Saturday, June 21, 2008

Playing ball with a former pro

Last night, I had a chance to play basketball with a retired, former pro player. He was not a superstar, but he was a decent, occassional All-Star here.

He owns and runs a restaurant nearby my work, and we often make a visit to his place. It's strange to see him serving customers, cleaning up tables, taking care of tills, and all sorts of things to run a restaurant while everyone remembers him as a basketball player.

Last week, I and my basketball buddies from work went there and had dinner along with lots and lots of drinks. We asked if he would be interested in joining us and teach us some drills next time around. He said why not and he would help us find a court if we didn't already have one. I don't know if he was just doing so to make his customers happy, but he seemed very genuine.

So last night, he came to our court, and the guys we play against every week had surprise looks on all their faces.

He played about 2~3 quarters out of 2 games, and while he was not the best player in the game (he was just there to teach us, not to win a game for himself.) it looked like he didn't try hard at all. He probably didn't want to embarass anybody or himself (if he gets punked by some amateurs..) He seemed tired because of his age (he's in late 30's and it's been a while he played..) but he was able to push the ball (and made us push the ball) everytime we got the possession, and it tired down the other team (and us, too.)

What was my impression on him or pro ballers in general?

They probably aren't the flashiest players or most gifted natural athletes, but their fundamentals can't be compared to us amateurs. The biggest difference between them and any super amateurs? Defense.

If they try to stop someone, they will do whatever it takes to stop the other guy. Of course, he didn't play any defense at all when he played with us.

Anyways, it'll be fun and interesting if he comes out to teach us regularly.
And I wonder what it's like to play with Steve Nash, too. He'll make us all greyhounds.

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