You live a very interesting life being an athlete, and that’s an understatement. You face many different tasks, new endeavors, and all types of adversity. Yes I’m an athlete, yes my life is different from the average person’s but at the end of the day I’m just a person no different from the rest. I face the same issues any other person faces. I’m 26 years old but I’m still learning, I’m still growing and I’m still evolving into the person I want to be, and the person I’m meant to be. I have my off days, I have my bad days, and there’s been times where I haven’t seen purpose in the things I was doing on the basketball court and in life in general. I’ve lied, I’ve made mistakes, I’ve made money and went broke that same year. I’ve hurt people, I’ve failed to fulfill promises, I’m nowhere close to perfect, I’m just a man.
With me being just a man first, and an athlete second, I don’t understand a lot of the views from people “in positions of power” in our country. Never should a man have to pacify or keep quiet in regards to things that directly affect them if they have the platform to bring light to the situation in a peaceful manner. Too many times, people turn the other cheek or look the other way when things don’t affect them directly. There’s too many things going wrong in our country to just look the other way now, and being an athlete just gives these individuals a greater reach to millions of people. We may be athletes but we still face injustices, we still work to beat a system that wasn’t designed to benefit us, and when I say us, I mean anyone that’s a minority in this country. We have family and friends in these communities, and it seems like in 2017, we see the same news stories and headlines on tv every single day. It has to change, and it won’t change unless people are honest with themselves about what’s taking place in our country, and really try to fix the wrongs and change it for the better. It’s weird that in the year 2017, a time when you would think we would move further and further away from racism, it becomes a bigger issue day by day. We have “a leader” who isn’t really a leader, and someone who allows hatred to flow into the streets of our country, but condemns people that are actually trying to be a positive difference and create change for the better. I just don’t understand it. I just don’t understand how people can feel that all the things “our leader” does are acceptable and ok. He doesn’t fit the mold of somebody who should be responsible for a country, not the United States of America. I’m the son of a military veteran, the nephew of a military veteran, and the nephew of a great soldier that never made it home from Operation Desert Storm to see his family again. So you can’t tell me the peaceful methods that some athletes are using to bring light to this situation, and the initial stance of Colin Kaepernick are unpatriotic and disrespectful to veterans. The reason veterans do what they do for our country is so we as citizens can have the rights that we do. I just feel that people should stop trying to make the problem out to be something else, and focus in on the real issues in our country.
Relative to our culture, it’s when celebrities who comfortably are living their lives but have a product to distribute so they need a narrative. And since yall care so much about their lives and cheating, they create the dysfunction that your life revolves around and magically they’re the trending topic of the week. Not the product. THEY are the trending topic of the week. So for my narrative I’ll use T.I. and Tiny. When it was time for their final season of their reality show, “Family Hustle”, magically it was at the genesis of serious cheating and divorce rumors. A full season of nonchalantness by Tip, pain and newfound “INDEPENDENT WOMAN” rhetoric by Tiny, separate houses, mistresses (The Bad IG model & the “old friend” of Tiny’s), and also regret by Tiny with leaving and wanting “her man” back while he was out here moving on with his life. They put all the bullshit in the gumbo and yall ate it up! Add in Floyd Mayweather, the most hated and arrogantly and loved athlete in the world and you had a perfect script. Yall argued about the cheating daily like it was your relationship even though we know Tip and Tiny do what they do. The campaign worked. It got yall worked up with every week of broadcast and when the season was over, they disappeared. No more random headlines. No more Tiny arguing in comments on IG with women. No more clips of Tip “Disrespecting or downplaying” his relationship. Poof. Gone.
“A pawn’s only purpose is completely suicidal” – Pusha T
Enter Kevin Hart and his admitting to cheating over the weekend. I don’t know if this is marketing, but what it shows is that we as people have an addiction to dysfunction and other people’s mistakes. As long as people are happy we can’t stand it. Beyonce and Jay-z used to be knocked for “Acting like they perfect”. Until “The Elevator Incident” and subsequent albums “Lemonade” and “4:44”, they had an audience that had a deaf ear to them because they didn’t seem to have scandal and betrayal in their marriage. Kevin Hart spoke so boastfully about his wife and why he would never cheat that people are now RELENTLESS with their “I told you so” and “You ain’t s***” and “You lose them how you got them” comments to him and his VERY PREGNANT wife. Yall don’t care about these people and their pain. Yall don’t know these people and the arrangements or betrayal in their marriage. But what I do know is, whether Kevin Hart cheated or not, whether his wife is going to stay or go, he put out that video because his BRAND was being jeopardized.
