Silly Season vs. Dream Season

23 11 2010

“Basketball is balanced by equal and opposite forces; defined by it. Offense and defense, action and reaction, triumph and heartbreak. Once every generation, if we’re lucky, two players embody this balance, a counterweight by which each’ greatness is measured. Our generation has been waiting and now two have emerged.”

Michael Jordan and Majic Johnson


In the 1980s, the Los Angeles Lakers, led by Magic Johnson, dominated the NBA, winning 5 championship titles in 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987  and 1989. The 1990s, was dominated by the Chicago Bulls, led by Michael Jordan, who defeated Johnson’s Lakers in 1991 for their first NBA championship title. The Bulls would complete a double three-peat in the 90s earning 5 more titles in 1992, 1993 and 1996-98. Whilst fiercely competitive athletes at the top of their game, both MJs had tremendous respect for each other. Their love for the game was undeniable and NBA fans were the beneficiaries of their athletic display. Whenever both teams met, sell out crowds would fill the stadiums not just to support their team but to also see the game at its finest. This went beyond the United States as Jordan and Johnson teamed up in 1992 as part of the now legendary “Dream Team” that captured gold at the Barcelona Olympics, winning every game throughout the tournament. Due in no small part to these two men, the team has been referred to as “the greatest sport team ever assembled.”

How was it possible for 12 men, from 10 different teams to come together to accomplish such a feat? Was it just their love of the game? Was it just national pride? Whatever the answer, what is clear is that they all saw and believed in something greater than themselves and their individual achievements. They had to check their egos at the door and become one team, with one purpose, each one sacrificing his own accomplishment for the good of the team.

Perhaps, for some, the magical air of Jordan and Johnson has long since faded into history when they stepped off the court for the last time. Their legacies only to be remembered as inductees in the Basketball Hall of Fame as two of the 50 Greatest to play the game. Perhaps the Kobe Bryants and LeBron James’ of today have erased our sense of history of the game. Nonetheless, if we look close enough, we can draw parallels from these contemporary superstars and see that even as things change, they can remain very much the same.


ESPN’s 2009 documentary, Dream Season: 23 & 24, from which the opening quote of this article was derived, chronicled the journey of Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant and (then) Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James as they led the US national team to redemption at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Like the MJs, KB and LBJ are fierce competitors, depicted as a black mamba and a lion in advertising and merchandise. Both draw sell out crowds and top TV ratings when they face off. Both are undoubtedly the two best players in the game today. Yet, they came together on one team, to restore for their country what had been lost, pride. Following the Redeem Team’s gold medal in Beijing, Bryant and James would return to their respective teams to pursue a championship title in the 2008/09 NBA season. Although much hype was made of the possibility of the two squaring off in a finals match-up, the reality of a dream season was not to be as Cleveland was knocked out by the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals.

What has proved enduring though is the respect that both players have for each other and their unquestionable love for the game. This passion ensures that today’s basketball fans can delight in the performance of the game in much the same way those did in generations past.

In St.Vincent and the Grenadines, two major political parties are engaged in a fierce campaign that will culminate on Election Day, December 13th 2010. If both parties, can demonstrate mutual respect and love for country, every candidate, every supporter and  every Vincentian could be better off, regardless of the outcome. Let us be motivated not by the desire just to see a win for red or yellow, but to see a clean, fair competition. If we can do this, we would all be able to hold our heads or ink-stained fingers high on December 14th as proud Vincentians having survived the rigors of competitive politics in a healthy democracy. The ball is in OUR court!

“Separately, two legacies unfolding before our eyes, together, a new chapter of converging forces, destined to be linked forever.”


Adding insight to injury (Part II)

29 01 2010

In my previous post, I began a series of lessons that I’ve learned and am learning during my recovery. I’m humbled by the outpouring of concern that I’ve received from everyone via email, Facebook, phone calls, etc. I really appreciate it. One of the recurring questions that I realized I had not answered was, “How did that happen?” For those of you who are curious about just how did I end up in a full leg cast, the explanation actually forms the basis of today’s Adding Insight to Injury.

