You may be wondering, who is that lady in the photo above? Well, that’s my mother.
The picture was taken at her college graduation, from last July. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was unable to attend. Nonetheless, it’s favorite picture ever.
It’s my phone’s home screen, and profile picture on all my social media. It’s not only her big, happy smile, or the sight of seeing several COLLEGE graduates that are minorities (#BlackExcellence), but it’s the story behind the story.
In the photo, my mom received her Associate’s degree. The average age, for a college student to receive said degree, is between 20–25 years. At the time of the photo, my mom was 38 years old.
That’s not even the absurd part.
Did I mention she’s a single mother of three children? All above the age of fourteen?
My mother is the toughest person I know. She dropped out of high school during her sophomore year. Despite the trials and tribulations she endured following that decision, she received her high school, and college diplomas.
Why do I share THIS story? (A whole lot of why’s in this post). Because my mother is the reason this blog exists.
Back in fifth grade, I discovered the game of basketball. One day, while at an after school program, my friends and I had free gym time. That day, I decided to play my favorite sport at the time: kickball.
Now, kickball isn’t fun without at least sixteen people playing (two teams, each with a pitcher, 4 baseman, and 3 outfielders.) Therefore, you could imagine how much fun it was playing alone (it wasn’t).
I was playing alone, because all my friends were playing basketball that day. I remember, begging my group leader to end their game, so we can play kickball. My plea went unanswered, as they played basketball for the remainder of the day.
To prevent the horrifying experience of playing alone, I decided that the next time my friends played basketball, I would join them. And join them I did.
Basketball was amazing. I had so much fun running up and down the court, traveling my life away, and committing every foul imaginable. Everyone would call me a “hack”, and I didn’t even know what that term meant. Such a fun time.
After that experience, I realized how exciting the sport was, and I wanted to learn everything there was to know about it.
I can recall the first game I watched from home. February 18, 2012. The Milwaukee Bucks were visiting the New Jersey Nets. Two mediocre squads that were anything but exciting at the time. I thought otherwise.
It was so much fun watching the Nets, playing from behind for most of the game, struggling to defend Ersan Ilyasova of all people. I remember running from the living room to the kitchen, where my mother was, with the Nets down six points, saying: “mommy mommy, if they score seven points in twenty-one seconds, they can win the game!”
My mom witnessed my growing love for the sport, and like the person she is, helped me increase it.
One day, she was watching television, and a commercial came on, about this basketball website for kids my age: NBA Hoop Troop. She showed me the website, and I fell in love. It’s what I was looking for.
Every day during my after-school program, when we had computer time, I would only go on that website, play games, read the stories about NBA players, see the standings and statistics. Studying the website, allowed me to become knowledgeable with the sport, to the point where I was considered more than a fan, almost a fiend.
From that point on, I aimed to do anything and everything that had to do with basketball. I started playing competitively in middle school, and studying the NBA whenever the chance arose.
Back then, if you asked me what I would to study in college, I would’ve said basketball. The passion was evident. That passion periodically increased throughout high school.
Granted, I have several other inspirations, that lead to me creating this blog. Adrian Wojnarowski, a well-known NBA columnist is one. I just admire his work as an NBA insider, with him having information on the NBA’s top stories, information no one else has. I just find him to be very consistent, and elite at his craft, and aspire to do what he does.
Other inspirations include one of my good friends, Mamadou Tall. He has his own sports blog/website, dubbed Hoops Views. After reading his work, and discovering that we had the same passion, I approached him and expressed how impressed I was with his website. He thanked me and encouraged me to create some sort of website myself. I’m grateful he did that.
To cap off, there are several reasons why this blog exists, too many to count. However, it all traces back to my mother.
If it wasn’t for her, then I would probably be pursuing a career in professional kickball (is that a thing?). No, but in all seriousness, I love my mother, so it’s only fitting that she helped me discover my ultimate passion. Therefore, the photo above is used, to honor her, and thank her for helping me find my passion.
Thank you mommy.
If you made it to the end, I promise this is the last intro blog. Everything from here on out, will be basketball-oriented for the most part. And again, if you’re reading this, I love you. Remember that.
(Originally posted December 27, 2019 on Medium. Edited on May 22, 2020 on WordPress.)