She used to tell me that I was beautiful, and made me promise not to forget.
My sister was so cool, brown-skinned and sweet.
The whole world loved my sister!
They turned her name into a street.
My sister was for the cause, and we both had locs.
But I’ll never get to meet her; pronounced dead by a cop.
I wore black for a year straight, as some type of protest.
I just wanted the world to know that my sister was the dope-est!!
So whenever I’m given the chance, on any stage I stand:
I will #SayHerName
Rest in Peace Sandra Bland
We have the Jersey-southern swag of Jazzo meeting the visual work of the DMV’s hottest sculptor right now to honor our sister #SandraBland and the many other black women that are victims of state-sanctioned violence in America and around the world.
A site regular is returning with another round of amazing sculptures. Murjoni was featured in our Sculptor Spotlight last month and continues to blaze through the art scene in the D.C., Maryland, Virginia area, as well as around the globe.
As a black woman artist from Maryland, Murjoni has found that the best way to create and talk about moments of black bodies is through art, especially claywork.
It is February 2021, Aquarius season yet again. We celebrated your birthday this year by remembering you. We always remember you. I hope that you are resting well and watching over your loved ones in peace. Let’s be honest. I don’t know what your personality was like. Cannot confirm your daily routine and habits. And I am unsure why life placed you in the position that it did. But I am aware that it could have been me. It could have been one of my aunts, or my mom, or my daughter… It could have been my sister.
Whatever reason found you in the crosshairs of American law enforcement, you deserved to be treated like a person. You were owed due process at minimum, but kindness and understanding in reality. You deserve to be alive. Breathing and being celebrated by the life that you brought on to this earth. And we can’t change that, sis. We can’t bring you back, nor can we join you where you are before our time is called. But we can remember. We always remember. Happy Birthday up there. We miss y’all. All of you…
So, come kick it with me for a minute in memory of Kobe Bean Bryant.
The Birth of a Legend
Born into this world on August 23, 1978 in the home of the “free” and the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia, USA, life took you around the world before most of us had permission to pass the stop sign on our streets.
I imagine watching your dad play basketball all over Italy and Europe was like watching a demigod perform in the eyes of his child.
Of course, I didn’t really meet you until the late 90s when you burst on the scene as the second youngest player to be drafted into the NBA. It was 1996 to be exact and the Olympics came to my city, Atlanta, the same year.
I had my own demigod father to look up to, and with your addition to the pantheon, I was sure there was nothing a Black kid in America could not do. (Boy, was I naive. But my naivty was reflected in the innocence of your eyes as you took it all in…) You were THE man!
I was fascinated with you for so many reasons that I did not understand then, but that are easy to reflect on now. This past year I read “Showboat” by Roland Lazenby and it gave me a renewed appreciation for you. It helped me round out why I love you so much.
8 Reasons I Fell in Love with Kobe Bryant
Ruby Garcideuenas noticed how much pressure the rookie put on all the other, older Lakers with his intensity, his running and dunking in practice, his constant studying of videotape, his demeanor. The public didn’t see it, nor did the media, but Bryant was a lone wolf and posed a threat to his older teammates. They eyed him, trying to figure him out. Bryant, meanwhile, kept to himself and gave them little to go on other than his game itself, which was overwhelming with his energy and need to dominate.
Lazenby, page 241
1. Kobe busted popular stereotypes about Black men wide open.
Lazy where? Kobe stood in stark denial of every trope designed to highlight laziness in African American men. He stood as Black as I am, better at his craft them most around him, and he never stopped working. Towards the end of his long and physically brutal career it became more and more obvious that whether you were stronger, faster, leaner did not matter as much his WILL to compete. And compete he did, for 20 seasons, while logging well over 48,000 minutes of game time. For a young Black budding adult that message was well received.
2. He was the most articulate and worldly young Black athlete to gain the type of public attention he garnered on a basketball court.
He was the most articulate and worldly young Black athlete I had been exposed to until that time. As a result he could come off as cold and off-putting, even when he was a teenager fresh in the league and full of wide-eyed excitement. I will never forget that he wore well-tailored Italian suits to press conferences. I was fascninated. But within that there was struggle.
Kobe had a lot to learn about interacting with other people, he really hadn’t been a student of human nature as much as he had been a student of basketball. So, you know, he didn’t always do the right thing as far as his teammates. He had that young and stubborn swagger about him. He was going to do what he thought was best, what he thought he should do, regardless of anyone else.
3. Kobe Bryant represented for suburban Black kids of the late ’90s and early ’00s.
Kobe Bryant represented for a growing number of Black suburban kids, like me. Through a cominaiton of luck, wit, and good timing, our parents had found some success in the economic booms of the late ’80s and early ’90s. Although my parents were no where near the level Joe Bryant and his wife Pam had acheived as a result of Joe’s professional play in the NBA and overseas.
When Kobe’s parents returned from Europe they moved to a Philadelphia suburb. Within the home his mother monitored television consumption and steered her children away from violence and sex. All of this is in stark contrast to the urban Black image that was selling rap albums, clothing, and lifestyles to millions of people around the world.
Kobe came in with a very squeaky-clean image, and he especially stood in contrast to his draft classmate Iverson, who came in as this brash hip-hop figure… [And] everybody was so caught up in the idea of street cred back then, and Kobe somehow didn’t have it because he was the wealthy suburban kid who grew up in Italy and then played in Lower Merion. He was mostly comfortable with who he was, but it bothered him that people would create these narratives of ‘Well Iverson is the genuine guy because of the way he looks, and Kobe’s not genuine because of the way he looks and the way he speaks and where he was raised as a kid.
Howard Beck, NBA journalist, Lazenby, page 307
A Brief Note on Commercializing Blackness:
In the late 1980s and through out the 1990s, Black people started penetrating middle class for the first time in the history of their families in most cases. This newer group of marginal economic security quickly moved their kids out of urban areas into suburbs that were both lightly integrated in some places and heavily segregated in others.
The hope was to escape poorly funded schools, neighborhoods that were inexplicably full of liquor stores and devoid of groceries, and abandon the drug-riddled inner city parks and recreation of the 80s in America. The result was that in some places their kids were cast as the criminal element in all-white schools, or they found themselves trying to create a criminal culture in a Black school full of suburban kids.
Why? Because, what else is Blackness if not cool and criminal?
America needed to commodify the Black experience so the question became, who is ‘really’ Black? Who is representing an authentic Black experience in America? The suburban kid with strict parents and a bedtime or the urban kid that spends more time hanging out in ‘the streets’? The answer to this is simple.
They both represent viable, unique Black experiences. Kobe and Allen were incredible world-class competitors and it’s a shame that our need to define them in terms of their Blackness tainted our experience of who they were as individuals and men. I love them both, as a devoted fan, despite their many flaws and public fuck-ups. Quote me.
4. He put on a show during the game and with his treatment of the media. His intensity never waivered.
One of my most favorite things about Kobe is that he loved to PRACTICE. As a person that does not possess an overwhelming amount of natural ability in any one area, I have learned that practice is a major key. It is the key really.
Beyond that, Kobe represented fearlessness with his treatment of the media. After his death, I learned a lot more about his relationship with the popular ESPN reporter, Shelly Smith. It really made me reevaluate the way I viewed the situation as it unfolded in front of me.
As it happened, I had never in my life seen a Black man openly defy and speak to a White woman in that manner at his job.
And Kobe’s coldness was imbued with the arrogance. He treated the world like he belonged in it, or like he owned it. As a spectator, it was entertaining.
