“I got it sewn, I’m so authentic…and you’re not official like a ref at a scrimmage…”
Wale – Daytona Squared
Tuesday I drove to DC to cover the Wizards versus Heat game. I picked up Michael and we were on our way. Once we got on I-95 near the Chester exit, we were greeted with some traffic and a host of snow flurries. It’s been really cold lately, just how I like it, nevertheless it would take more than some precipitation to deter me from a trip home.
My uncle graduated from Temple University about 20-years ago, and upon receiving his degree he moved to the nation’s capital, and began working for the government. My family is from West Philadelphia, so when my uncle moved below the Mason-Dixon Line, it provided the rest of us with a new place to visit, and for my brother and I…it gave us somewhere to spend the summer months.
The DMV (DC/Maryland/Virginia), is a great place, as it has been a hotbed for politics, sports, and other things both good and bad, however for my intents and purposes, its the athletes and fervor for sports that I love the most about the area…well that and the beautiful women, but that is another story.
I used to coach youth basketball, and one of my BEST players was an 8th-grader at Gwynn Park Middle School, named BreAnna. To make a long story short, Gwynn Park Middle is known for their basketball talent, so when Bre went to high school she went to another powerhouse, Riverdale Baptist. I attended a few practices and one of her games, and it was from those encounters, that I first heard and met a young man named Michael Beasley.
He was a highly touted sophomore at the time, having transferred there from National Christian Academy. I was impressed by his natural ability, and by the fact he was such an agile person for his size. He was simply a shooting guard in a power forward’s body, and most importantly, he is left-handed, which is like having a platinum engagement ring verses white gold. Yes being left-handed in basketball has its advantages…I would know.
Watching Beasley play with the Miami Heat was surreal. The main reason why, is because it seems like yesterday when he was in high school…but he’s in the League now, and he and I had time to catch up after the game.
I interviewed Dwyane Wade first, because I really needed to talk to him for an assignment from HOOP Magazine. When I walked over Flash already had a crowd of reporters around him, so I waited until they dissipated to ask my questions. Before I could say a word, Wade greeted me saying…”what’s up A? How are your mother and sister?” To which I replied…”hey Flash, they’re good. I just have a few questions…cool?” “Yeah sure man”, he answered but I usually see you in Philly, what are you doing down here?”…”Well I had to interview you, so I asked my friend if he wanted a ride…and we got in the Batmobile.“ I retorted, and he looked at me surprisingly saying…”the Batmobile?”
I’ll go more in depth about that in another post, but for now, below is the final score on my conversation with Beasley:
Can you define what it means for you to be a basketball player from DC?
“It’s unbelievable…I can name 3-million people that doubted me growing up, talking about I wouldn’t be this and I wouldn’t be that. So just to be here and be in my hometown now, and know that everybody loves me and supports what I do…it’s breath taking.”
Now that the NCAA season has started, are you able to follow the college game?
Speaking of Nolan Smith, he is the starting point guard…your thoughts?
“[Smiles] He’s doing what he has to do!”
What have you learned thus far being a rookie in this league?
“The league ain’t no joke! I can tell you that…I mean, in high school and college you have your star players, and then you have players that shouldn’t necessarily be on the court. Not in the NBA…you have your star players, and players that you think shouldn’t be on the court, until you guard them man…and they are just as good as the star player you know? The league ain’t no joke, you have to bring it everyday! I’m learning a lot about myself…on the defensive side, on the offensive side, but it’s more so off the court.”