Contributing Correspondent: C. Dwayne West
I watched the NBA Finals like so many around the world. I couldn’t wait to relax front and center in my bedroom and stare at the television as these multimillionaires bounced around the 94 foot court to fight for the ultimate reward in professional basketball.
I love basketball. I played in grade school, high school, junior college and all throughout dozens of park district tournaments during my athletic life. I still play b-ball almost weekly either at Washington Park or the YMCA on 63rd Street. It’s an amazing game that challenges your spirit, your heart, your will, and it brings your talent to the forefront along with your high IQ and intellect.
At this age (birthday today) it requires not only a love for the game but a certain level of commitment to feel victorious each time you step on the court looking five opposing men or women in their sweaty faces; eager to beat them down in order for your team to remain on the (dance) floor. It’s a stage where even over-the-hill participants with diminished talents think they’re great until they realize their time in the spotlight has faded, as the aches and pains persist weeks after leaving the court.
As I’ve gotten older and more serious about my personal and professional interests, I now love to watch sporting events at home in solitude. I don’t find joy in sitting around clubs, bars or even at people’s homes among a crowd of screaming and sometimes drunk folks cheering for multimillion dollar athletes. I respect and love the player’s art form and specialty craft, but I don’t like to argue or debate other people’s exploits. But what sparked my interest with this past NBA Finals is Kevin Durant. He has been an all-star and sharp shooter who has arisen to super-stardom. After Monday’s victory over LeBron James, he’s now one of America’s most beloved basketball players.
That’s cool. But at the end of the day, I can care less about his on the court skills. What I love tremendously is his relationship with his mother, which is so special and heartwarming. A man and his mother’s love can be such a motivating image to transmit around the world. A few years ago when Durant won his first NBA MVP Award, he thanked his mother for all the sacrifices she made to ensure her children would have the basics, but most importantly, the kids would have cover from life’s tragedies. She protected them the way only a mother could and Durant presented her with his hardware, calling his mom the real MVP.
As this story resurfaced after Durant celebrated with his team on Monday, I hoped that immature and premature (ghetto) mothers all around the world who watched this tremendous moment, would look directly in the mirror and question their commitment to their own children. I also hoped that missing fathers would do the same. Struggling arents should really think about what they’re (not) doing based on what Wanda Durant has done to raise her boys in similar ghetto scenarios within urban America.
I love when children express what their parents have done to make sure they’ve had the necessary tools to survive and strive when their community looked bleak at best. Kids who reach GREATNESS can all attribute their success to their parents or grandparents as well as mentors who cared enough about their future. Yes, most will not be celebrated and wealthy professional athletes. But what’s obtainable is GREATNESS in a multitude of professions that should also be celebrated just as much as NBA Championships, Super Bowls, Stanley Cups or World Series victories.
This is why I don’t get too excited about discussing or being around dozens of people cheering professional athletic events. I wish parents and friends of the community who present Super Bowl or NBA All-Star game parties, would host graduation extravaganzas to honor our youth who have won the most important battle of their lives. They survived the mean streets of urban and racist America to hopefully start their professional careers to GREATNESS. Until the next edition…… Peace and One Love.
I Write to Differ