We would watch the interviews and die laughing at his audacity. This man felt untouchable in the best way at that time. It was the emergence of his Black Mamba persona, and I know that I am a true fan because I never wavered in loving him, even though I questioned him after that fateful incident in Vail, Colorado.
5. Kobe Bryant operated with a sense of preseverance that you must have to be young, Black, and successful under the microscope of media attention.
He became the living personification of perseverance.
On July 4, 2003, a warrant for Bryant’s arrest on charges of sexual assault was issued by the sheriff’s department of Eagle County, Colorado… At the end of June, Bryant had flown on a private jet to Colorado where he was scheduled to undergo a surgical procedure on his troubled knee, something he hadn’t informed the Lakers he was doing. That night shortly after he checked into the exclusive Lodge and Spa at Cordillera resort, in the town of Edwards, in Eagle County, accompanied by three bodyguards and his personal trainer, the Lakers guard met a nineteen-year-old clerk at the front desk, who escorted hum to his quarters…
She said Bryant raped her; he later told police the sex was consensual. Bryant admitted that he preferred rough sex and had grabbed her by the neck, apparently confirmed the next day by a red mark on her neck discovered in a medical exam related to the case…
The accuser refused to settle, and Bryant was faced with charges that, under Colorado law, could land him in prison for decades. On July 18, Hurlbert, the district attorney, filed a formal charge of felony sexual assault against Bryant.
Lazenby, page 413-417
Kobe Has His Day in Court
The trial would drag on for nearly two years. Bryant lost endorsement after endorsement. He quickly became the most polarizing figure in the media. His wife, Vanessa Bryant, filed for divorce. And to be honest, I probably had some really inappropriate and crude thoughts about his accuser at the time. I rescind them at this age because I understand, and I think she did the right thing, the courageous thing even.
Kobe Bryant kept playing basketball. I have no clue about what that must have been like. The media hunted him while his actions haunted him. And there was no easy escape. Bryant got up everyday and lived with his actions. Then he kept playing basketball.
Eventually, he and Vanessa would reconcile and give the world more beautiful Bryant girls. Although that would not stop the rumors coming out about Bryant’s extramartial affairs, he was never suspected of or brought up on another rape, sexual harassment, or sexual assault allegation. As a fan (and a woman) that was critical for me as I watched him falter, be cut back, and keep growing.
6. Kobe was subtly yet unapologetically Black.
In an era that doesn’t appreciate subtlety, that may not be a good thing. But that doesn’t take away from Bryant’s life. Kobe Bryant is unapologetically Black as fuck without even having to do anything extra to achieve it. He is #BlackBoyJoy; he is #BlackManMagic.
When I look at his life and career, the failures and the triumphs, I am astounded all over again at his growth and the way he handled the pressures of being himself. And like so many Black man athletes in America, he gave us EMOTION. He cared and you could tell.
Bryant is a product of the harsh racial realities in this country. Wealth can shield you and your family but nothing can ever fully protect you from the nightmare that unfolds in your periphery. Yet, he is also magical in so many ways. Captivating, intelligent, petty, powerful, and persistent are just a few of the words I have for what I witnessed from Bryant during his short life with us on this planet.
Basketball had long been a fable for his family. He had learned from watching his father that the court was this magical place where if you played well enough, you would be transported to other fantastical locations, such as Italy and the Swiss Alps and Vegas like Dorothy clicking her heels together… Bryant was a writer too, a poet, so he viewed the world through the lens of fabulous narrative… young Bryant lived his life as if on a mythical quest. The only way to keep the whole dream going was to work harder and harder and harder, to spin his fantasies around and around until they wrapped him tight in a new reality.
Lazenby, page 270-1
In his own way, Kobe opened up new ways of being Black in America. And he showed everyone in the Black community that the suburbs raises its own version of mental toughness too, street cred or not.
7. Kobe Bryant is a poet and writer.
I can empathize with and understand the dangers of living life through the lens of a narrative. Narratives can be sexy and powerfully attractive. As a writer, sometimes the stories in your head threaten to take control of the reality around you.
But that just means that the final, and my most favorite thing about Kobe Bean Bryant is that he is a writer and poet. One of my all-time favorite Kobe Bryant moments is when he announced that he was a member of the House of Slytherin.
He planned to retire, coach basketball, spend time with his daughters, and write. The idealist in me loved him even more when he made those choices so publicly. It was like, I see you Black nerds that grew up blessed with the comfort to embrace the world’s offerings. And I value you, fuck what everyone else says is cool. Thanks Kobe.
8. He is the living embodiment of not worrying about whether someone likes you. Focus on yourself with your actions and people will respect you.
Socially-speaking Kobe did not make many friends. I can never recall anyone close to him gushing about how sweet, kind, or considerate he was. He was a loner and found himself isolated a lot. Perhaps that is the price of greatness but I haven’t figured out whether that statement is conclusive or not. (To be honest, I think greatness may be overrated in the grand scheme of learning to just be.)
But, Kobe came to me when I was young enough to covet greatness. And in return for his work ethic and antics, he won my undying love.
Have you ever grief googled someone? For me, that is the height of respects I can pay someone that I do not know that passed away in this digital Rona-ridden world.
I have googled every variation on your name. And I cannot explain why because until the last month or so, I couldn’t really read or watch anything with you in it.
That’s how deeply your life being cut short haunted me. The narratives we have are so strong.
We will miss you.
Your Biggest Fan
My greatest solace is that he is up there with some of my all-time favorite people, spinning, crossing, and dunking on them with no remorse. He is really free now. And that’s the truth of the matter.
My main resource for this post was “Showboat, the Life of Kobe Bryant” by Roland Lazenby. Lazenby is a basketball historian that has written more than fifty books about the game and its players. Race is disturbingly absent from the book. Lazenby spends as much time talking around race as he can. And he is very critical Kobe and his family. However, he is well-connected and the book is beautifully researched. It will be getting a separate review.
I wanted to read an outside opinion first, before I tackle the the Mamba Mentality by Kobe this year.
I think it’s really important to be critical of Kobe. His devotion to being ‘the man’ is problematic. What does it mean to be ‘the man’? Was being ‘the man’ what led to his decision making that fateful night in his hotel room in Colorado? Why does being ‘the man’ seem to fundamentally involve hurting the women closest to you?
Furthermore, what does competition do to our humanity? There appears to be times that Kobe is completely out of touch with the struggles of the people around him. He was corrodingly hard on his teammates and coaching staff. And that leads me to believe he was incredibly hard on himself.
But my biggest criticism is for the system that brought Kobe fame. Kobe Bryant became a wealthy man. In America, that equated to him being very well paid attraction that did not always have the right to express himself. How many men in the world ate a good dinner with their families during the ’90s because of money dervied from marketing, selling, or profiting from Kobe’s talent on the court?
As Black people, we have to ask ourselves, is entertaining the world and making money worth being reduced to property? So many fans of sports around the world view athletes as something other than human. Did all of the things I loved about Kobe save him from this fate? Not at all.
But that does not make Kobe right. It just makes me more inclined to move on. Black women are the most raped women in this country; so much so that America essentially founded a multiracial class around their sexual torment and the children that resulted. Things must change culturally in this country and I think it starts with questioning the way things are.
But at least the NBA is officially returning on December 22.
After a crazy ending to last season in the bubble, everyone is anticipating players back in arenas and a small capacity of fans returning to live gameplay.
Prior to the season’s start, I have a few predictions that I believe will happen throughout the year. If you want to see how accurate I am, check out my picks from last year. #NicksPicks
2021 NBA Rookie of the Year
LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets
I know we love what Anthony Edwards [SG, Minnesota Timberwolves] has done, but LaMelo is showtime.
