Love and Basketball 

I originally wrote this as a Facebook post on June 16, 2016. A recent comment on the thread  brought it back to my attention, so I decided to share it here:

Okay, I’m watching the NBA finals game 6. I don’t usually do that kind of thing, mostly because it reminds me of my dad. Dad was a pretty damn good baller in his day, having played high school ball in Philly against someone kinda famous (Wilt Chamberlain). When I was little, Dad took me to the playground where he would play a pickup game on Saturdays. To me, my Daddy was like a god.
He taught me the basics of the passing game until he decided I was too old a girl for basketball (I loved him, but he was a terrible sexist). We would watch games together, and we even went to a few 76ers games at the Spectrum. Basketball was a game of beauty and finesse, played by beautiful tall men in very small shorts. I was in love.
I saw the game at its best with the best tour guide. I saw some of the best players of all time: Dr. J, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, and then some. The crazy showboating and foolishness that came later put me off the game for a while. Then a prodigy from Akron brought me back.
I was angry at first when I heard LeBron James was going straight to the NBA from high school. I thought it was important that a young black man get his education and make the league wait four years. It didn’t take me long to come around. He is truly the greatest I’ve seen in years (and yes, I’m including Michael Jordan).
Sunday is Fathers Day. It’s also my dad’s 77th birthday. I’m hoping for a game 7 on Sunday so I can watch and celebrate my dad. He would’ve loved tonight’s game. We would’ve cheered together, yelled at the refs together, and enjoyed LeBron and Kyrie together. Steph Curry looks a lot like my dad did back in his b-ball days. Some part of me cheers for him only for that reason. He reminds me of the days when my dad was like a god and I got to practice bounce passes with him on the porch.
I miss those days.
I miss you, Daddy. Love you.
(I’m so happy Cleveland went on to win it all, getting its first championship in over 50 years. That would have made Daddy smile, especially on his birthday.)