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The Open Run | You Against The World

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Riding the subway in Toronto not long ago, a young Asian kid offered to buy the shoes off of my feet.

Mind you, these were not your average everyday kicks!

These were limited edition (1 of 400 in the world at the time) 35th Anniversary Adidas Superstars or “shelltoes” to the uninitiated.

“I will take you to FootLocker, buy you ANY shoes in there you want, plus give you $500 for the joints you are rockin’ now!”

Sounds like a sweet deal, right? Almost too good to pass up… but, I did…

“Thanks!”

“Why”, you ask?

This particular sneaker also held significant value to me.

One of my very best friends in the world, and I don’t have many, collaborated with Adolph Dassler’s company to help design them.

Bobbito Garcia’s friendship, love and effort to be bought off for $500 and a pair of Air Jordan-somethings?

Miguel, if you would, please and thank you?

I doubt it!  Not my thing.

The friendship/relationship, to me, is priceless.

I helped this same very good friend put together what I consider (Read: BIASED!!!) the most comprehensive, important and influential sneaker book ever written called Where’d You Get Those? New York City Sneaker Culture: 1960-1987.

This book discussed what it was like to hunt, collect and sport exclusive kicks before it became a globally commodified and commercially viable phenomenon.

Trail Blazin’… Never Path Findin’!

Our story as friends began almost thirty years ago when a younger Bobbito Garcia was the College Radio Rep at the legendary Def Jam Records in Nueva York and I was a student-ath-o-lete (word to Eric Cartman /DJ and host of my seminal rap radio show at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

Requisite communication between us was generally rooted in what records were his priorities for charting any particular week and seeing if I liked any of them enough to report my playlist to the industry trade magazines.

Cordial.

Professional.

Clinical.

And then I saw it!

Spying that article in The Source Magazine about someone who loved similar music, hooping and coveted rare kicks like I did in a world where I felt alone was epiphanous.

If Man was meant to have three soulmates in Life, then mine might be sneakers, basketball and Bobbito Garcia.

Don’t get outta bounds!

My love for Kool Bob Love has nothing to do with my orientation nor should it matter.

I neither feel nor exhibit any hesitance or apprehension in telling a grown ass man that I love him.

Neither does he.

The love is rooted in respect and mutual admiration.

The NBA’s Conference Finals finally began.

The Last Four Standing… Barely.

Roughly twenty-eight minutes into the Western Conference Final Game One between the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors, did a grown man named Zaza destroy any possibility of a potential all time classic, instead likely turning the series into a mere road bump en route to the NBA Finals?

The greatest drama and intrigue in the series, where the Warriors lead 2-0 heading deep into the heart of Texas, is Gregg Popovich’s ire over his best player’s injury at the feet of Zaza Pachulia, his convenient amnesia regarding the Master of the Questionable Defensive Closeout, former Spur Bruce Bowen, and the Warriors’ ailing bench boss Steve Kerr traveling with the team.

Kerr knows what lay ahead if Kawhi is questionable for Game Three.

Shutting the door on San Antonio in four straight, while unseemly, may be in sight, especially if Leonard doesn’t play and another high visibility star shrinks under the glare.

Out east, all kinds of hand wringing about Rest vs. Rust with the Cleveland Cavaliers seems to be unfounded at the moment, as The King and his court cruised to a relatively easy road Game One victory over the emotionally drained Boston Celtics.

The Cavs, much like the Warriors, are basically doing whatever they want and if the Celts don’t make the necessary adjustments and go down 0-2 on their own floor, they most certainly will be reminded that Cleveland is not Chicago, Rajon Rondo injury or not.

Though anything can happen in either of these conferences final matchups, #TackleBoxSeason for two teams is imminent.

The All-NBA Teams were announced and congratulations should go to Houston Rockets James Harden who was the lone unanimous pick on the first team.

Kawhi Leonard and New Orleans Pelican Anthony Davis got first team love, but perhaps a bit of pettiness is likely to have been on the menu during the selection process.

Regular season MVP favorites Russell Westbrook and perennial MVP candidate LeBron James received 99 of 100 potential first team votes.

Not necessarily implausible, but…

The sickest guy in the Association might be Paul George.

Not sick as in his game is great. It is, but… here, the meaning of sick could be literally as he didn’t make the All-NBA Top 15 cut.