This is the first time in a while I anticipate watching the Charlotte Hornets play basketball. Despite what analysts say, LaMelo’s effectiveness will be felt outside of scoring. He has grown into a tremendous passer and will make plays for his athletic teammates in Miles Bridges and PJ Washington. Other rookies around the NBA will play sensational basketball. But the flavor that LaMelo will bring to the court will unanimously award him Rookie of the Year.
2021 NBA Defensive Player of the Year
Anthony Davis, Los Angelos Lakers
Anthony Davis winning Defensive Player of the Year is long overdue. Since his time in New Orleans, he has been an effective shot-blocker who uses his length to force other bigs to be uncomfortable.
Davis’ defensive presence was a big factor last season, contributing to a championship for the Lakers. Going into this season, Davis will look to turn things up a notch. The Lakers are under immense pressure to repeat. Davis understands that and will become more aggressive under the rim.
NBA 2021 Sixth Man of the Year
Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets
Dinwiddie showed last season that he can be an effective all around player. During a stretch of last season, he went on a scoring rampage with the absence of Kyrie Irving, putting the team on his back on the offensive end.
Now with Irving and Durant returning this season, Dinwiddie can be the leader of the second unit for Brooklyn. He’ll be a game changer off the bench and will play in key pivotal minutes down the stretch. There may not be a sixth man this season that will show more effectiveness than Spencer Dinwiddie.
2021 NBA Most Improved Player
Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors
Yes, we do this every year. We are waiting for Wiggins to unleash his full potential as always. But now in the Bay Area, that may happen.
Golden State is so unselfish at moving the basketball that it forces Wiggins to be effective. Hopefully, it will motivate him to bring max effort on a nightly basis. With Klay being out another year, someone has to step up and play at a high level alongside Stephen Curry. If Wiggins has a productive season, his hard work will result in an All-Star appearance and the 2021 NBA Most Improved Player Award.
2021 NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP)
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
This is Luka’s year to win. He has transcended as a phenomenal superstar and he has a lot more in his bag. The Dallas Mavericks have the potential to become a contender in the Western Conference this season.
Luka will continue to blow us away with his effectiveness and attention to detail on the floor. If he has a much improved year this season, the MVP trophy is his.
2021 NBA Coach of the Year
Steve Nash, Brooklyn Nets
Steve Nash may be in his first year on the sidelines, but no other coach is under more pressure this season. Having two phenomenal superstars on his team, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the expectations are championship this season, with no delay.
The goal is to keep KD and Kyrie intact so they can remain on the right track. If they win consistently, Nash will be earning his respect as a coach soon.
2021 NBA Finals Match-Up
Brooklyn Nets vs Los Angeles Lakers
I’m not choosing who will win the Finals. But I can guarantee that it will be between these two organizations. The Lakers have a lot to prove this season despite being the reigning champions. The pressure of repeating is high for the team and we’ll see if their two superstars are capable of finishing the job.
Brooklyn, on the other hand, is anticipating a great year. If Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are healthy through the year, there’s no other team in the East who can slow them down in the playoffs. Both being champions, both Durant and Irving are hungry to win a chip for the boroughs. It will be a fun back and forth Finals that can be highly anticipated.
The NBA is BACKKK!
And I am excited.
Many of these teams have had over nine months off due to COVID. So it’s guaranteed that they are well-rested and ready to compete. Everyone’s eyes will be glued to the TV on 12-22-2020. There is so much that will happen from the first night… all the way to the last.
Please join me on my blog for all basketball all the time, and follow me on Twitter. It’s always good working with Herstun and I am sure I will be back before the season is over. In the meantime…
Written By Nick Andre. Edited By Herstun.
Nick has some interesting picks as always. I like how much faith he has in Andrew Wiggins. We will see how it all plays out. Personally, I see the Nets and Lakers facing off barring all injuries and inconveniences but any fan of the league knows that anything can happen. The vaccine may play a big part in the season too. Will players continue to battle the virus? Will the league require they vaccinate? Can they do that? It’s super interesting watching how fragmented the United States’ response to the pandemic has been. It is obviously not the best way to fight a rogue virus, but it makes for interesting questions.
I am super proud of Nick Andre. He motivates me all the time to keep going by keeping the fire alive. (Definitely one of my flamekeepers, if you don’t have any, get some. But that’s another article.) And, I try to read everything he writes. I believe that he will be writing sports for the rest of his life. And if you really think about it, that is super dope to witness develop as steady energy even in the midst of chaos. I guess it is one of the cool things about sports too. Trump, Biden, Congress, and Corona be damned. We are going to play some basketball. Lol. I hope everyone had a peaceful Winter Solstice. Cheers to 2021. See ya at tip-off tonight.
Life is not a game or a competition. I think the best analogy I have heard is that it is a journey. And even that suggests a linear path that has not come to fruition in my own personal life. Life just is. But I like to think of things in terms of sports because I love watching sports. Sports are fun. And they are a good excuse to hang out with family and friends. I’ve written before about shooting the ball. So, I will employ the sports analogy a little longer.
There are layers to lessons.
So what brings me here today? Loss. You have to learn to lose. And what does that mean? For me losing means playing your ass off, leaving it all on the court, following all the rules, and still losing the game. It could be completely out of your control. Injuries happen. Mental illness is real. And the reality is that some goals and visions in life aren’t achievable by fair play, faith, integrity, and hard work. That can be a hard pill to swallow. But for me, even that’s acceptable because you gave it all you had with what was available to you. It just was not meant for you.
It gets deeper than that though, there are layers to the lessons.
The harder pill to swallow is when you play poorly and lose. When you go out on the court and lack integrity, or aren’t faithful and don’t give your all. One of the biggest lessons I’ve had to learn is loving myself when I don’t play well. The moments when I don’t think it all the way through correctly, and I’m too spontaneous or I take risks with low payout. Or maybe when I act on emotion without thinking things through. Those decisions that make you cringe in hindsight.
The games you show up for poorly focused, ill-prepared, and exhausted because sometimes it happens. That’s life. (Especially in the middle of a global pandemic.)
Not everything that glitters is gold.
It’s a lesson my mother and her mother drilled into me from an early age but the reality is that I’m not always gold either. How do you adequately take responsibility for when you just haven’t done right?
Sometimes I’m rotten. Spoiled. And unrepentantly idealistic to the point of hopeless romanticism. Sometimes I think too far ahead of myself, or I don’t think far ahead enough. There are other times I just don’t prepare when I know that preparation is what I need more than anything else.
But embracing myself even in the lowest of those moments, allowing myself space and grace to truly flounder has been challenging for me well into adulthood.
Because I always want to play well. Regardless of if there is any winning involved. I like making educated decisions that make sense considering the information available at the time. I like being prepared for the game. But, sometimes I mess that up.
There are levels to admitting that too.
The first being acknowledging that something is in fact wrong. And that second being acknowledging that the wrong is indeed my doing. Then being willing to say, oh well. That’s alright. If we play that hand again, we will play it differently. Regardless, we love me.
Let’s push it further.
What does my play really say about where I am versus where I want to be? If growth is the goal, then there has to be a moment where we recognize our behavior as an extension of what we are lacking in fortitude or character. And I think the key is being ok if you are lacking sometimes. Maybe even embracing that God has placed you in a position to fail because that win ain’t what it looks like.
Because we already know that not everything that glitters is gold.
I can hear my granny now, “when it rains it pours.”
