Last Friday morning I was in the gym, almost alone. Just me and this little kid, who couldn’t have been more than 7 years old. I admit, I was very focused on getting my makes in, but I could feel the young man watching me shoot one ball after the other.
Every now and then he would run over on my court and take a shot, which honestly if he wasn’t so young, would have prompted me to sternly suggest that he use one of the other 5 goals that weren’t being used.
But he didn’t really mean any harm and wasn’t doing it to intentionally disrupt me, so I let it be.
After 100 or so makes, I dropped my ball and went to get a drink of water. When I returned, the little guy had left his ball on the side of the court, grabbed mine (I use an NBA ball) and had begun shooting on the goal I was using.
At the same time a friend of mine that works at the facility had followed me back in from getting water and we began to talk.
After a few minutes, I told my buddy that I was chatting with that I had to get back at it. That is, if I could only get my ball back from this little dude.
I handed the young man his ball, he gave me mine, and back at it I went.
Except now I had the shortest rebounder in the world.
One shot after the other he’d grab the rebound and do his best to throw it back out to me.
After nine or ten makes in a row, he asked with a puzzled look, “How do you shoot like that?”
I told him, as I continued to shoot, “Just a lot of practice.”
I made a few more and then asked him if he wanted to have a shooting contest.
He was game.
I let him know that I’d shoot 3s and he could shoot whatever he wanted and the first one to make 25 would win.
And with that he began by taking a 7-8 footer.
After a few minutes, I had my 25 makes in and the game was over.
I asked him if he wanted a rematch and with a big smile he said, “YEAH!”
I got up 11 or 12-1 and then he went right next to the basket and started making lay-ups until we were tied at 17 all.
Up 22-17, I slowed my pace as he went back to the lay-ups.
He won 25-24
Immediately after his big win, I congratulated him on his excellent shooting and asked him if he was ready to go again.
He said, “I’m tired.”
I questioned, “TIRED?!?!”
I said, “Man we don’t get tired up in here, we get better!”
While he rested I continued to shoot and he rebounded.
Again, as I began to shoot another shot, with more emphasis, I asked, “TIRED!?!”
Just as the ball went through the net, I continued, “Naaah, we get better!”
Now I of course was just having a good time with the young guy, but at the same time wanted to make a point.
I told him, “You said you want to shoot like me, well this is what it takes!”
“You ready to go again!?!” I asked.
He picked up his ball and energetically said, “Yeah!”
As he walked out just past the free throw line, he turned to me and asked, “What about at night? Don’t you get tired then? What about sleep?”
As I was shooting another I said, “I don’t sleep man! I get better!”
His eyes got really big and he asked, “YOU DON’T SLEEP?!?!”
I continued shooting, “Naaahh, I GET BETTER!”
He said, “OK, I’m ready!”
I won the next two shooting contests, then played him 1-on-1.
After we were done, someone that worked at the place, not knowing of our conversations, asked him, “You tired little man?”
He said, “No I’m not tired, I get better.”
Hahaha! It was so classic!
After telling him great job, I went back to shooting and he went to the game room…or to rest.
Tuesday morning I realized that he still thought that I don’t sleep!
My bad :-)
One Hard Little Worker
Over the next couple of days up at they gym, the little guy would run into the gym and say to me, “You’re here again!”
I’d reply simply with, “Yeah, you ready for a rematch!”
While I’m getting my makes in, he would shoot hundreds of shots trying his best to beat me. Sometimes, somehow, he would do just that
Just yesterday, after he, a local high school baller and myself got done shooting, I asked him, “Are you tired yet??”
He shook his head and said, “I don’t get tired. I get better!”
Smiles took over our faces
Some Video of Our Shoot Off!
Note: I did end up telling him that I DO SLEEP, just a little bit.
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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