every person who had been sitting around that table with him has just had their lives immediately changed. Some for the better, and some for the worse, but nonetheless things would never be the same again. And how that has happened time and again in real life will be discussed in the next Fan Post.
But what about you Trail Blazer fans. Does any part of your life mirror those people setting around that table? Were you the star athlete that had the support needed to succeed and successfully make it to the next level? Or were you part of the support network that allowed a family member to soar while being the collective wind under his wings? Please tell us all about it below..