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The Open Run | My Daddy Tools

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“Consistency is boring.”

I was ear hustling a convo at the airport and heard this in response to a statement regarding LeBron James’ career statistical steadiness on the eve of what looks to be his seventh consecutive NBA Finals appearance.

Similar things had been uttered about Floyd Mayweather, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots… even the San Antonio Spurs over the past almost twenty years.

There must be something to being “boring”.

But, on a planet enraptured with the movements of a family with little to no appreciable skill outside of drama and multiple cosmetic surgical procedures or a man so grossly unqualified for the office he holds, it might stand to reason that the opening adage might not be necessarily true for some.

My Father once told me:

Be Consistent In This Life, Son!

Whether Consistently Good Or Consistently Bad, Be Consistent!

Whether or not I had taken his words to heart, deeds and actions can be subject to interpretation; I’m still writing chapters.

What can’t be disputed is the depth and breadth of the man’s imprint on the fabric of my Life.

When I was eleven, my father abused me mercilessly on the court.

He pushed, prodded and provoked the worst in me, exclaiming it to be a necessary evil not only for the wars I’d face through basketball, but also in Life.

It didn’t matter.

I hated him for it at the time and all I could see was getting better so he could never beat me again… in anything!

That Fall and Winter, I played alone everyday; working on skills I’d learned battling bigger, stronger, smarter and better players.

Yet all I could see was Him.

Risking frostbite, shoveling snow off outdoor courts to practice at night in mittens and gloves by the light emanating from the headlights of his car, I worked in silence.

Tears damn near frozen to my face, I had but one goal…

The next Spring, I was ready… or so I thought.

As we headed to the court, my nerves and my ego waged an epic battle.

Game 1: 12-7.

“Oh… Someone’s Been Working On Their Game?”

Fouls, pushing, shit talking… Worse than they had ever come from my LifeGiver.

I remained silent; vigilant.

Game 2: 12-4.

Game 3: 12-2

Game 4: 0-0

“My Back Hurts. Let Me Stretch A Bit.”

My Father left the court that day, never to play me in one-on-one again and only once stepping on a court with me once after that, to play H-O-R-S-E in Germany and talk to me about my travels in Europe during my university summers.

My Dear Ol’ Dad (Bless The Dead) would have celebrated another birthday recently.

Celebration was not something I witnessed the man do in any outwardly visible fashion.

Maybe it was a circumstance of a time long gone with the “Strong, Silent” type of man…

Perhaps it just wasn’t his thing.

I can’t very well ask him now.

Whatever the case, much of how I see the world was shaped in early, everlasting lessons from the man.

Recalling another recent conversation where I was an active participant, there was an interesting supposition posited by one of the parties in the chat.

“If Vincent Lamar Carter Possessed The Valentine And Testicular Fortitude Of Michael Jeffrey Jordan Or Kobe Bean Bryant, We Are Talking About An All-Time Great.”

Ok.

I said it.

Thinking about my interactions with Vince during his time in Toronto, this notion doesn’t seem all that far fetched to me.

As a now – 40 year old free agent who played well enough in Memphis to warrant more than a couple calls from a team on the cusp of some special things in need of a quality veteran leader who was a 39% 3PT shooter both in his time as a starter and key cog off the bench last season, I’ll throw something else out in the hoops atmosphere:


Bring Vince Carter Home, Toronto.

Yeah, the relationship ended acrimoniously amidst claims of Carter quitting on his team and duplicitous behavior, but somehow along the way the “crybaby” who many still decry for putting his university graduation before the franchise’s first-ever playoff Game 7 is also guilty of the following:

Masai Ujiri and the Raptors just lost their General Manager and lots of upheaval seems to be on the horizon for a squad that fell two games short of the NBA Finals in 2016.

In reshaping the roster to do more than compete at the top of the Eastern Conference, Vince’s free agent status is serendipitous with former GM Jeff Weltman departing for the Magic Kingdom and my desire to apply for the gig, even if only in this article.

Not only would I love to see Carter’s narrative end in a Raptor uniform, Prodigal Son returning to right the wrongs and close his Hall of Fame career in style and grace, but I would dive head first into my job as GM in this way:

2017-2018 Toronto Raptors, Coached By Jerry Stackhouse, Might Look Like This:

PG- Cory Joseph

SG- DeMar DeRozan

SF- Norman Powell

PF- Carmelo Anthony

C- Serge Ibaka

Bench:

Delon Wright

Vincent Lamar Carter

Anthony Leon Tucker, Jr.

