It was the Larry Bird documentary that showed me the beauty of basketball. A marriage of cerebral and physical exertion that would provide me with the glory of achievement as long as I respected the game.
The basic truth of the matter is basketball was and forever will be my first love.
Aside from my seasonal forays into the world of 2K on my PS console, the closest I would get to living the dream as an NBA player comes along every October. For the last two years, I had the fortunate chance to be invited to an NBA Fantasy Camp as part of the NBA Canada Series. My invite comes to me in an email from the great people at Foot Locker Canada. As a blogger, I suit up to represent Team Foot Locker and we square off against Team 2K on the court where two NBA teams play out their last pre-season game.
As we get to the arena, we are ushered into a changing room, where we find seats with a card where our names are identified sitting atop a haul of NBA and Foot Locker gear. Headbands, wrist bands, socks, shorts, jersey and a pair of adidas sneakers make up the uniform as we get ready to hit the court.
We are also privy to a dope presentation for what’s to come as Foot Locker prepares for the next following months. Store updates and sneakers to come are all part of the information session, an advantageous sneak peek of sorts.
As we run into the arena, we are greeted by the two coaches for the Fantasy Camp, the legendary Jack Armstrong and much loved Matt Devlin. We also get to chat it up with former Toronto Raptors star, Morris Peterson. I inexplicably had to tell the man that he was a beast back at Michigan State, and that his dominance made me hate him! I kind of made up for it explaining, it was a respect thing and not a I-hate-your-guts-thing, since he gave so much trouble to my 1999 Duke team in the Final Four and how he ran the show during the 2000 Finals to win the ‘ship.
Tip-off. Everything that happened on the court for the following 45 minutes or so was a blur… Despite how tight the squad was playing, the highlight of the game was the chasedown block Team 2K inflicted on one of my teammates!
Afterwards, a quick photo session with Mo Pete, the coaches and the Larry O’Brien trophy and we were basically out the door.
The NBA Fantasy Camp is one of the highlights of my year within the sneakers and sports realm. First love meets second love and I get flashes of what happened on the court. I remember dribbling the ball, throwing a couple of passes and repeating to myself not to miss the lay-ups because this, for all my years of practice, sweat and tears, would be my biggest basketball stage!
Thank you Foot Locker Canada and NBA Canada for making dreams a reality. Also, almost forgot to mention, Team Foot Locker Canada won! The streak is alive!