Lockdown Reviews: A Father First, How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball

During the COVID 19 Lockdown I read the biography A Father First, How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball by retired NBA star Dwyane Wade.  The book was published in 2012.  It tells the story of Dwyane’s life while focussing on his relationship with his boys.  He is the father of two sons and he also raised his nephew who needed a home.

For the most part I enjoyed A Father First.  The book is a bit slow moving in parts but it was interesting and touching at other times.  I am an NBA fan and I followed Dwyane’s career for year but I didn’t know much about him personally.  Dwyane lived with his three sisters, two of which were from his mother’s previous relationships, his mom and his dad.  He was the baby of the family.

Wade stated that his family was far from wealthy but when his parents were together his life had stability and the family had what they needed even thought their lives were modest.  His parents, Dwyane and Jolinda, divorced when Wade was a young boy.  His mother admitted that the split was due to her controlling ways.  Everything changed for Dwyane and his sisters after the break up.

Dwyane didn’t see his father often.  His two older sister went to live with friends or other relatives.  Dwyane and his younger sister remained with his mother who developed a serious drug habit.  She had abusive relationships with men after her divorce.  His mother’s boyfriends were involved with drug trafficking and Chicago PD raided his home.  Young Dwyane Wade often went hungry.  His childhood trials made him decide as a young boy that if he became a father that he would be devoted, responsible and loyal.

Dwyane’s grandmother was the matriarch of his large extended family.  Dwyane had a lot of respect for his grandmother and she was always available to offer help.  He and his sister didn’t always seek her help because they didn’t want anyone to know about their mother’s struggle.

Wade went to live with his father, stepmother and brothers when he was in upper elementary school and his life improved.  His sister who he was closest with was not taken in by the dad.  His father and stepmother had another baby, a girl.  While living with his dad sports became a big part of Dwyane’s life.  His dad was his first coach and his brothers were his competitors.

He had a growth spurt in high school and it got the attention of coaches and recruiters.  Dwyane later went to Marquette University.  While he was a student he married his high school sweetheart and became a first time father.  He and his wife had a rocky marriage and later a terribly dramatic divorce after being drafted into the NBA by the Miami Heat and having another baby.

Jolinda had a religious epiphany while she was a fugitive of the law.  She turned herself in to serve her time.  While she was in prison she became free of her drug habit and studied her Bible.  She started a storefront church once she was a free woman and her son later bought her a church with his NBA fortune.  The other details of the book were about his college and NBA career.  I skimmed through those pages because neither were very interesting to me.

I would recommend the book if you’re an NBA fan.  The book can be a bit dry but it kind of mirrors Dwyane’s personality.  He’s never come across as very dramatic or talkative.  Jolinda’s story is inspiring even though I resented her for the way her children suffered due to her shortcoming.  Dwyane’s decision to be a committed family man at a young age is also inspirational.  It’s a good read if you have the time.

Lockdown Reviews: Showboat The Life of Kobe Bryant

Like much of the United States and possibly the world I am on lockdown because of COVID – 19.  I have two jobs and both have shut down for the last five weeks due to government orders to prevent the spread of the plague.  This has given me a lot of time to catch up on reading.  I checked out the biography Showboat:  The Life of Kobe Bryant shortly after the NBA star died and I didn’t get around to beginning the book until the quarantine in March.

I am an NBA fan but Kobe was never my guy.  He didn’t play for my team which is the Detroit Pistons.  I have chanted BEAT LA in my living room many, many times.  Most of that energy was directed towards Kobe.  When Kobe died on January 26 I was shocked and saddened.  Even though I’ve never been a Kobe fan I respect his success and I appreciate what he did for the game for twenty years.

This biography is very well written, well researched and detail oriented.  This book is essentially an NBA history that focused on the late 90s to the mid 2010s.  There are accounts of injuries, trades, games and series.  The book is a little less than six hundred pages so it is a long and at times dry read.

I enjoy NBA but the minutiae of this book was a bit much for me.  I was disappointed that the author only devoted a paragraph or two to the 2004 Laker loss to the Detroit Pistons.  I was looking forward to reliving that in print but the author glossed over that glorious event.  But overall I enjoyed the book because it cleared up some of the folklore surrounding Kobe’s relationship with Vanessa, his mother and father and Shaquille O’Neal.  And yes, the rape trial was discussed.