Last Monday night (01 • 18 • 10), I was playing 3-on-3 basketball with two friends, Jabu and Frank, at Taida (台大). While denying a pass on the lower left block with my back to the basket, an opponent ran behind me to set a screen but accidentally bumped my knee in the process, knocking me to the ground. The unacknowledged foul resulted in an easy basket for them. This fueled my intensity enough to help our team win that game and most of the night. Although my knee pained a bit at the time, I didn’t think anything of it and continued to play for another two hours. Because I don’t sit between games, I felt no persistent pain. After getting home and sitting at the computer, my knee began to swell and pain. When I say pain, believe me, I mean PAIN! So much so that I had to get my wife to call the ambulance (119 in Taiwan). Six flights of stairs, four EMTs, two ambulances, two injections (OUCH!) and one long overnight hospital stay later… Well, you get the picture.

With this in mind, the second lesson (insight) that I would like to share from my injury is: Never take anything or anyone for granted. Had you told me that such a minor bump would have resulted in my current situation, I would not have believed it. However, life is often like that. Many times, we fail to recognize and rectify simple situations that are within our control and sometimes allow them to develop into big burdens. In doing so, we can take for granted that our entire life can be turned upside-down at a moment’s notice. This is also true of situations beyond our control – an undectected medical condition, unexpected medical complications, even the recent events in Haiti, have reminded me of this fact. This is why it is so important to appreciate the people in our lives who we’ve had the privilege to interact with and cherish the moments we’ve had the pleasure to experience. It just might be the last time we have the opportunity to do so.

Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, during a 2005 Stanford University Commencement speech, shared this quote that he heard when he was 17, “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” The impression it has left on him has had a similar effect on me. He later went on to say, “I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

If there is something in your life that you know needs correcting, correct it today. If there is someone in your life that you know needs forgiving, forgive them today. If there is something in your life that you know needs doing, do it today. If there is someone in your life that you know needs encouraging, encourage them today. If there is any habit in your life you know needs quitting, quit it today. If there is someone in your life that you know needs loving, love them today. Tomorrow may be too late. Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. (James 4:13)

Dedicated to the memory of...

Adding insight to injury (Part I)

24 01 2010

It’s an athlete’s worse nightmare – an injury. Anything that prevents you from performing at 100%. Sometimes, an injury or illness is relatively minor and does not threaten the ability to play. Great competitors often show their determination in the face of these situations and perform above and beyond the call of duty, à la Michael Jordan’s now legendary Flu Game in the 1997 NBA Finals.

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Interview: Cregg Friday and Craiglee Sam

14 01 2010

This 12-minute interview is an extended version of one originally recorded for Radio Production class where my group had to produce a 20 minute radio program called, International Hot Coffee. The interview was edited down to just 7 minutes for  a segment called, Special Ingredients.

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Globalization of the Game

1 01 2010

From its inception as a winter indoor pastime for athletes by Canadian born James Naismith in 1891, the game of basketball has developed into one of the fastest growing and most popular sports on the planet. This development, though slow at first, has exploded in the past 20 years and can be attributed to specific events along the path of internationalization to globalization. More than bouncing a ball and putting it through a 10 foot basket, the game has been an avenue that has led many to fulfill their hoop dreams both on and off the court. Read the rest of this entry »

Adonal Foyle – World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame Inductee

24 11 2009

Bequia Basketball Association Press Release

30 08 2009

The Eleventh Annual Bequia Basketball Tournament came to an exciting conclusion on Sunday August 30th at the Clive Tannis Hard Court in Bequia. First Division’s DUKE defeated defending champions BequiaTech Rising Stars 72 to 57 in an exciting game three of the Final Best of 3 Series to capture the First Division 2009 Championship title, and a beautiful gold ball trophy. Craiglee Sam of the Stars, who was adjudged the overall Division Most Valuable Player, as well and his team mvp, netted 18 points, but his team, who were leading for three quarters, came up short in the last 5 minutes of the game! Read the rest of this entry »