My belief in my God has centered me. Music still sustains me. And poetry continues to feed me. Life still moves in its uniquely relentless way. The sun comes up every single day, even if shadowed by clouds or gray with rain. It rises and sets as if everything is the same. We wake up every day, we go to work, we care for children, we take classes, we read, eat, and pray.
Life goes on, even in the rain.
So let it fucking rain. With tears in my eyes and a smile on my face, as long as the blood pumps through my veins, and I have His Grace… I’m going to be here.
And it is that time of the year to hit me with submissions for the Spring run.
The Herstun Writer will become a blog focused on community, stories, and art again. Many of the categories we have now will be relocated to new sites, with new moderators or just plain ole me at the helm.
I’m excited to see what I can create. But I’m more excited to get back with some old favorites like Prosserville, check-in with Aamir Ali, Flow, and meet some new people and families too.
I do believe it is time for President Donald J. Trump to concede his loss to President-Elect Joseph R. Biden and move up out of the American people’s White House. It will be interesting to see how he handles this loss, I do believe that this not the end of his political journey.
This entire post was inspired by a meme that I saw on Facebook about teaching our children how to lose and what to do in loss rather than constantly rewarding them for winning. It really made me re-evaluate the different ways we lose and the ways we deal with ourselves after a loss.
I want to believe that it’s okay to lose and make mistakes. But the reality is that there is a very small margin for error most of the time. While you will always have another chance to play, there may be a moment where you have to concede the loss for that day or that event or that goal and the question is, how do you handle that? What is your next move?
It’s another one of those character defining things.
The truth is that Creativity straddles Crazy like a child playing hopscotch on a dark summer’s day.
Your mind is like your house, you’re very own mansion, cottage, brick townhome, (or village if there’s lots of blinking lights and mayhem.)
And sometimes you may come home at night to hang up your work boots and jacket after a long day of thinking (for your job, your kids, maybe even your spouse), and you find the state of your house is in disarray.
Your Creativity has kidnapped your Imagination and they in the back getting it on, while the Focus you paid good money to contain them is running around trying to find Discipline and Determination and get them back on their jobs.
You see, Creativity is your rebel.
And she ain’t here for your Rules or your Logic. She can vibe with Determination but that Discipline that Focus hired is not for her. Constantly wanting to do the same things over and over and over, bringing Focus to Details and slowing everything down. She will never fly with him around.
She wants to be free, ski, jump, hoop, bump, fly, draw, paint, write, and be bright with benevolence that never needs worry.
Until she is not.
For every flying thing must fall, and Creativity fears falling, and shrinks at the idea of failing. Creativity doesn’t realize that when she runs off with Imagination, she gets lost in his homie Wiles’ eyes. He’s also brought Debonair and Daring, and they are WAY more fun than dumb Discipline with his boring Details.
“Just shut out Fuckboy Focus and scan the sky with me,” Imagination says, “surely we can Imagine new things. Attach to new brains and bring forth here thereto unheard-of claims.”
And Imagination will slyly slide, singing silly songs, “Of course Focus is wrong, he will never feel this strong, he just doesn’t want you to be free, Creativity, he wants you away from me.”
All the while, they gettin’ higher in each other’s arms, Creativity and Imagination, holed up in your house making noises and shaking the floor up a storm.
But, Focus is back here on Reality’s ground, banging the door down, raising alarm.
Creativity must not come to harm, for how can he explain to the Brain that he’s lost the one.
Creativity is how we all get along,
we use her to produce everything we need to belong.
Imagination is just flat out wrong.
Playing on her Insecurities and flirting with her Deepest Desires.
Focus must rally Determination and Discipline so that Creativity can LIVE again in Reality with the other humans and not in fictional delusion. Focus must stake an intrusion, Creativity and Imagination can never be great without his friends, Determination, and Discipline (and the damn Details, ugh).
He knocks on the door, screaming, “Creativity, come out to me! Remember who you are meant to be!”
When Creativity is tamed and at peace, they call her Magic.
She extends her great frame and showers the Details with Determination while wielding Discpline with her Imagination’s Wiles. Debonair and Daring bow before her as she whips her Power at every Problem sent to destroy their Peace. Magic turns her Deepest Desires on her Insecurities and together they all feast on the Beauty.
Creativity can be the most beautiful beast, the simplest feast, and easily the hardest act to beat. But the ugly truth is, Creativity straddles Crazy like a child playing hopscotch on a dark summer’s day. And Imagination is always lurking, never far away.
Creativity Companion Music –
Creativity Companion Book –
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
I really enjoyed reading “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. She inspired me while also making me think about things differently. And she absolutely inspired this short story on that crazy girl, Creativity, that can be both allusive and intrusive. The book is a great read. I took it super slow and read it over 6-7 months, 3-4 pages at a time. Gilbert does a good job of coming off as an authority in creativity and I enjoyed the way she described ideas as living breathing entities that either engage with us or don’t. And I definitely want to be engaged by the ideas, lol, they make life more fun.
I do think she invoked Malcolm X’s memory in that second quote that I chose and I wish she had referenced my man directly. I wonder how she feels about his, ‘by any means necessary’. Cheers to interesting thoughts, well-tended creative minds, fun writing exercises, and beautiful winter nights in Atlanta. Maybe I will write one about the Crazy she’s straddling. Hm. Maybe the only thing that combats Crazy is Consciousness? Who knows. We will see.
The site is going to be undergoing big changes in the coming months. I am not too excited about it as a developer but I am excited about other things around the re-design. We will be more accessible, leaner, and cleaner. It will be positively delightful. Stay tuned.
This one is for my imaginary friend Daisy. May the Creativity always run through me.
If you are one to believe in fantasies and dreams coming true then America is at a ripe time to believe. The American presidential debates this week left a lot of us wanting more or different. Maybe that is what has my mind shifted to fantasy.
In my mind, we are going to need to do a better job of educating the youth. And when I grant fantasy the right to take over, I think about the British boarding school reimagined, Hogwarts. Not a perfect education by any means, the school still provided a hearty amount of good-intentioned, talented, well-resourced & superbly supported magician-scholars.*
One of my favorites on the Harry Potter side is Professor McGonagall. She really comes off as an educator that is capable and forward-thinking.
Which brings me to the American university system. It is a testament to the will of the American scholar that the system is still functioning. (Read “House of Cards: Can the American University Be Saved?” for more information.) It is another sign that our precious country is falling into disrepair and dissension. Out of the mess that has become postdoctoral study and research in the midst of corporate and profit-driven public and private sectors we have amazingly bright scholars that write things that just make sense.
II. Ruha Benjamin Could Keep the Nazi’s Away
And today I am going to give you a little Ruha. I am hoping that a little Ruha here and there will keep the Nazis at bay. Because Lord knows we can’t keep them away, white supremacy and our precious country are synonymous after all. So, please meet Dr. Ruha Benjamin, one of many American Professor McGonagalls.
The mythic and heroic American Harry Potter that saves us from the white supremacist Voldemort and his evil cast will need to be educated in the complexities of race in this country. Because regardless of how we feel, national liberation requires participation and teamwork. That doesn’t mean black people and other subjugated folks can’t take steps to liberate our minds, souls, and habits. It’s an acknowledgment liberation of self doesn’t negate the real LEGISLATIVE and JUDICIAL policy work this country is long overdue.
So I hope the mythical American Harry Potter that is somewhere growing up right now is well-versed in the ‘forbidden’ and ‘outlawed’ critical race theory applied by some of the world’s greatest minds.
