Excerpts



Introduction


I’m not one of those people who memorizes statistics or charts power ratings. My office colleagues often turned to me in March to help them fill out their NCAA brackets. They never asked more than once. I am terrible at guessing winners. One year, the office pool was won by the mother of one of my friends, who picked teams based on how “cute” their mascots were. She won every game.


I pick the teams I want to win, not the ones statistics tell me have a better chance. I want these teams to win because the coach has a reputation of staying in touch with his former players, or because I saw one of the team’s players help up an opposing player from the floor, or because one of their guys is leading the country in assists.

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Teach Your Parents Well


I am, and this might be obvious, an extreme basketball enthusiast. I am also the father of three daughters. You may deduce from those facts that my children were, you might say, coaxed into playing basketball. My children might use other terms to describe my methods of encouragement.They’re grown now, successful women and mothers.


When I think back to when they were kids, I hope I didn’t put too much pressure on them to be basketball players. I mean, just because basketball is my whole life, they shouldn’t have felt obliged to play. After all, it didn’t cost that much to pave the yard and put in the full court with two glass backboards and three-point lines.

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Ten Lessons


Spring arrives. Basketball season ends. Things change and people move on. Coaches move on to other sports, athletes change uniforms, and fans follow their favorites into the next season of excitement.


But there will always be some of us who stay behind, refusing—no, unable—to move on. Some of us will stay behind in lonely, dim gymnasiums for one last shot, just one more hour or two. Some of us will stay forever. That’s because we sense somewhere deep inside us that being a basketball player is not just what we do—it is who we are. What we understand of ourselves we learned on the court. Not lessons in hook-steps and lay-ups, but lessons in life.

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