With my eyes focused down towards the hardwood floor, I placed one foot after the other inside my Jordan slides. As I began to close up my gym bag, I heard someone several feet away say, “Oh, he’s getting ready to leave. Maybe next time.”
I had just finished running some full court games with the older kids at the Orlando Hoops/Chandler Parsons basketball camp back in June.
Prior to the games, I had given my first speech (see below) on this journey that is mevsMJ.com to the group of +100 kids, coaches and players in attendance.
I was hungry. So hungry that my stomach was yelling at me the only way a stomach knows how.
Truth is I hadn’t eaten lunch that day due to a combination of being nervous and very excited about sharing my journey with the group of young ballers.
Because of that, I had planned on leaving the camp after speaking, so that I could get some much needed nutrition before my evening basketball workout session with the college players began.
But when I heard the voice, I looked up to find Orlando Hoops founder Irwin Hudson standing there with three or four of the younger kids that were attending the camp.
Irwin smiled and said, “They wanted to play you 1-on-1.”
They want to play me??
Honestly as I sat there, I didn’t feel like playing ball at all, but I knew exactly how those young people felt as they stood there looking at me.
I’ve asked numerous NBA players to play me 1-on-1 during my journey to play Michael Jordan and every single time they’ve always had some reason or excuse that keeps them from hooping with me.
Because of that, because I know how that feels, there wasn’t anything that was going to keep me from playing basketball with those young people that day.
If they wanted to play me, I was going to play!
Four becomes 20!
As I jumped back into my Jordans and walked out on the court to play the three or four, that three or four multiplied to a group of some 20 kids that were all lined up underneath the basketball goal for their chance to play me, the guy who wants to play MJ, 1-on-1.
With the other 80 camp participants lining the exterior of the court, I began playing one game after the other to three points until everyone that wanted to play had their shot at me.
I had a blast!
What’s In It For Me?
Too often in life I think we can all be guilty of evaluating situations and opportunities with the what’s in it for me mentality?
You know the, “If it’s good for me, I’ll do it,” kind of logic.
I’m sure NBA players don’t see any benefit in playing basketball with me and at the surface I totally understand that. I’m not a great basketball player.
At the surface there wasn’t any benefit for me to play those 20 or so young people either. They certainly weren’t going to help me get more prepared for MJ.
But beyond the initial layer, beyond just the basketball, was more for me than I ever could have expected.
To see the excitement on their faces as they walked out to play or to hear all the kids erupt as a group if someone scored on me absolutely blew me away.
Here I was, someone that never played more than a year of high school basketball, at an NBA player’s basketball camp and because of this journey a group of young people wanted to play me!
It was so humbling for me. After all, I’m just a guy who believes and is willing to work harder than most and because of that I have been rewarded with such fulfilling experiences like this one in June.
Now tell me impact can’t be made!
I’ll of course never know exactly what the kids got out hooping with me, but I know I received a lot that day.
A Better Me
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I’m a better version of me than I was when I began this site.
Prior to August of 2010, I don’t know if given a similar circumstance, if I would have played all of those kids. I might have very well done what has been done to me so many times and politely gotten out of it.
Because of the struggle, because of the rejection, and because of the triumph, I see things in such a much different way today.
I am thankful for every no, just as much as I’m thankful for every yes.
I am a better me because of them both.
On my desk, in my home office, in a frame, is a small grouping of words that leans against my printer just to the right of my computer.
Those words are “Sometimes on the way to the dream, you get lost and find a better one.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Thank you for reading this writer’s words. Thank you for believing in a guy with a dream. Your support fuels me and for that I am so thankful!
As you venture out to where life takes you, I hope that you too find a better you.
me vs. MJ…my journey to play Michael Jordan continues! It’s gonna happen! As always, thank you for following along.
My Speech at the Chandler Parsons Camp
Special thanks to Orlando Hoops and Chandler Parsons for believing in my journey!
If you’re new here, 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!
Anything Is Possible with Faith & Hard Work!
For more info on my journey to play Michael Jordan:
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