21 TIPS PT. 4

The NBA finals have begun and the team spirit is filling up the arena. The Finals are so definite and it’s entering that next level. I guess it’s the fact that each team wants to wear the ring. Even during the regular season that ring is at the back of the players’ mind. But it’s not just one ring; the team including the coach all wear that symbolic metal of honor on their finger. 

Growing up we always rooted for our picks to win to championship. But as a kid during the time when Jordan was just on fire, my Grandma and I would always watch the Bulls play. Funny now that I think about it because my Grandma always was a Michael Jordan fan, yet for me I always cheered for his opponent.

Of course majority of the time Jordan put his opponents in their place. It took me some years to come around to accepting that greatness he possessed.

I look back on those time and I see that it wasn’t just MJ doing all the work. He was the focus for a lot of the discussions and commentary. Although Jordan really just utilized the team superbly, accepting those around him to be working just has hard as he was. That is Greatness. To be able to invoke greatness from your team and then use that presence to achieve something that everyone wants. Jordan wanted the ring but I think he wanted his teammates to want it even more.

Claim the crown.

It’s a group effort and ultimately everyone needs to be recognizing their own efforts but also willing to inspire their teammates to chase that goal. You could be so close to your dreams but if you aren’t using that support then things still can seem impossible.

Don’t drop the ball, pass the ball.


21 TIPS PT. 3

Our work allows us to have an hour for wellness. We exercise and do other healthy activities but basketball is my therapy. The past two weeks I been playing more often and it is comforting to be able to play. Thinking about life and the directions you can follow. The rules of basketball haven’t really changed since I started playing ball. Although it seems the rules in life shifted to some degree as time unfolded.

Playing basketball allows me to have a better grasp the reasoning and I can make some kind of understanding of what’s going down on the court. Comforting but it’s also about the playful competition and connection with people that makes basketball great.

My cousin Leo and I go to the Rec to shoot around at the courts. A few games of 21, usually there are others around that want to jump in and play.

The spring in near it’s end and summer can be felt around the bend. This particular day the courts are filled. The gym usually empty but I am reminded that it is Spring break and the students are out and about. There are two youngsters on the main court where we usually play.

We ask if they wanted to play 21. So funny they exchanged words before agreeing. Come to find out that they were middle school students. Although no need to go easy on these middle school kids, because they had brought their A game.

I had a decade and some change on these dudes but playing basketball it’s not a big deal that these 14 year olds are crossing me over and making me work on defense. You need to make others work for what they want.

Typically after a game ended Leo and I would take a 5-minuet break. Rest up before we run it back. These guys were ready to start another game once the first one ended. I had to just embrace that youthful spirit and go with the flow. That energy is contagious, so we start right back at game 2.

You challenge your opponents but it should be really you challenging yourself. Working towards accomplishing goals and having full agency on the court.

Our one hour is near the end and we must get back to work.

21 TIPS Pt. 2

I maybe caught the March madness late because even though it’s April I still got basketball on the blog mind. And the title of the pervious post gave it a feel like there would be some kind of advice. So I thought maybe I should do a countdown of 21 and make it basketball related.

I had mention that by playing the game I was tapping into this abyss of basketball knowledge. You know growing up I would always have a favorite player for each team. It wasn’t so much they were my favorite; it was that their style and influence that made a game good.

So over the years of just watching the game I have floated towards certain player attributes. And this post is just a list of 21 players that have taught me something valuable about the world.

Tipping of the countdown we have.

21. Allen Iverson: “The Answer” Iverson was not that big of a player in size. But he still had an impact on the game. On and off the court Iverson had influence on the people. Regardless of the actual sizes of those around you; the actions you make can still be powerful enough to hold it down.

20. Grant Hill: Grant is just a classy kind of guy. And it’s very rewarding to watch him grow. A lot of players like Grant become sports announcers or analysis. But from being the go-to-guy on the Pistons or top-team-player for the Suns, Grant just takes on every role with a humble spirit. As you get older you need to make adjustments but having a positive vibe makes you timeless.