III. Again, meet Dr. Ruha, through a snippet of her work published in the Catalyst and remixed for the web by me.
In this moment of social crisis, where even the most basic assertion that black lives matter is contested, we are drowning in ‘the facts’ of inequality and injustice. Whether it is a new study on criminal justice disparities or another video of police brutality, demanding empirical evidence of systematic wrongdoing can have a kind of perverse quality — as if subjugated people must petition again and again for admission into the category of ‘human’, for which empathy is rationed and applications are routinely denied.
Ruha Benjamin, 2016
The facts, alone, will not save us.
In this moment of social crisis, where even the most basic assertion that black lives matter is contested,
It’s as if subjugated people must petition again and again for admission into the category of “human”, for which empathy and applications are routinely denied.
Ruha Benjamin, 2016
Facts alone will not save us.
[Imagine with me.]
It is 2064. A reparations initiative that allows victims of police brutality to regenerate organs is well underway. A major new component of the initiative will be unveiled for the 50th anniversary of the Ferguson uprising, but the largest biobank in the country has been repeatedly hit by raiders intent on selling stem cells on the white market. Aiyana Stanley-Jones and her team of Risers have to find a way to secure the cell depository and revitalize the movement.
Ruha Benjamin, 2016
IV. What is sad about this?
Police brutality is an issue we haven’t solved by bringing the right resources to the problem. Instead, the police continue to maim. And we find ways to biologically heal and practice healing on the victims of police violence. Aiyana Mo’Nay Stanley Jones was a victim of such violence. In 2010 she was ‘accidentally’ shot in the head during a SWAT invasion. In a story eerily similar to Breonna Taylor’s, Aiyanna’s life was collateral damage. The SWAT team was looking for her father. After killing her and paying the family over $8 million in damages, Aiyanna’s father was sentenced to 10+ years behind bars. Ruha Benjamin’s reimagining of the future has brought Aiyanna back to life and into adulthood. Biology and science have truly advanced. It’s a horrific thought and one wonders whether Aiyanna had any say in her rejuvenation. She certainly did not ask to die.
This isn’t a world that will kill me. I am a survivor and I descend from a long line of survivors.
But, this is not the world I want my daughter to inherit. There is no indication that grace, love, fairness, and understanding have imbued the systems that infringe on so many lives.
And these are not the hopes I had for science and technology.
It is 2020.
Who and what are we becoming?
I can’t answer that. But I can say that I agree with Dr. Ruha,
The facts alone will not save us.
Credits & WildeNotes
Written & Edited By W. D. Herstun
*Updated 10/18: I initially wrote well-intentioned and talented. That is true but it is important to note the excellent leadership of Albus Dumbledore and the overwhelming support of the entire upper-class wizarding community. Why is important to write this note? Our universities and high schools need to be re-thought in terms of our support. We may not be able to provide schools with the mythical-level unity that Hogwarts presents for British wizards most of the series, but we can take notes on resourcing and leadership. How can we re-create what works in fantasy from an educational sense? What if our kids got as excited about high school acceptance and performance across all of the population as young wizards did about getting accepted to Hogwarts at 12? Why has public education resorted to ‘what’s-left’ instead of ‘what’s desired’ or ‘what’s emulated’? And how do we change that as the public? How do we vote, organize, converse, write, and challenge to change that? — This paragraph also contains a wording change.
Featuring the work of Ruha Benjamin of Princeton University. I am enjoying learning new scholars and people to admire. I firmly believe the American culture desperately needs balance in the public sphere. Scholars and artists need more air time. Here is my attempt to contribute to being the solution.
As a caveat, there will need to be dozens of Professor McGongalls in order to slay our American beasts. England is a tiny metropolis compared to the sheer acreage and humanity consumed by America. But, we definitely need the forces of magic and might behind the movement. The presidential debates are devoid of talks about humanity, culture, science, and technology. It’s almost as if we are ignoring the reality American innovation and unregulated terror continue to cause. I also want to thank the newest political writer on our squad Lucio, for nudging me away from sports. Sometimes, it’s nice to escape, but I could be better about balancing that with leaning in.
I am also very influenced by the Potter books, clearly. I was lucky enough to grow up in the middle of the heyday. This article referencing Harry is not a reflection of my politically supporting the insensitive statements of J.K. Rowling. I do love the world she created though.
Dear American Harry or Harrietta, take the country by storm. Hopefully, you have a cast of capable friends and a chip on your shoulder. Even with all the magic, study, and prayer, the world can offer, you still won’t completely vanquish Lord Voldemort of White Supremacy. As Ruha Benjamin points out it’s embedded in the structures of our information. But goddamn it, we hope you get some of the heavy-hitting bad guys. The subjugated are tired. Lol. Signed one subjugated, ‘untouchable’ class, American Black woman, a descendant of slaves. And let the record show, when I die, let me go. #ADOS
Before we begin with your regularly scheduled programming, please take a moment and learn more about Herstun family member Jordan Sloan. He was injured in a traumatic football play last weekend. We are currently raising money for his full recovery. Please take a moment and say a prayer for his amazing family or donate if you can.
Back to your regularly scheduled program:
The 2020 NBA FINALS –
From the hard-fought-for West, we have the 2020 Conference Champions, the Los Angeles Lakers led by veterans Lebron James, Anthony Davis, and Rajon Rondo.
And from the hardnosed Eastern Conference, we have the champion Miami Heat lead by veteran Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic alongside up-and-comer Bam Adebayo.
2020 NBA Finals Summary
Both teams earned their place in the finals. They overcame tough conferences and withstood moments designed to break them. This year’s finals comes on the heels of crazy world events, family dramas, and league losses. Read more about Kobe Bryant and the Black Lives Matter movement behind the players.
This will be an intense, rugged NBA finals showdown. And both the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers will fight for the trophy.
The Los Angeles Lakers Go To The NBA Finals
The Lakers are headed into the 2020 NBA Finals after an arduous series against the Denver Nuggets. The team was able to step up on the defensive end. The Lakers closed out all four of their wins within five games, withstanding second-half comebacks from the Nuggets in almost every win. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are playing at the highest level headed into the Finals.
The key for the Western Conference Champions to winning this series is the contribution of their supporting cast. “Playoff Rondo” has brought his game night in and night out. It has had far-reaching impacts for this postseason lakers team.
If LA can turn around and also grab better production out of guys like Kyle Kuzma and Danny Green they will have a good chance at winning the 2020 NBA Finals.
The Miami Heat Go To The NBA Finals
The Miami Heat have been the underdogs all season long. That is nothing new for their veteran leader Jimmy Butler. Butler has been in the league since 2011 and made five All-Star appearances but has garnered criticism from front offices and coaches in the past for his leadership style and maturity.
Coach Erik Spoelstra and the Miami Heat took a chance on Jimmy. And they gave him a lot of young talent to lead. The key for Miami is to use their supporting cast as their weapon. The Heat can be carried by a different player every single night. So it is important that they continue their ball movement on offense to find the hot hand and carry the load.
Another key to Miami’s success in the 2020 NBA Finals will be how they defend the Lakers’ all-star power forward, Anthony Davis. Players like Bam Adebayo and Jae Crowder will have their work cut out for them on the defensive end. With the added duties of being physical with Davis along with keeping him from the paint. During the regular season, Davis had monster games against Miami scoring 26 and 33 in the two matchups played. The Lakers run their offense through Davis in the paint. If the Heat can force him out of his comfort zone, then they will have a shot at winning the championship.
2020 NBA Finals Prediction
This is going to be one of the greatest NBA Finals we have ever witnessed. With the added stress of the COVID outbreak and the peaking of Lebron’s career, next to all the Jimy Butler naysayers: These two teams are locked in for an epic battle of wills. Everyone is hungry for the crown, and we should expect every game to go down to the wire. But, as amazing of a run Miami has had this season, I think the greatness of LeBron James will be too much for the Heat to handle. He is going to get the job done. This is his tenth visit to the finals.
