Once I convinced myself that others were murmuring about my inability to shoot the ball into the basket, I seized the moment as the fuel for my fire. It’s true, there’s no “I” “in team,” but there is in “piss off.” I wasn’t no frozen rope, as I had ice water in my veins. I locked on to my target, dipped the ball between my knees, and scooped it upward letting it go at the end of the arch. My teammates were yelling at me to not throw the ball toward the basket, as their game plan was to pass the ball around for another ten minutes. Once the ball went in, they were left with their mouths on the floor, saying, “Hey man, nice shot.” I relished in the moment as I jumped in the air and pumped my right fist back and forth and pounded my chest with the other. Afterward, I triumphantly retrieved the ball from the basket by poking it with a broom.
Dr. Luther Gulick, the physical education instructor who commissioned me to keep the YMCA students active during the winter of 1891, was up on his seat shouting, “AND ONE!” when the shot went in. The young men who were defending me walked off the floor, wreaking of failure. It became apparent that I was the king of the court. After I delivered the ball into the basket like a telegram coming in hot from Grover Cleveland, the chumps all around me asked how’d I do it. I said, “Let’s talk about practice.”
Creating the game of basketball has been full of opposition and frustrations. They said it couldn’t be done. That it was a stupid idea and a waste of a perfectly fine peach basket. I’ve clearly shown all the haters that I knew what I was talking about, as now the Stacy Adams Shoe Company wants to sponsor me. I’m particularly fond of their Madison ankle lace-up shoes.
It wasn’t easy to get a ladder to attach a peach basket to the wall ten feet up. Finding a pair of peach baskets was also a challenge, as most were being used to hold baseballs during the winter. Along with duck on a rock, basketball will forever be known as the greatest game to be played – not like those shitty sports such as baseball, rugby, lacrosse, football, soccer, and hockey.
I foresee basketball becoming bigger than any Nikola Tesla experiment. Teams will be organized, champions will be made, and the love of the game will endure for as long as there’s a cow hide globe to throw into the basket. It will also become a platform for players to tell us how to live our lives. And no matter what, they will stay loyal to the cities, teams, and fans they are playing for. Super teams will be considered an act of treason. Hey, I’d rather be playing ball somewhere warm like Miami or Los Angeles – and not Massachusetts – but ballers can’t be choosers, as ball is life. At least it isn’t somewhere like Cleveland or Salt Lake City. My ball, my rules.
While reaching for the stars, J.B. has written for Robot Butt, Defenestration, Slackjaw, and not NASA. He enjoys looking at the moon and a glass of cranberry grape juice. He can be followed on Twitter @_JBDavis_.