The folks here at Hardwood Features want to share what we are thankful for this Thanksgiving Thursday. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us to you and yours.
Keith Carl. My late uncle for being the first to help me put the ball through the hoop. Without his introduction to the game, nothing thereafter would be a possibility. He didn’t allow me to just put the ball through the net. I had to earn that first basket. I am forever thankful for that message that nothing is given and everything is earned.
Milton “Nell” Harris. The first person I played against who was so much better than me. As a kid, he dominated me every pick-up game. He was always the most athletic and the player to beat on the court. I’m thankful for that first win against him. I’m thankful for that game-winning bank-shot from the top of the key.
My middle school basketball coach (although I forget his name) for introducing me to the greatest player of all-time, Allen Iverson. Allen Iverson is the reason I love the game I do today. He is the one I model my game after on the court.
Coach Roebling, my high school basketball coach for believing in me when I doubted myself. For teaching me not only the X’s and O’s of the game but most importantly, that skill is just 10 percent of the game. The effort, work ethic, and mentality are the other 90 percent of the game. Skill only takes you so far. What you do with that skill is what puts you over the top.
Lastly and the most important for which I am thankful is for the game of basketball. I don’t think anyone appreciates and loves the game as much as I. Basketball is life and without it, I don’t know how I would’ve overcome most obstacles. Basketball is a game of adjustments. It is a game of discipline, a game reacting and a game of will. Just as is life. Basketball has taught me those principles and I am forever thankful.
The day before Thanksgiving I went on an excursion to the Art Institute of Chicago. While I sat with my friend and my brother in the member’s lounge, we spoke about the NBA with a deceptive entity. This entity divulged its true colors when it revealed itself to be a Warriors bandwagon fan. On this gracious day of Thanksgiving, we pay homage to the savior, Russell Westbrook. Last night Westbrook, along with the help of his new teammates, dominated the Warriors. The game was a blowout from the beginning as the Warriors went down early and were not able to get back into the game. To cap off a great night, Westbrook also stripped Durant and then got in his face, giving him a few choice words and igniting a small scuffle. I am thankful for Russell Westbrook. After the game, Westbrook said, “The only friend I have is the basketball.” Never change Westbrook, never change.
The Old Heads.
Basketball has greatly evolved in the last five seasons and more changes are on the way. Thank you to these active players who have modified their games and are still making a big impact in the NBA.
Although I graduated from DePaul University in Chicago, my first choice straight out of high school was always the University of Kansas. Not for academics but for athletics. Ever since I was sixteen, I wanted to walk the Lawrence campus, attend basketball games and charge the court at Allen Fieldhouse. I will always have a soft spot for the school I never attended.
That being said, my affinity for the school bleeds into my fandom when it comes to the NBA. I’m subjective and bias when it comes to Jayhawks being drafted in the NBA. I want them to do well; exceptionally well. Especially when it comes to Joel Embiid.
Sam Hinkie took the 7-footer out of Kansas with the third overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. He missed his entire first season due to medical reasons but showed glimpses of greatness in his limited 31-game second season that was cut short due to a knee injury. Trusting the process eventually got Sam Hinkie fired in Philadelphia.
I am thankful for Embiid’s health thus far this season. It has been a revelation to witness the future of 76ers basketball and NBA big men. After arguably signing the most complicated extension in NBA history, Embiid is rewarding all those who had faith in him, his potential, and the process. I’m thankful that he is now able to talk shit on social media and back it up on the hardwood.
-F. Javier Barrera
This year, I am grateful for the Jimmy Butler trade. Although Jimmy was a hard-working and fun player. The Bulls are now focused on the future. Lauri Markkanen has been really fun to watch and was just what the Bulls needed as a 3-point shooter and all-around scorer. Kris Dunn has also been playing well lately and is now fourth in the NBA in steals per game! Finally, I am grateful Zach Lavine is a Bull and is supposed to be returning soon. Overall, I’m grateful for basketball.