Expect LeBron to average solid numbers around the charts. With his all-around performances, the Lakers will win their 17th NBA Championship taking four games out of six from the Miami Heat.
A note from the Young and Fly Sports Guy: Miami will play LA hard because if anyone can coach against Lebron James it is Erik Spoelstra, after all, James is part of why he is employed. We can expect Spoelstra to throw some new things at us and try to slow the Lakers down. I am personally interested to see how they will attempt to mess with each other’s mental focus. Often series like these can come down to who can maintain their discipline the longest. I can’t wait to watch it! Who you got?
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As a teenager, I found endless energy for basketball.
I remember spending countless days and evenings in hot gymnasiums with 10-12 other sweaty girls.
We learned plays; we practiced motions, and we worked hard; then we slouched off, laughed and fought. Mostly, we played basketball. And some of us learned about life from some amazing adults that largely volunteered all of their time for us and the sport.
(Big shout out to my Dad, Mr. Glenn, and every other father that dedicated his life and time. Another shout to my mom and the other team moms, Ms. Vickie, Ms. Gloria, Ms. Felicia, and Ms. Repunzel off the top of my head. You didn’t have to but you did. And rest in peace to the best coach of them all: John Sr., You are carried with all of us daily. Forever. Period.
Volunteer to spend time with your kids and their friends. It matters. Long after the gym closes and the lights go out. Long after the championships are worthless. And long after you probably remember as an adult, these kids: They remember. I remember. )
It seems silly when I look back.
I didn’t play first-rate collegiate basketball or
even second rate for that matter.
Still, the lessons from competitive basketball stuck. And many times over life, they have been reinforced.
Let me explain.
I learned a lot in those hot ass gyms all those years ago and it continues to reverberate with me almost 15 years after I hung up my most competitive pair of basketball shoes.
I still rely on the language of the game to get me through life.
And it appears to me on the most random occasions.
I think that the brutal nature of life is hard to understand in this time period. Sports can provide a common/shared language. Controlled competition gives us an arena to exercise our humanity and understand one another.
So here I am, halfway into 2020.
And it is NOTHING like my vision board.
EVERYTHING is JACKED all the way up. I am suddenly homeschooling a toddler, in the midst of a move, and preparing for unforeseen challenges the best that I can.
It is truly a crazy time to be alive.
And comparing my every day to a basketball game might sound absolutely insane.
But hear me out.
I am certainly no longer an athlete.
From the ages of 15-18, if you asked me to play 3+ basketball games a day, i would shrug. No big deal. I breathe basketball.
I am now a 32-year-old mother to a beautiful 3-year-old. Not to mention, I have been in more than one car accident and spent a lot of time in my 20s doing manual labor. Basically, my back perpetually hurts and for good reason. You won’t catch me running games on anyone’s court any time soon…
To make matters worse, all my former teammates are probably reading this laughing. I didn’t really shoot the ball all that much, even when I played. I was a defensive, pass-first point guard. For my non-basketball playing readers, that means I rarely had the ball in my hands to take big shots. I was no one’s Micheal Jordan or Kobe Bryant.
BUT, I often facilitated important plays or made big passes… In reality, it was hardly ever up to me to hit the game-winning shot. That pressure routinely lied elsewhere.
That means I played with some amazing shooters. (Shout out to Jelly, the leftie that could drop 43 points in 20 minutes without breaking a sweat. She was ruthless.)
The game of basketball gave me something.
A framework of sorts.
When I hit my tough times, sometimes, I dream about the game. And maybe it’s a day dream. IDK. Maybe, after watching Lebron James tear the court up, or hearing about Micheal Jordan in his documentary, I just… Daydream me back out onto the court.
Except, it is different from when I actually played.
I am no longer the pass-first defensive point guard.
Now, it’s me shooting the ball.
Somewhere along the way, I figured out, I have to shoot the damn ball.
I know why Steph Curry makes 47.6% of all the shots he takes.
It’s because he has the gall to shoot the damn ball.
Even when it’s not falling.
Sometimes you don’t get make it 30/45 without going 0/15.
Sometimes, all the referees will be against you.
But guess what?
YOU HAVE TO KEEP SHOOTING THE BALL.
They can’t call a foul if you aren’t going UP.
Sometimes, the people on the other team will be TALLER than you. And they will have MORE than you.
At any given moment, it may seem absolutely impossible to see the goal. The defense is swarming and the environment is hostile AF!
BUT GUESS WHAT?
Shoot it anyway.
Make ’em block your shot.
Make her be more than tall to beat you, MAKE her be GOOD.
The lessons are lost on the youth.
As an adult and as an enthusiastic spectator of all sports, I GET it.
I understand now, that the BEST shooters, the best batters, the best boxers, the best drivers, all have one thing in common… They shoot ALL the time.
The BEST shooters, they shoot when the lights are off.
They shoot in the desert.
They shoot at the beach.
The BEST shooters, will find somewhere to put up a shot.
Even when the coach doesn’t get it.
Their teammates are pissed.
Parents are embarrassed.
The fans are booing.
IT DOESN’T MATTER.
I am shooting the ball ANYWAY.
Shoot the fucking ball, fam.
And don’t stop.
The world can be burning down around you.
Everything can be going wrong.
COVID got your kids and husband at home. Canceled your vacation.
They still killing black kids. Now you have to protest too.
They fired you or your position is suddenly gone and no one can explain why or what happened.
The rioters are literally burning things down.
Your uncle put his hands on you.
Your daddy never answers your calls.
But, your baby mama spending all your money.
Your probation officer won’t ease up.
There’s an effing PANDEMIC.
Going through a divorce?
Four YOUNG children, and no help.
You are a single mom and you have a special needs child.
When you are in the game, none of that matters. You have to pay attention to the matter hand.
You have to maintain the focus you need to put up shots.
Shoot the ball. Swing at the next pitch. Jab-Jab-Cross-HOOK.
Whatever sports lingo get you going.
You can’t make JACK shit if you aren’t shooting the ball.
(You definitely can’t hit what you don’t swing it. And you can’t hook when you are afraid to throw that jab.)
Whatever your goals are right now, be the freaking shooter.
Get your body in there and throw up a good shot. Not all shots are created equal, but you can’t make what you ain’t shooting for.
If you feel like you are on the bench in your own game, it’s okay. I know I have been there before.
When the ball comes back to you, find the rhythm, slow down, put your eyes on the rim, and follow-through.
(SHOOT THE DAMN BALL.)
Find the center of your goal, tuck your chin and put your off-hand up, then throw that jab. Follow it with the most fire hook you got. And then sit back and wait for His answer.
I’ma keep it real with you.
((I always strive to.))
You are PROBABLY going to MISS that shot!! 🤣
And you will probably completely bomb on that JAB!!
AND you will certainly STRIKE-OUT more times than you hit the HOMERUN.
It DOESN’T Matter.
Get back on defense.
Sit down and slide your feet. And wait for your next shot because I promise it is coming. (Center yourself. Pray, yoga, realign, re-adjust, and get ready for what is coming next.)
As long as you are blessed with blood in your veins, there’s another shot.
It’s the ultimate Gift God bestowed upon us.
Find the ANGER.
Go FIND THE PASSION.
Figure out the DRIVE.
Find the PURPOSE.
Go find whatever the fuck you need to put up your next shot.
And I promise, as long as the grass is green, and God is King, one of them WILL fall. 🙏🏾
But in order to test my theory….