Let me tell you about this thing called marketing!!!!
I’ve been on a lot of ups and downs up to this point in my career, and life has been easy at times and hard as well. I’ve had to make many adjustments and overcome many obstacles, but no matter the task I’ve always tried to find a way. Been playing this game 20 plus years and the same game that’s brought me some of my happiest moments has brought me some of my most heartbreaking as well.
Le Mans, France is the temporary location for the next 9 months, and out of all the places I’ve been, this is probably the most comfortable I’ve been since I started playing professionally overseas. The city is beautiful and a lot bigger than I initially expected. The people are nice, I have cool teammates that I get along with, a great coaching staff, and the team is really professional and they take good care of us here. It’s just an overall great situation, that I feel will help catapult me to where I want to be next season.
People always have these preconceived notions that, if you play basketball overseas, you make a lot of money, it’s great and you get to enjoy yourself, and that’s not always the case. The money thing depends on what league (country) you play in, what team you play for, and the resume you’ve built up over the years. There’s a bunch of different factors that tie into whether you can have a happy successful year or one that seems like a long, drawn out nightmare. You spend the majority of the year away from your friends, family, and everything you know. And until you actually come over here for an extended period of time you wouldn’t really understand. Being overseas, you’re out of your comfort zone. There’s a 7 hour time difference here and more than half my day, I can’t communicate with anyone in the states, cause you all are sleeping part of the time I’m awake. The language barrier, is something you have to learn to overcome, and doing something as simple as ordering a cheeseburger with no onions, can become quite the task when the cashier or waitress doesn’t speak English. You tend to play a little game of, “I’m going to keep repeating this in my language and pray that somehow you understand me”. If you’re in a situation where you’re unhappy on the court, that can make the time go by slower, and make it an unenjoyable experience as well. Sometimes you get on teams where, the coach felt a certain type of way before you arrived or during a part of the season, but he doesn’t like you as a player anymore, and he could give you less playing time, and not include you in the offense, or sometimes guys simply get cut. It can be a really cut throat business, but I’ve been blessed enough to not have to worry about that while overseas, although I’ve been cut from 4 different NBA teams.
We played our final preseason game last night. This preseason has been pretty interesting for me, because in the past I’ve went to training camp with NBA teams so I usually miss preseason overseas. I’ve learned a little about myself in the past month, because it hasn’t been pretty and I’ve grown frustrated with myself. Two things I truly hate, are to play bad when I know the level I know I’m capable of playing at, and when I struggle shooting the ball. Both bother me because I’m probably my worst critic, and I know all the work I’ve put in over the years, so sometimes I overthink the situation instead of just trusting the work I’ve put in. Generally, I put extra pressure on myself because I always want to play at my best, but I was forgetting that some of the things that were going wrong were just adjustments of being on a new team. Learning a new offense, learning how my teammates play, adjusting to how we defend and different rotations, and just figuring out spots that I can be affective on the game, offensively and defensively. I struggled earlier on but as preseason went on, I progressively got better and finished pretty strong. I just have to always stay focused and trust in myself and the process, it’s a long season and I have to overcome any obstacle that may come.
I’m really excited about this year, I feel that we have a great team, and I feel like it’s going to be a huge year for me. Plus, this will be the first year that my kids will come over and spend some time with me. It’s hard always having to see them through an iPad screen for months at a time, or not being able to hug or kiss them. I’ve missed so much time, and I’ve missed birthdays, and key moments in their life because I had to be away playing basketball. I hope and I pray that when they get older, they understand and appreciate the reasons that I had to be away when I was, and despite me missing moments of their childhood, they know that I love and care for them more than anything on this earth, and a part of me being over here, is for them and their future.