This book reinforced all of my previous notions about Kobe Bryant.  He was an aloof man and fierce competitor.  Kobe Bryant was not a nice guy.  He didn’t really get along with anyone once he became a star.  But that wasn’t important to him.  Winning was.  He was meticulous in everything he did and was a diligent worker.  Kobe had no patience for people around him that didn’t live up to his standards and people were easily discarded.

Kobe also didn’t like to share the spotlight with others.  He didn’t want to share the spotlight with Shaquille O’Neal or Phil Jackson.  LA wasn’t big enough for all of them.  He never wanted it to be said that he needed them in order to be successful.  Kobe was a lot like a 1980s night time soap opera villain that was motivated by a single goal and he didn’t let anything get in his way.  Even though Kobe wasn’t warm and fuzzy I did like him more after reading this book.  I respect the man’s drive and passion.

I also disliked him more after reading this book.  By all accounts Kobe was a prick and so is his wife.  He stabbed Shaquille O’Neal in the back more than once.  He threw his coach Phil Jackson under the bus.  He turned his back on his parents and siblings and cut them off financially before marrying his wife Vanessa and buying a beautiful new home for her mother who was in financial straits before her daughter married the NBA star.  No one really seemed to get along with Kobe.  As an NBA fan I kind of already knew that.

I did learn some new details about Kobe’s life but there wasn’t a lot of new information for me in this book.  It’s fun to relive some of the NBA history that was written about in this book.  I enjoyed the dirt that the book shared on Kobe’s personal entanglements.  The author did a good job of giving us a backstage look at NBA life.  I would recommend the book if you’re an NBA fan.  You will enjoy it and it might make up for the NBA Playoffs being postponed.

 

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s the most – wonderful time of the yeeeeeaaaarrr……  Just kidding it’s not that great but it is pretty exciting.  Ladies and gentleman it’s time for the 2019 NBA Playoffs, starring my hometown team and favorite sports franchise ever the Detroit Pistons!

I’m pretty excited that the Pistons made it to the Playoffs this year.  I’ve been checking their standings for  the last month or so hopeful that they would get to the post season.  I rarely watch NBA anymore because I don’t have time most evenings and the NBA only broadcasts about eight teams repeatedly.  My Pistons are not one of those teams.  So I’m thrilled to get to take in some basketball that I actually care about.

In the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs my Pistons are playing the #1 Milwaukee Bucks.  Under different circumstances I would be cheering for the Bucks.  I don’t recall them having a lot of success over the years and I like to support small market Midwestern teams.  If I was a betting woman I would always bet on the long shot and the sleeper teams.  But the Bucks are playing my Pistons so I of course want them to lose so my boys can make it to the next round.

detroit pistons

The Golden State Warriors are playing the LA Clippers in the first round in the Western Conference.  I would love to see the Warriors lose.  They are a great team, Steph Curry is a good, Christan family man.  I really do like them but I’m sick of them.  I don’t like dynasty teams of any kind.  And national NBA broadcasts are pretty much the Steph Curry Show.

Playoff Bracket

I hope the Rockets win their first round so they can defeat the Warriors in the second round.  Realistically the Warriors will probably get to the second round.  If they get to the Finals again this could turn into another snooze fest just like the Superbowl LIII.  We get sick of watching the same teams every year.  I mean I would watch because Golden State vs. anyone in the East could be a compelling match up.

There are some exciting teams in the East.  Toronto and Philadelphia have been fighting to become dominant.  Indiana has been pretty solid and respectable the last few years.  And it will be interesting to see what Orlando and the Nets can accomplish in the Playoffs.  I hadn’t thought of the Orlando Magic in years.

My adopted team is the Oklahoma City Thunder.  I can see some of their games locally on cable.  Love the one you’re with right!  I also think that Russell Westbrook is fantastic.  He is a heck of a player and he seems to be a great family man.  Some say that he has an attitude but I think that he’s assertive and has leadership skills.  He also doesn’t tolerate people disrespecting him or treating him in a condescending way.  You see, the way American society is set up that will get a Black man labeled as having an attitude.  I would love to see the Thunder do well.

In order for the Thunder to do well they will have to get past the Trailblazers.  I’m a 90s NBA fan so the Trailblazers bring back fond fantastic NBA action.  The Blazers were always in the 90s pro basketball mix.  The current star of the team is Damian Lillard who seems like a quality human being.  But I’m still hoping OKC takes them out.