You have to SHOOT.
Written & Edited By: W.D. Herstun
This has been a tough year. But always remember that the champions are made in the fire. And it is okay if you aren’t cut out for the heat. However. If you have the energy, the ability, or the resources to CHANGE something then now is the TIME. I know it’s been a long time since I’ve been in your inbox. Trust that I am out here grinding with you. And if the basketball/sports lingo is too much for you then don’t worry! Nick Andre has an article that is going to break down the basics of the game of basketball coming soon. It’s a quarantine. What better time to learn something new?
John Kelly Sr. and John Kelly Jr. – one day i will do honor by your names. Coach brought all of us so much. I know I am not the only one that lights a candle in his honor every time I get the chance. And a major shout out to his family.
Anjelica Mealing – where ever you are in life, I hope that you are shooting the ball. I am always rooting for you. Check her out on LinkedIn.
Breonna Taylor – I will write a letter for you every change I get until justice is served. You deserved to live a full life and you did everything you were supposed to in order to earn that. AMERICA took it from you and you from US, but like Sandra, we will NEVER forget. I WILL NEVER FORGET. You mattered, sis. All 24 years of you mattered. Periodt.
Black Lives Matter – Protesters/Rioters/Participants/Activists/Believers – We NEED you. Please keep finding the energy to SHOOT the BALL.
There is a caveat to this. Everyone is not the shooter all the time. And if you find yourself in a position where shooting absolutely isn’t your role, then maybe passing is the best bet. I have amazing passers on my team that are constantly keeping me abreast of what opportunities are available. So, yeah. If you aren’t shooting the ball or aiming for your goals directly then help someone else reach theirs but either way, get in the game!
Details. I am doing what I can to capture the movement on Facebook. This is a two-man band currently, with myself and #NickAndre at the helm. Resources and time are limited. You can donate to the Herstun Writer on CashApp $Herstunwild. Thank you for your time and I hope to have a shop up and running soon.
It’s been a minute and the world is going a little crazy in America ahead of a huge election. And a lot of folks go silent when it comes to making political statements in athletics. But it is because sports bring us together that it is important to make these statements. That and because these are highly visible moments. One Lakers game featuring the league-leading LeBron James can bring in over 2.9 million viewers on one platform, at one time.
That means that over 1 million more viewers, on average, choose to tune in and watch LeBron on a low-rated night on ESPN, a channel notoriously difficult to access. Could you imagine how many people would watch if the Lakers were played on 13 channels? Lol. I am not quite sure the math works like that. But, drawing 2.9 million viewers on a slow night is impressive. The NBA playoffs are a big stage and people like sports.
It is actually the perfect platform for a peaceful statement. The Miami Heat has an excellent website up where you can get more information on the players and their community support ideas.
COVID Killed Sports
Even with all that’s going on, we are super happy to be back playing major league sports. Because, for a long time, we had no amazing gladiatorial competition or feats of athletic prowess on any stage because of COVID-19. The virus canceled every major sporting event in the world. Even the courts in parks usually packed with ballers were eerily quiet.
Us diehard fans were not exactly appreciative.
Sports gives us a chance to scream, yell, laugh, and sometimes cry. Sometimes we win, and sometimes we lose. It’s an incredible forum to express and exercise humanity. And I think once you start watching a little… You always want to play again, watch again, or listen to other people get excited about it. Because sometimes fun gets to be simple.
That’s the beauty of the game itself.
And this isn’t just basketball. This is playoff basketball baby.
And, it gives us all the chance to learn more about the sport I love. Basketball. There are so many people missing out simply because they don’t understand the game.
So. Let’s break it down.
James Naismith is a Canadian-American educator that invented the game of basketball in 1891. He penned the first basketball rulebook, and established the basketball program at the University of Kansas, according to Biography.com.
The purpose of inventing the game was to keep athletes active during the wintertime. It became an inexpensive and popular winter sport, providing an outlet for youth and adults spanning generations.
Basketball can be played in different configurations and with varying participants.
You can play the game from either 1 v 1 all the way up to 5 v 5. (And Naismith’s orginal rule book features rules for 9 v 9 basketball.)
The Objective is More Baskets
The purpose is simple. Put the ball in the basket as many times as possible to increase your team’s point total. To give yourself the best chance at winning, you have to make it a mission to stop your opponent from putting it in the basket too. Your team making sure the other team doesn’t make a basket creates more opportunities for your team to score and win the game.
Scoring the Basketball
Baskets can be worth 1, 2, or 3 points. Anywhere from 22 feet from the basket is 2 points made. And 23 feet and further counts as three. There is usually a line demarcating the 3 point zone from the 2 point zone.
There is another set of lines that make a rectangular box directly under the basket. This area is affectionately referred to as the lane or the paint. It is where bigger players usually bang it out or where power plays to the goal take place. In professional leagues, you can not stand in that box for too long. The purpose is to keep players moving fluidly around the court and not just backed up in the lane attempting to pummel each other.
In most standard basketball games, scoring one point is the result of a penalty. (One time there was this one player in the NBA that was so bad at penalty shots, teams developed a strategy to foul him on purpose because you could guarantee he was only going to make one penalty shot for one point instead of two, or he wouldn’t make any at all. They called the strategy hack-a-Shaq.)
When playing an organized team game, there’s usually a timed clock that takes place for either four quarters or two halves. There are a lot of additional clocks that players worry about in the professional leagues but we won’t cover them here today. You can learn more about them in the NBA’s Regulations.
Defending Against Scoring
Defenses can take many different forms. In most 5 v 5 games, there can be zone defenses, where players cover certain areas of the floor they are assigned to. Zone defenses can be configured in various ways but the goal is usually to defend the lane.
And then there are man-to-man defenses. Usually, players in professional leagues, like the NBA, play a lot of man-to-man. The player is assigned to one opponent on the other team and tries to keep them from scoring easily.
Teams can defend the full length of the court or choose to only defend half of the court or even pack down inside the three-point line and wait for the team with the ball to come to them.
Team Chemistry in Basketball
Team chemistry is all about having great communication. The best teams are always on the same page when they are on the floor. Whether they use hand signals, mouth words, or just know where each other will be, team chemistry is the key to championship play in basketball. It is a team sport.
Coming out with the win is always the best result, as with most sporting events.
The ultimate team is looking to compete at the highest level and remain disciplined enough to display poise through it all. Basketball is a back and forth sport and there are a lot of chances for mistakes. There will be breaking points, but the team that comes out on top is usually able to withstand them. Momentum is another concept that is vital to most forms of intense competition. Basketball is no different. Teams with good chemistry look to gain momentum by playing off their chemistry.
Let’s Play More Basketball!
Basketball is a difficult sport to play. The professionals usually start playing early in their youth and continue to get better well into their professional careers as their basketball IQs increase. Lebron James has had a basketball in his hands almost every day since he was 10 years old. He celebrated his 36th birthday this year.
And so many kids start out playing the game and transition to passionate fans.
As a spectator sport, basketball is fun, fast, and competitive. Especially playoff basketball because the players really turn the level of play up a notch. But, it’s also fun to just play with friends and family on holidays. Pick up a basketball on your next date and see which one of you can get it through the hoop the most! Winner gets a kiss.
If you haven’t played basketball as of yet, I’d love for you to try it.
It may take a little while to get used to but I believe after a couple of tries you’ll get the hang of it. I hope this small tutorial can help you out on how to play the game but even more so on how to watch it!!
And if you try it, I promise you you won’t forget it (even if it’s not for you, it can make for some pretty funny goof reels!)
