Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday, August 19: Interlude

It's 1993ish. I'm with my brothers at the local park, complete with three full basketball courts. As we're shooting around, playing a HORSE or 21 game here and there, another baller joins the fray. He sets up shop on the court next to us. This guy is fresh from the mall--trust me, you know the type. He needs to be added to this list, which is dead on:
He's rockin the fresh Jordan jersey, the new Air Jordan shoes, the low socks, the long Nike basketball shorts. He definitely looks the part of a baller, but his game looks like it leaves a lot to be desired. He's doing fallaways, determined drives, and shooting pullups like nobody's business. Somewhere, I guess, a college recruiter is watching.
He even has the tongue going. The tongue wags, just like UNC's native son. His game, at least when he's playing on a deserted court in front of no one and against no one, is quite Jordanesque. Though he is far enough away that I can't hear what, if anything, he is saying, I'm pretty sure it would have been, a la Dave Chappelle, something like "Jordan!" or "Kobe!" like we all said when we were 12 or 13.
But this guy is at least in his mid-30s.
For myself and my brothers, there is no greater indignity than being That Guy, trying to hold on to lost talents, holding on to a world spinning in its way to throw you off. Full of youthful ignorance and the transparent bravado of life's uninitiated, we trade jokes about him, incredibly confident that we will never be like him.

Today, as I went through the rim touches, the jump rope, the running, I had the horrifying thought: "Am I that guy?"


  1. So what if you are that guy. You have a goal (I have a similar goal). Don't worry about what anyone thinks...just keep going, keep working out. You'll get there!!!

  2. hey man, i'm 5'11" and could dunk back in college. i also couldn't palm a ball. the secret is in guiding the ball softly to the rim and just at the very end tipping it in.

    i think once you can grab a rim with two hands, then you can dunk. the rest is just in footwork and learning how to guide the ball.

  3. haha, what always gets me is sometimes the guys who look the part are the least talented. At my old college there was this dude, about 5'10, with glasses and just an ordinary pair of shoes. Guy looked like he had no business being on the court. Turns out the guy has an amazing vertical and a lights out kinda jumper. Quick player too. Competitive game, but no one on my team could stop him. Probably played against him a few other times throughout the year, guy could have probably played DIII easily.