While the exclusion doesn’t diminish PG-13 as a player, it might do so for his bank account… slightly.

Had George been selected for one of the three All-NBA teams, the Pacers’ star forward would have been eligible for the designated player exception supermax contract, afforded an extra year and $75 million more from the team for a contract package of five years and about $210 million.

$75 million is no small change lost in the cushions, but what’s the REAL difference once you start making video game math that requires several accountants to handle it?

Speaking of young men with visions of Balmain and Murcialagos dancing in their heads, the NBA Draft Lottery made a couple teams’ futures almost immediately brighter, including the Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, who are not only the number one seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but earned the right to choose first in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Boston’s front office guru Danny Ainge should send a fruit basket to former Brooklyn Nets GM Billy King for the old Dukie’s deft ability to rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic with his short term thinking, trading away all of those future picks.

Thanks, Billy!

The rest of my hoops diet this week was filled out with the obligatory clickbait columns where LeBron is named the best at something and #EmbraceDebate lame hot take sessions where assclowny pundits spew wanton venom and explicate their empty calorie theories into the atmosphere.

Looking forward to what I hope are slightly more compelling conference finals games before the long anticipated and third consecutive clash between the Golden State Warriors and the reigning, defending champeen Cleveland Cavaliers.

No teams in NBA history have ever met thrice in the NBA Finals.

Strong brotherhood, collective toughness and an “Us Against The World” mentality will be necessary to overcome a fearsome foe in pursuit of achieving a daunting and rewarding task.

History may be in the making and all signs seem to point to it.

Champs Sports

It is in that spirit of unity and foresight that I am proud to introduce another collab.

It gives me great joy to announce #TheOpenRun and PressBasketball.com as Official Media Supporters at the launch of Full Court 21 Canada for 2017 this week, with the national touring tournament starting July 8 in Vancouver and ending August 5 in Edmonton.

As Full Court 21 enters its third year in Canada while celebrating the country’s sesquicentennial, a new “SuperTeam” is formed with the addition of my crew at Press to the already devastating duo of Kool Bob Love and Wall $t.

It’s never cyclops; it’s never I, alone.

Steel Sharpens Steel.

Teamwork Makes The Dream Work.

Until next we meet and I’m prepping to take all of your lunch money on a court near you during a game of H-O-R-S-E, you know the rest!

#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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Featured Article

Ride The Wave

Back in October the sky was the limit. LeBron had decided to move to LA and join the Lakers. Things were good then.

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Back in October the sky was the limit. LeBron had decided to move to LA and join the Lakers, drawing in a decent support team and a lot of talk that the West was looking incredibly dominant next to a “weaker” East. Things were good then.

Five months later and things couldn’t be farther from that idylistic picture. The East thrived without the King and GMs put together some of the most noteworthy teams in a while. And the Lakers? The Lakers currently sit in the 11th spot of the Western Conference with very little hope of making it to the playoffs. They’re a team that is constantly attacked for their lack of chemistry, skill, and effort. For the first time in a long time, LA became synonymous with “hopeless”.

This wasn’t the future we saw for the King.

On the heels of a night filled with one of his greatest achievements ever, the Lakers as a team walked away with a loss to the Denver Nuggets. A night that began on a high note went out on one that was equivalent to sour candy. Furthermore, a frustrated team left an arena, hopped on social media, and found a bevy of congrats for their star player, while enduring the storm that came with another Lakers loss.

It seems that James’ stardom has reached a tipping point, one that makes him a GM one moment, the King of the league the next, and finally the biggest point of contention within the locker room. The most notable thing is that it is clearly wearing him down. Chris Martin let us know that “nobody one said it was easy”, but you’ve got to ask yourself, does it have to be so hard?

The answer is unfortunately, yes. It’s always going to be this way, and there is no fighting the current, but there is beauty in riding the wave. Embracing that moment when the wave comes crashing down on you is important, because it’s always going to happen, but your attitude will always be remembered. LeBron rides high, and keeps things in the positive light for the media, but he’s got to realize that they are writing his story, and he doesn’t have to play into their’s. Ride the wave, and take the loss in stride with all the great that has come with it, but take the loss because your part of a team that is.

The wave has crashed down, but the current will bring another.

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Featured Content

Year 15 | A Mini Documentary

Year 15 of a legacy…

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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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