Austin Rivers gives ME a lesson in Return on Investment

by Kenny Eller on January 18, 2011

Austin Rivers

Austin Rivers

Friday night found me sitting on one of many long pine benches that make up a set of bleachers, shoulder to shoulder, about as close as you’d ever want to sit with anyone.  To my left, a client and former Duke grad, his two sons and nephew.   On the other side me was a friend I hadn’t seen in 17 years.  To the front of me a couple of co-workers.   Behind me and throughout the rest of the gymnasium was ENTHUSIASM in all caps!  It was great!

We were there, ESPN was there, and everyone else was there to see the showdown.  It didn’t disappoint.

Did I mention that Friday night I was at a high school basketball game?

I just so happen to live about 40 minutes from Winter Park High School.   Winter Park High School just so happens to have on its roster the number one ranked high school basketball player in the entire country.   That player is Austin Rivers, who just so happens to be the son of former NBA player and current Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

I’ve seen Austin play twice in the past two weeks and while I could write on and on about how he dropped 38 points against the number two team in the country, often against either the #3 or #49 ranked players in the country, and how it was done so inspiringly smooth and rich, I won’t.  I could do that, but that post will come later when I play Austin 1-on-1.   [OK, so I don’t have that game lined up just yet, but if you’re reading this Austin, wanna play? 😀]

This post isn’t about how great Rivers is and let me tell you, the Duke signee is special (see video of Friday’s game below).

This post is about how a normal Friday evening in a high school gymnasium can bring people together, strengthen relationships new and old and be filled with all the excitement and fun one would ever venture after, for the low price of $10.

Every holiday and event, every birthday and anniversary, has for so many become about the amount spent rather than the value gained.  Hand raised, I admit, I’m part of the hoopla.

Two weeks ago when I went to see Rivers play (just $5) and then again this past Friday, I was reminded that you can still have a lot of fun with friends without having to release dozens of hard earned dead presidents.

If you’re a hoops fan, I encourage you to check out the ESPNU’s player rankings and see if you have a future NBAer playing in a dimly lit gym near you.  Even if you don’t, go see your local high school team play.   Sit close to people you may or may not know, on seats that dream of padding, in a place filled with passion.  It will be a great reminder that return on investment has little to do with the amount invested.

What are your favorite things to do that are light on the wallet, but high on return?


Austin Rivers Going OFF for 9 in a row Friday Night against #2 St. Patricks! (Video)

Click play, sit back, watch and listen.  Outstanding performance (38 points)!  Amazing atmosphere!

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[If you are reading this via email or RSS, the video may not show up, so click here to watch the video.]


Connect:  Twitter (@KennyEller) and Facebook Fan Page.


If you’re new to the site, I set out in August 2010 to get a game of 1-on-1 vs. my childhood hero Michael Jordan.  This site is about that journey…through every valley, to every mountain top of triumph! 

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kellie Kowalski January 20, 2011 at 12:49 am

Last season my kid sister suddenly became interested in baseball, which was both weird and awesome. But it let me unload my 25 years of Angels fan on her, and a ticket to see a local minor league game is usually less than price as a movie. Plus, the 51s have a $1 beer night. Pure win.

Small investment, excellent return on bonding with the Munchkin.


Kenny Eller Kenny Eller January 20, 2011 at 6:35 am

That’s awesome Kellie! Great story! Thanks for sharing!

There is just a nice feeling at a minor league game. I went to see the Magic play last night, and just as it was a 2 point game with 2 minutes remaining, I look around and people are walking around, getting out of their seats to take phone calls, etc. Too many people who could care less about what happens, but are there because it is an event to go to. It ruins the atmosphere.

A couple of four point plays like last night though, and the atmosphere comes back from the people that do care. 😀 Without that though, kinda sad.


Donna Cumby January 30, 2011 at 9:44 pm

You totally need to play Austin Rivers! That reminds me of many a night on the bleachers watching high school basketball back in the day, and I think the passion is why I love college ball but can’t seem to get into the NBA…


Kenny Eller Kenny Eller January 31, 2011 at 8:20 am

Robert Brown, who I played right after thanksgiving, is friends with Austin, so you never know!

Yeah, the issue with the NBA is it is too corporate. It is an event, not a basketball game. Too many people there that know nothing about the game or the players. Anytime you take a group of people to something they really have no interest in, beyond the party aspect, passion won’t be found. It’s sad.


Kasper Medicis February 6, 2011 at 5:08 pm

The kid is a great ballhandler


Kenny Eller Kenny Eller February 6, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Yeah, Austin is a special player for sure!


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