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Adversity is Nothing #1

I wasn’t going to start this blog until my cousin Avery and I actually got to Malaysia, but, mainly due to a lack of space, I cannot sleep on this 13-hour flight from Vancouver BC, to Hong Kong. Therefore, I will start this blog while I am in the air, aboard a Boeing 777.
Sitting here in my damn bulk head seat, irritated. Not having room to stretch the knees is torture for any tall person, let alone a 33-year-old, 6’10” basketball player, who has returned to the basketball court after 5 years away from the game.
Now, I tried to get ahead of the issue by talking to Cathay Pacific Airline attendants at the gate, about possibly changing my seat. I actually insisted that I did not want a bulk head seat but, most short people think that the bulk head seat is perfect for someone like me. So they insisted that this would be a great seat.

The struggle is real.

The struggle is real.

What makes it worse, is that there isn’t another person on this flight over 6’5”, which means anyone with extra leg space, sitting in an emergency seat, or a seat with nothing in front of them, could easily sit in my seat.
I use to demand a business class ticket from teams that wanted my services, or at the least a great seat in the economy class. Beggars can’t be choosers and I am just grateful to be playing basketball again. Please believe that if I play how I expect to play, I will not be flying home in anything less than business class, or as I said at the least a great seat in economy class.
I’ve been walking around the plane and stretching, meanwhile I see my cousin sleeping like an angel. In a middle seat at that, damn guards got it good. As I walked past him a third time, I began to think about what was actually going on.

My cousin sleeping the majority of the flight

My cousin sleeping the majority of the flight

My cousin and I were destined to do something like this, and everything that happened prior to this moment had to happen in order for this moment to take place. Although there were a few possibilities for us to play together throughout our lives, it was never the right time.

We have always lived near each other. Growing up, my parents moved out of the Central District, into Blakely Village while they both attended the University of Washington, one of the student housing communities at the UW. Avery’s parents did the same thing, moving down the way into another UW Student housing community, which was less than a mile away. Our fathers are first cousins and were very close, so it made sense that we were too.
Our families both moved back to the central district. I lived on 20th and Union, he lived on `19th and Union, and crazier than that, he stayed in north Seattle at the same time that my mom moved out to north Seattle.
Both of us played for the Garfield Bulldogs a few years apart, if you come from the Central District you know how significant that is. Not everyone can play for the Bulldogs. Anyone that has played for the Field, is part of a special group of players. Now comes the rocky side of the story.

We both faced adversity, both had choices, and both of us made poor decisions. I left Seattle after being kicked out of University of Washington following my sophomore year, due to my attitude, which Head Coach Lorenzo Romar, had enough of. The consequences for Avery’s actions were a lot more severe, as he was sent to prison to do time for his choices.
Not going to tell the whole story, well, at least not in this introductory blog. Sometime in that period, I became a pro basketball player. My career began to fade a few years later, due mainly to injuries. Avery was released from prison, and his pro hoop career was just starting.

Getting ready to leave

Getting ready to leave

Avery has a fire burning within him, it was the same fire that I had burning in me when I transferred down to Portland State University from University of Washington. Determined to prove the naysayers wrong, and I think more importantly, determined to live up to our own expectations and potential. While that fire flamed out in me, it was burning a path for Avery. Little did I know at the time, but his flame would actually help to reignite mine.
We had one moment, where we got to see how good we could be on the court together. North Seattle had a league that featured the best collegiate players in the state of Washington and some of the best professional ball players in the city of Seattle. One team in particular basically featured the Washington Huskies basketball team. The team consisted of two future NBA basketball players, in Tone Wroten and Terrance Ross.
My cousin Avery and I proceeded to dominate the game. Some people in the stands were shocked. Everyone except us, as we use to talk about how good we could be.

Avery’s career took off at Shoreline Community College, where he became a player with legendary status in that gym. I was done, I think that I may have took one more contract after that, but I thought it was time to retire, based on life. Injuries made me very uncertain about whether or not I could bank on basketball as a legitimate option to feed my 2 kids.
What seemed like a very unlikely scenario, became a reality. Not over night, but five years after the last pro basketball game I played. It is still somewhat hard to believe.

Americans meet

Americans meet

I began to really focus on my health, and that fire within me that I thought faded, never fully went out. Seeing my cousin balling, no employment after graduating from the University of Washington this last Winter quarter, and a strong desire to stay out of the kitchen for employment, all brought me back to the game that I never stopped loving.
We are now headed to Malaysia. Both of us are ready, I haven’t been in this good of shape since I had an opportunity to play for the Miami Heat.

Avery who is one of the hardest working ball players I have ever met, is ready. Both confident and both understand the magnitude of what could possibly happen. I am not feeling this plane ride, but I’m so excited to play professional basketball with my little cousin, who I have to thank for getting me this job.

We have fans

We have fans

The job assignment is three weeks long. A tournament, bonus money, and a possible basketball job on the line if I play well. I am all in, whether that be for the 3 weeks I am out here, or for the next 3 years that I will play basketball if given the opportunity.

Thank you Avery, I love you fam, although we can’t make up for lost time, we can make the most of the time that we do have….


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