CJ Miles

Jonas Valanciunas

Vince Carter is one of the NBA’s most unique athletes ever.

There may never another to have been voted the greatest dunker in the Association’s long existence, doing things like this:

And this:

But also sit in the Top 5 of all-time three-pointers made in the NBA, at least currently.

Coming full circle to help the Raptors achieve unprecedented heights in a highlight-filled career in front of a country of pro basketball fans that grew with him would be one hell of a swan song.

But… there is something else.

Bringing Vince back to Toronto would also give him a chance to redeem takin’ an L to one of his camp conveners in a game of Two Dribbles.

You guessed it.

His face told the tale that day after the game in a flick we took with one of the campers, my ManChild.

I got him 5-2 at the end of camp one day, not necessarily because I was better.

That would be patently false.

I was just ready for the moment.

My Daddy Tools.

Serendipitous.

I want My Dear Ol’ Dood (Bless The Dead) to know that I am thinking of him.

We had so much more to learn together, but not enough time…

So many opportunities to grow an even greater relationship…

I hope that somehow you can feel the impact of my efforts to help lead the family you were a huge part of starting.

I wish you could see the men and women your progeny have become and will be.

I wish you could enjoy seeing your grandchildren as evolving, unique and very special beings…

I wish you could be here to walk these steps together with my Queen Mother in the Autumn of her years…

My Love for you has been complicated at times, primarily by my youth and lack of understanding the world in which you lived…

My resentment no longer exists.

But know this:

My Love for you is also unyielding, unrelenting and undeniable.

These here are My Daddy Tools…

You are missed.

We’ll keep carrying the torch.

In Your Name,

–UNO

#DoWork

Will, the former Division-1 student athlete and professional b-baller internationally, is a longtime sports multimedia broadcast content creator & personality from that sleepy burg of New York City. His guest/co-hosting appearances and contributions to such networks as HBO, CNN, ESPN, NBA TV Canada, Sirius/XM, The Score/SportsNet, TSN and more will pale in comparison to what he does here at PressBasketball.com.

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Year 15 | A Mini Documentary

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What’s to come for the man on top, and what got him here?

It’s Year 15 of a man’s career, but it’s also Year 15 of a legacy…

Created by Tristan Laughton | Twitter: @Ctrice

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Editorial

Something Out of Nothing

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It’s March 2016, and I’m driving with Alan Shane Lewis to Montreal to meet with Marc Griffin and Phil Boileau. We’re meeting to speak about this exciting new idea I pitched to them. We were tired of spinning the wheels on our own individual internet shows, and I told them that it was time we stopped waiting for a network and became the network.

We spoke that weekend about creating a community of content creators that all loved ball and came together to make unique content with unique voices – voices we felt were never heard in the mainstream. This community was the base of Press and we’d continue to push forward from that spot. We spoke about some amazing show ideas, article ideas, social media plan. It was truly an exciting time, and still one of the best weekends of my life.

Two years later and that group is a lot smaller, and that idea is Press Basketball.

It caught fire at the beginning and we had people joining our bright shiny new plaything left, right, and center. It was exciting, but now I kind of realize that a lot of it was just that we were that “bright shiny new thing”.

We ended up with a lot of Press Basketball “members” but when I stepped back and looked at what was happening… it wasn’t what I’d imagined. The fire burned out. The idea was gone. We had just become another thing trying to stay alive, waiting for some deus ex machina to show up with money and make everything okay.

I’ve gone through most of my life making something out of nothing. It’s never easy, but when it happens it’s always worth it… ALWAYS. Press made me feel alive at a point. It was literally all I could think about, and while it still is on my mind, it doesn’t make me feel alive. This hurts more than I can ever explain.

Changes are coming my friends. We’re not laying down and dying, and if we do it’s not going to be like this.

The core of Press will be setting fire to a lot over the next few weeks and I personally can’t wait for this to start. From the ashes something new will rise (I watched a lot of XMEN growing up).

Stay tuned, because it’s not over.