19:Derrick Rose. Some of the greats never truly get to express their art. I just hope Rose gets over his injuries so he can attain his dreams in basketball.

18: Latrell Spreewell. Most known as the guy that choked his coach. There are these eccentric players in the game get a bad rap only because they handle a moment not so well. Spreewell stands out to me because as a player he still continued to play the game like nothing happened. Even though things get stressful I must always need to keep my composure.

17: Larry Bird/Magic Johnson: You know I didn’t actually see these two guys play in real life. But the rivalry and competition these two created when they went up against each other was amazing. Bird and Magic were playing like their lives were on the line. We all want a championship ring and sometimes that means playing like there’s no tomorrow.

16. Jason Williams: One of the animated passers. Williams reinvented the assist by getting to ball to where it needs to be. One of the great things about basketball is that even if someone is not scoring. They still could be contributing in another form to help the team. We all want to score and put some points on the board but if the pass is great the value will surpass any points of a basket.

15. Charles Barkley: Barkley wasn’t a favorite of mine but he always still came hard.

An even now as a retired player his commentary is very blunt and he has no problem being that guy. Sometimes we might be the one that says things people don’t want to hear. Oh well.

14. Lebron James. King James is a beast at this time in basketball. Winning multiple championships in the last two years. Lebron was destined to be great even before he had been signed to the NBA. Someone that good and that constantly watched, there will always be critics talking smack and Lebron is dealing with all of that by the way he plays. Take ownership of the moment and know every option available.

13. Paul Pierce. Loss is sometimes difficult to deal with. But a great player will use that loss as motivation and content to achieve a dream. Hard work pays off. And I see Pierce as a player that takes pride in everything he does. If you truly want something then you need to be putting in that time during the preparation stage.

12. Tim Duncan. Not a huge fan but I can’t deny the skill level of Duncan. So precise with his shooting and very technical with his movements on the floor, Tim makes it look very easy. Practice makes perfect.

11. Reggie Miller. Miller was very loud he knew how to cause a riot on the court. Very explosive Reggie was good on defense but when it came to being on offense, if no one was guarding him then he could do some damage behind the three point line. Not afraid to argue with the officials and get in his opponents face, always theatrical watching someone like that play. Play to win even if that means doing the impossible or being the villain.

10. Peja Stojakovic. Basketball is an outlet and growing up to me the three point shot was always the bee knees. Why get 2 when you can get 3 instead. And Peja was my favorite three-point shooter. From Yugoslavia Peja used basketball as a ticket to come America to play ball. Use your talents to get you where you need to be in life.

9. Penny Hardaway. Anfernee was his real name but penny is what every one called him. His grandmother gave him the nickname because she thought he was as cute as a penny. A point guard Penny had a very friendly aroma about him maybe because he was very open with his life story. He had a lot commercial success off the court with his endorsement signings. In the business world it’s nice to have a pretty penny.

8. Kobe Bryant. Kobe is like a diamond in the rough when I try to describe him. Bryant did not play college ball, very unconventional at the time Kobe went straight from high school to the NBA. Kobe was great right from the beginning and he continues to progress. You know there are norms that people will judge you by but if have the talent and the drive then taking an alterative route is totally fine. Take control even if that means going up against the grain.

7. Dennis Rodman. We are all unique. Dennis Rodman proved that during the time he played for the Bulls. I remember one year he would have a different colored hair each game. Blues, pinks, and reds. He just was an oddball but that didn’t mean he couldn’t play. Rodman got rebounds. He fought for them and he always gave his opponents a run for their money. Our differences don’t really matter when it comes to playing basketball because the game and the rules allow us to be equal.

6. Scottie Pippen. Pippen worked along side one of the greats. Although his contribution was still instrumental in the greatness the Bulls created in the 90’s. You think about all the championship wins and he was there each time. I had mentioned earlier about knowing your role in the situation or moment. Ask yourself, how bad do I want it?

