As we head into another NBA All-Star I think back to 2009, ten years ago, my first NBA All-Star experience in Phoenix, Arizona. At the time I was teaching and coaching basketball in New York City, along with hustling on the side with my own basketball instruction program, some freelance video work and directing Nike basketball clinics whenever the opportunity presented itself. It was both a fun and exhaustive existence.
I had been trying to experience my first NBA all-star in the two years prior but due to my high school coaching schedule there was always a conflict and no reasonable way to ask for a schedule change, though I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t considered it.
The key to all-star weekend as many will attest to when you are a rookie, is the hook up. Thankfully my close friend to this day who was already entrenched in the sports industry had that covered. But it was the sense of the unknown that made it that much more exciting. Who would we meet? What parties could we talk our way into? Would the All-Star Saturday night deliver? I can recall the buzz upon arriving in town as escaping NYC in February for the desert was glorious.
Between the events, the familiar NBA faces and the sunshine it immediately felt like the ultimate basketball vacation. At this point in my life I had experienced some pretty cool things in regards to both meeting and working with athletes, then we found our way into the NBPA event and that all changed. Each way I turned I ran into either someone I knew from New York City basketball or someone I really wanted to talk to. Talking hoops, career journeys and aspirations, it was thrilling. Then it happened. Upon sipping a fresh beverage we run smack into Chris Webber and Gary Payton.
We starting chopping up 90s-early 2000s NBA with C-Webb and the Glove like we were doing our own podcast, how ironic. From sharing how much we loved the Kings style of play to the influence the Glove had on us they were dialed in, right there with us, two NBA legends sharing their passion with us and vice versa. Now I’ve never been big on asking for pictures or autographs, and this was during the time before quality cameras on phones, but after twenty minutes and another beverage we had bonded and the image speaks for itself. But it is more than the image, it is the staying power of the conversation, believing you belong in certain rooms, speaking it into existence and proving yourself right.
As we continue to build Pure Hoops Media many of us will share stories from our journeys. We aim for these stories, whether they are based on an event, a meeting or a magical moment, whatever it may be to serve as inspiration that we should all chase our passion whatever it may be. If you work hard enough at your craft and lucky enough, you can make a career out of it. Ten years ago I was trying to figure out how to really build that career, a decade later I’m living it, surrounding myself with like minded people, working together to create something unique around our passions for the game.