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Lonzo Ball: The New Face of the Lakers

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Lonzo Ball is the new face of the Los Angeles Lakers franchise. The new savior. The Big Baller Brand is now here to stay and LaVar Ball’s family’s future is set. But is that enough?

Lonzo Ball is a great kid and athlete who knows his talent will take him to another level. The major question mark that remains is whether or not he will take the Lakers there as well. He has the platform and skillset to do so, but with that comes the added pressure from the city and league to basically become part of the next version of Kobe and Shaq. It’s too strainful for a young kid—a rookie—to achieve.  

Magic Johnson, the recently named President of Basketball of Operations for the Lakers, is taking an aggressive approach to get this team back into playoff contention his first year in. One of his first moves was sending D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets for Brook Lopez and the 27th overall pick. Brook Lopez is definitely an upgrade at center, but has a couple of years already under his belt.   

Lopez will provide a much needed veteran presence with a great IQ for the game at his position. The only downfall is that a couple of years under his belt doesn’t really transfer to great experience, but simply wasted miles on his body. He isn’t as quick as he used to be and doesn’t even rank in the top 10 centers in the league. In fact, Bleacher Report had him last season at exactly 15 out of the top 30 centers in the NBA. While he is has improved by adding the three-point range to his arsenal, there is no doubt that he is nearly past his prime, and although he can still contribute on a nightly basis, who knows how much and what effect it will have with Lonzo Ball running the point.  

Ball has great court vision that has been often compared to that of LeBron James. Combined with his passing skills, he is a true PG with tremendous upside in the backcourt. With that being said, he will only reach a certain extent. His full potential is years from being maximized and people are buying into it early on. In fact, the pressure for him to lift a sub .500 team to the playoffs for the first time in five years is daunting. 

These are Lonzo Ball’s stats during his rookie—and only—year at UCLA: 

  • 14.6 Points
  • 7.6 Assists
  • 6.0  Rebounds
  • 1.8 Steals
  • 0.8 Blocks
  • 55.1 FG%
  • 41.2 3P%

He did a tremendous job maintaining that statline and even added a triple-double in the NBA Summer League, earning him the Summer League MVP.  

Don’t get me wrong, Ball seems ready for the challenge and is definitely a one-of-a-kind talent mirroring that of Steve Nash and Jason Kidd, but he is not an All-Star or MVP—at least, not yet. These way-too-early predictions that he is the Lakers’ new savior are farfetched. He has yet to face the elite NBA offensive threats and superstars that have been at it for 10-plus years. Defensively speaking he will not be able to keep up. Not in his first year. He still needs NBA experience and a more rounded roster to be able to reach the playoffs.  

He is off to a good start, but being named NBA Summer League MVP doesn’t necessarily mean a spectacular season is coming as some think it does. Especially if you consider the previous Summer League MVP winners.

Year Nat. Player Pos. Team
2012 Damian Lillard (co-MVPs) PG Portland Trail Blazers
Josh Selby (co-MVPs) PG Memphis Grizzlies
2013 Jonas Valančiūnas C Toronto Raptors
2014 Glen Rice Jr. SG Washington Wizards
2015 Kyle Anderson SF San Antonio Spurs
2016 Tyus Jones PG Minnesota Timberwolves
2017 Lonzo Ball PG Los Angeles Lakers

With the exceptions of Damian Lillard in 2012 and Jonas Valanciunas in 2013, the past five Summer League MVP winners have gone on to produce very mediocre NBA careers. All I’m saying is, don’t read too much into NBA Summer League. It’s the pre-preseason that no one really watches or cares about.  

The NBA season is nearing—exactly a month away—and my somewhat harsh criticism of Lonzo Ball isn’t too cruel. I am just not ready to jump on the Ball bandwagon following LaVar’s prophecies of his son being the Lakers prodigal son. He won’t be. Again, at least not yet. He needs to earn his spot and the transition will surprise him his first year in. It will hit him hard, but, despite my concerns, eventually Lonzo Ball will become a future NBA All-Star and a daring NBA point guard.  

Not yet though, and until then all we can do is prepare for his official NBA debut. Until then, we can enjoy and bask in his newly released rap single paying tribute to his little brother LaMelo Ball.  

If the NBA doesn’t end up being his calling in life, at least he has a back up career in mind.

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