Anyway, best luck to all the teams in the 2019 Playoffs especially the Detroit Pistons that kind of need it.  There’s nothing in the world like a good basketball game.  I’m look forward to getting enthralled in the matches and sad once it’s all over.

 

 

#TeamTristan

Tristan Thompson is back at it!  He’s making headlines again.  It’s not for playing basketball.  The Cavaliers are 13 – 46 and in the fourteenth place out of fifteen teams in the east.  He’s back in the gossip news for cheating on his baby mama Khloe Kardashian with her sisters ex room mate Jordyn Woods.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m completely in favor of loyalty, fidelity and long lasting, loving relationships between men and women.  But this isn’t that.  There is no evidence that this is a respectful relationship at all.  It all just looks like a big confusing mess from the beginning.

The internet says that Khloe began seeing Tristan while his other baby mama was pregnant with his other child.  Shortly thereafter Khloe got pregnant with her daughter.  The internet says he cheated during Khloe’s pregnancy as well.  After their daughter True was born there was some Kris Jenner manufactured drama on social media.  Tristan was the villain, Khloe was the victim and the bystanders discussed what Khloe should do next.

Just like in old soap operas Khloe did exactly what she shouldn’t do.  She pursued a romantic future and family life with a notorious philanderer.  I don’t know what Khloe expected from this.  I’m certainly not surprised that Tristan cheated on her.

I haven’t heard any declarations of love from Tristan to Khloe.  I haven’t heard of an engagement between the two.  Nor have I heard about an elopement.  Tristan Thompson is a single, successful man that can do as he pleases.  He’s nobody’s husband.

You see this is what happens when boundaries and lines are blurred.  You get confusion and hurt feelings.  People get taken advantage of in gray, undefined areas.  Gray undefined terms and conditions are like smoke bombs that are intended to cause confusion and make it harder to see clearly.  It’s kind of like when the Joker throws smoke bombs in “Batman”.

Romantic partners that aren’t your spouse don’t owe you anything.  Hopefully they care about you enough to protect your feelings but you are taking your chances.  You aren’t entitled to loyalty and devotion from a person to whom you have not married.  You also don’t owe it to anyone.  Tristan doesn’t owe any of his baby mamas a thing.  If they really wanted Tristan for the long haul they would require marriage.  If he was not interested in that type of a commitment they would know that they are barking up the wrong tree and they need to pursue other relationships.

These vaguely defined relationships aren’t doing anyone any favors.  Men and women seem to be unhappy with each other and both sides get used and taken advantage of.  Women get taken advantage of for sex and other favors.  Men get taken advantage of for financial reasons or are pressured to marry because of the child they probably didn’t want.

There are no real winners.  There is a purpose behind marriage and we should honor it.  If you choose to take the new aged approach to relationships you will probably end up suffering in some regard whether you are a man or woman.  Don’t expect old fashioned results with new aged behavior.

Kylie & Jordan

Derrick Rose’s Problems

I like Derrick Rose.  Not as much as I like Lebron.  I don’t have a crush on him at all.  And I’m not even a Chicago Bulls or New York Knicks fan.  I just like Derrick Rose.  He seems like a super cool guy to me.  He’s the type of cool that only a Black man can be.  That type of cool is often replicated but never quite duplicated.  He seems like the type of guy your cousin would bring to a family cook out and everyone instantly liked him.  If she stopped bringing him around everyone would ask “Whatever happened to your guy that you brought to the cook out?” for years to come.

He’s a Chicago neighborhood that grew up on the rough side of town and became the pride of the old neighborhood.  Derrick Rose always seemed natural and down to Earth to me.  He was just a simple Chicago boy turned basketball star; no more or less.

Derrick’s career seemed promising at the start but he suffered injury after injury.  Some of the injuries caused him to sit out entire or part of more than one season.  Poor Derrick Rose couldn’t get a break.  There was a time when I thought Rose my be the unluckiest man on the planet.  I felt bad for him and I wanted to see him come back and play well.

Rose was recently traded to the New York Knicks and I thought his career may have a chance to rebound.  But rape accusations from a former lover made him headline news for something other than his performance as an athlete.  I am terribly disappointed in Rose.