5. Nick Johnson. Johnson plays for UofA and not only is he a guard but the dude can jump high. This college kid actually taught me a lesson just this past month. During the tournament there was a game were we went the almost the entire game with out making any points. Nick’s misfortune never stopped for playing good basketball. With like less that ten minuets left in the game Nick finally starts scoring. Still making his average due to not missing a single free-throw. Things don’t always go as you intend them to and even when things get frustrating you can’t let that spoil your attitude.

4. Jason Kidd. I always remember Kidd growing up because when he would take his free-throws he would blow a kiss to the camera. Found out that that was a siginal for his kids watching at home. Kidd was very versatile; he could start the game or come off the bench. He always could dish the best passes on the fast breaks. Play with out the ball.

3. Steve Nash. Nash is from Canada and is actually a soccer player. It shows because he runs the ball with speed. Not afraid to take the three or drive it in. Intersting with his passes Nash brings a new kind of flare to the game. Keep them on their toes.

2. Karl Malone & John Stockton. The Jazz duo, these guys come as a set because there so hard to take apart. Stockton is the assists king and Malone would deliver every time. Karl was the “mail man,” and he was aggressive in the paint. The two really made a good team and they were very simplistic in their delivery. Classy Versus Flashy.

  1. Michael Jordan. Jordan made the number one spot obviously. We don’t even need to talk about his ball playing skill. His pressensce surpasses basketball and all of that success is because of is devotion to the game. Jordan was something beyond great and he will always be relevant to the game. It is his greatness that allows him to be Jordan. Fearless on the court Michael Jordan wanted everything he got. In life we have to be putting fort our best efforts but also willing to accept failure in order to be great.


I been getting out and playing basketball more often. Trying to stay active. So for my lunch and even sometimes after work, I’ll go shoot around at the courts with my cousin.

As much as I enjoy analyzing the game and talking about the art of teamwork, I like to dabble in the playing myself. In fact it’s therapeutic. I have the fondest memories playing ball at the YMCA on the weekends.

Basketball has always been in my life in some form and by getting out and actually playing the game, I’m tapping into this basketball vault of knowledge

I wait for the “yo were heading over” text from my cousin Leo.

Game On

Usually Leo and one of his other brothers will come. Depending on the day we might have a few of the brothers out. This particular Monday evening it’s just Leo and Eric. Eric is the older Brother and definitely an exciting opponent to be up against. He makes jokes throughout the game and then commentates on his plays. But none of this extra showmanship gets in the way of him executing his ball playing skills.

If you can’t stand the heat then get out of the kitchen. I think the idiom translates in basketball universe. Don’t be talking if you ain’t showing. I think it’s a external tactic to give your opponent, to be able to talk out loud to the opponent. Not being disrespectful but giving humorous banter to accompany the game.

All in good fun.

We play 21 tips which means there is the opportunity to cause the other players to lose their points. The first to score 21(exactly) wins.

We play ball at the playground in our Village. Usually one of the little nephews that follow their uncles wants to play in the game. So small we have to move them off the court. They’ll get to play some day.

We start the first game with the sun out and end the last with the sun down. If the game is really exciting we’ll be playing in complete darkness. Trying to tap into my court night vision.

Although most of all it’s the camaraderie that makes playing basketball fun. We all have the day to deal with. Work or school; these moments when were laughing and challenging each other is sometimes hard to orchestrate.

Eric wins the first game and I win the last.

Cookies Crumbling

We are meeting in the back room to discuss our mountains 

When life hands you lemons you make compost


On mile post 50 times infinity there is a restaurant that has organic brains on the menu.

Male brains or Female brains?

The intervals weren’t built for me

Any calculation is a minor miscalculation

The clouds have equations written in them

They diminish

I had a dream on the way in; I was walking in the grocery store. And my child avatar was running through the aisles. Misbehaving he wanted everything in the store. And then I thought to myself when did the store become…

Manufactured bloodlines with no street signs

Just negative avenues and out-of-work porn stars

The back room is empty

This room could be justified as the front room depending on an individual’s entrance.

The Western part of my brain could care less

I own both.