When to Watch
LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Denver Nuggets in a series-deciding 5th game Saturday at 9 pm EST on TNT. Here is a quick recap of game 4. If this is too much to digest before then no worries because we have the 2020 NBA Championship, East vs. West, right around the corner.
For more basketball and sports lingo check out the Writer’s last post:
Publishing this article took some time because the world is on fire. Literally and figuratively. And honestly, with everything going on in America, it’s been a little tough to figure out HOW to publish it. I hope that the introduction broke down some of the important things that are affecting the humans behind the performance and their families. There are real problems in our country. It’s going to take a lot more than basketball alone to solve them. I hope that athletes and other performers work on collective organizing and walkouts across entertainment industries. But in a country where so many people are programmed to understand, expect, and fear scarcity, it’s tough to conceptualize it. Furthermore, it would take even more than that to institute the structural changes that could make the world better for our kids. What do you think? Feel free to leave thoughts in the comments.
The first player to be on my list this 2019 – 2020 season from the Eastern Conference NOT named the Greek Freak.
Jayson Tatum has taken his game to another level and has taken this Celtics team to much higher standards this month. And Tatum was another player who was close to Kobe prior to his passing. Although he was devastated by the loss of his childhood hero, Tatum used that energy as fuel. He has always wanted to make Kobe proud in the best way. As the playoffs approach, Boston-fans can only hope Tatum can keep up this elite play. The Celtics will really need to run the offense through him as they head towards the postseason.
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
The King has played exceptionally through the month of February.
LeBron has been all over the League playing at an extremely high level. From the All-Star Game to the regular-season wins, he has the hot hand. Right now, the Lakers are miles ahead of the other Western teams keeping that #1 seed on a lock heading into the playoffs.
LeBron understands how much home court advantage helps teams and that’s why he is pushing the momentum. It is the beauty of having a championship veteran leading the squad. We may see LeBron rest more as the season winds down, but his mentality will not change while he is on the court. His goal is to be ready to make a playoff push so he can earn his 4th championship and secure the 1st one in a decade for the Los Angeles Lakers.
NBA February – Rookies of the Month
Coby White, Chicago Bulls
Wooow bro. Coby White has been an X-Factor for Chicago off the bench this season.
Playing alongside guys in Zach Lavine and Lauri Markannen, White has been able to feed off his teammates’ energy. He has lit up the floor every time he checks into the game. White picked up his play this month, averaging 20 points per game while shooting 43% from the field. White’s been stellar so far despite Chicago only winning one game the entire month! As the rookie shooter has continued to flourish this season, it could be possible that Chicago Bulls’ Head Coach Jim Boylen will move him to the starting lineup. That move could make a difference for this Chicago team in the near future. So, wow bro.
Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans
It’s only right that I gave this guy the award for Rookie of the Month for the Western Conference.
Many expected the Pelicans to be out of the playoff race by now. But once Zion Williamson returned for the floor, that narrative changed. Zion has been a BEAST among boys all month, showing that he can compete and dominate at the professional level.
Since Zion’s healthy arrival to the court this season, the Pelicans are a seed away from entering the playoff race in the tough Western Conference. Holding down the 9th spot in the conference, right behind the current Rookie of the Year (ROY)’s, Ja Morant’s team the Memphis Grizzlies. We have all raved about Ja Morant’s stellar play throughout the season. But Zion is coming with a vengeance for that ROY Award. Both of these guys will continue to flourish through the rest of the season. And whoever’s team wins that last seed in the Western Conference might have a Rookie of the Year Award to go with their team’s playoff berth.
NBA February – Teams of the Month
The Bucks continue to dominate and dismantle teams.
They continue to be scorching hot from behind the arc and their shooting accuracy takes opponents out of their game. The Bucks are improving and gathering momentum as we head into the playoffs.
They have handled teams like the Toronto Raptors and the LA Lakers in tough match-ups. Now that we’re in March, let’s see if this team can continue the momentum through the last month of the regular season. By the way, they’ve been so dominant, there may be a chance Coach Budenholzer decides to sit Giannis down for the rest of the season so their MVP can be fresh and ready for the postseason to begin in April.
I wasn’t a big Houston fan coming into the season, but they played impressive basketball in February.
They have adapted a small line-up and they torch teams up and down the court with their quickness and shooting. One of Houston’s biggest factors last month was the rise of Russell Westbrook. It took Westbrook some time to get used to playing alongside Harden.
But once he did, he has been nearly unstoppable lifting the Houston Rockets to a playoff-contending squad. As the regular season comes to an end, it’ll be interesting to see how Houston will play with guys no taller than 6’7″ on the floor. They will have to space the floor and execute to make a deep playoff run in the talent-rich Western Conference.
NBA February – Game of the Month
February 16: NBA All-Star Game
Team LeBron 157– 155 Team Giannis
It has been difficult trying to understand Adam Silver’s new All-Star Game format. But as the game went on, it became easier to get a read on why this was the best idea for formatting the All-Star Game. This game was in honor of Kobe and his daughter Gianna. Team LeBron wore #2 for Gianna while Team Giannis wore #24 for Kobe.
The first three quarters were filled with highlight-reel plays and open shots for each player. But as the 4th Quarter arrived, that became a different story.
NBA All-Star Game Format
There are 12 minute quarters. After each quarter the score resets and the team that won the quarter gets money donated to their charities of choice. Team LeBron won the first quarter of play 53 – 41. Team Giannis smashed the second quarter, 50 – 31. The third quarter ended in a tie at 41 – 41!
At the end of the third, Team Giannis had 133 points overall and Team LeBron had 124 points overall. For the 4th quarter, the overall score would matter because there was no game clock. Instead, the first team to score 157 points would win the game.
And that is when things got interesting…
This was probably the first NBA All-Star Game that I have ever seen that had playoff-level intensity. Teams were arguing with referees over calls, there was tight defense being played by everyone. Clearly, it was very important for both teams to get a win.
Team LeBron 156 – Team Giannis 155
The game would end up with guard Kyle Lowry fouling big man, Anthony Davis. Davis would then go to the line and make 1 free throw to seal the game for Team LeBron.
Many would say that this years All-Star Game was a success. The game got much more competitive without a game clock in the fourth quarter and the players really went after it. It’s safe to say that this format will be here for a while. Regardless, this game was dedicated to the late & great Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. And everyone just wanted to make them proud with the way they played that night.
Now that we’re in the 2nd half of the season, it is time for teams to buckle down. Everyone needs to figure out the X’s and O’s of what needs to be done in order for teams to be prepared for the playoffs. With March being the last month of regular season play, we’ll see many teams competing for the right spot that gives the best chance at a long post-season run.
Which means that we still have a lot of NBA Basketball to play and write about! So, stay with us here on the Herstun Writer or check out my basketball blog where we… talk about basketball!
#LetsGrow #LoveAlways #HerstunHoops
Written By Nick Andre. Edited By W.D. Herstun.
Let the record show that Nick Andre turns this report in on time EVERY MONTH. And then, I take a week to edit it. Lol. Luckily, a lot of you are reading from overseas and I do not get the impression from the stats that you mind the lag. Thank you for sticking with us, we appreciate it. We may not have it on time, but we will have it, and probably with a little #Wild.
I have two honorable mentions this time around folks. Big shout out to the slow starters. You must get started in order to have a strong finish and both of these guys are finishing the season strong.
Wild NBA February – Slow Starter to Watch, Veteran
Russell Westbrook, Houston Rockets
Wild NBA February – Slow Starter to Watch, Rookie
Cam Reddish, Atlanta Hawks
(As of the end of February Cam Reddish is injured.)