There is no real way for him to ever recover from this incident.  The parts of the story that are agreed upon by both parties make Derrick Rose look like complete garbage.  He claims that he thought he had consent to have sex with the woman because she sent him a text message.  I don’t remember what the text said but it did not say come over here and have sex with me.  It was something to the affect of “Sure, come by for a visit”.  And somehow Rose took that to mean that sex was a sure thing.  My advice for all men is to get verbal, objective confirmation of consent before having sex with a woman.

Rose and the woman accusing him of rape were not the only people involved in this sordid tale.  Two of Rose’s friends were in on the act too.  So superstar Rose and two of his flunkies went to this woman’s house with the intentions of all three of them having sex with her.  I didn’t think that was real.  Who does that xxxx?  Evidently Derrick Rose and his flunkies do.

Where’s the romance, intimacy, friendship, flirtation or sex appeal?  That is just trash!  One would think that Derrick Rose would have enough romantic offers that he wouldn’t need to share women.  His buddies may not get the attention that Derrick does but surely they could develop enough of a personality so they would have to split a bit of sex three ways.  Come on guys have some standards.  Where is your pride?

Derrick won his court case and he doesn’t have to pay his accuser the boat load of money she was demanding.  But his character and career are tarnished in my eyes.  When it comes to situations like this I figure you may not exactly be guilty of what you’re being accused of but you probably did something you had no business doing.

I will never see Rose as the super cool guy from Chicago who’s talent and dedication to his sport earned him fame and fortune.  From now on I will see him as a sexual deviant that despite being a grown man does not understand what it is to get consent from a woman for sex.  Now he’s just blechkk!  This latest trial of Derrick Rose makes me wonder if foolishness is the cause of his problems.  You blew it Derrick.

 

 

 

The Reason I’m a Sports Fan – Shannon in Kansas City

It’s time for the NFL Playoffs.  My favorite team, the Detroit Lions didn’t make the Playoffs and my second favorite team the Kansas City Chiefs lost in the second round which ended their season.  Watching sports on TV or in person has become one of my favorite past times.

Sporting events are one of only a few examples of wholesome programming on TV.  Almost everything on television these days is a vapid reality show, a show about murder or something that I consider to be demonic.  I enjoy a few of the Real Housewife shows but all of the subsequent casts have saturated the airwaves with manufactured images of selfish, mean and sometimes violent women.

There are dozens upon dozens of TV shows about murder.  “CSI”, “Forensic Files”, “Snapped”, “The First 48” are all compelling series but geez Louise don’t people get tired of stories about people killing other people.  I sure do.  And all of these shows use graphic and explicit images.  I get it.  He got his throat cut.  I don’t need the bloody visual thank you very much.

Almost everything else on TV is somehow demonic and dark sided in nature.  I don’t have much interest in zombies, vampires or people that communicate with the dead.  At least I’m not interested enough to watch a weekly series about these subjects.

So much of American television programming is devoted to the occult, violence and reality TV that glorifies people for behaving in a way that would never be accepted in day to day life.  It’s great to see a celebration of youth, strength, fitness and hard work.  That’s what sports competitions are to me.

In a largely sedentary country with an obesity problem it’s great to see physically fit people using their bodies to reach accomplishments and earn a living.  Seeing athletes on TV inspires me to get off the couch and move around.  And they all look great.  I have to say that some professional athletes are made of stardust.  Stardust is the active ingredient in all of our dreams.

I think that athletes are so glamorous.  They are young, rich and have the world by the tail.  I love it and I wish it was me.  I know that they are only human and they have personal struggles like we all do.  In fact, when you follow the careers of athletes you know that a pro career is full of struggle.  But I don’t know any of these guys personally and I only know what I see on TV and in the stadiums.  And it is absolutely lovely and inspiring.

Professional athletes are great role models for children and all the rest of us.  They are young, prosperous, athletic and in the prime of their lives.  Many of them came from disadvantaged backgrounds and now they appear before crowds of thousands and millions on TV.  The real stars are attractive, articulate and have a lot of personality.  I sure want to be like that.  I’m constantly working on it.

I’m glad for the NFL, NBA and MLB.  There would be very little worthwhile to watch on TV without it.  And they give us young stars to admire that will one day be legends that we remember with fondness and pride.  In a world filled with divisions the camaraderie amongst fans transcends race and economic background.  It is a thrill to watch a man fight for his pride and childhood dreams.  There is nothing else like it.  I love it!

#ChiefsKingdom #OnePride