I love basketball. Every chance I get, I make it a point to play until my body refuses to continue. By the time I finish playing, my whole body will be covered in sweat. I’ll literally be able to wring out my shirt and leave a puddle of human coolant. Feet covered in blisters, and another pair of shoes decimated by my sick ass spin moves and crossovers. (Or me tripping over my own feet.) I’ve never been called a graceful player. Back home is rarely ever be considered that good really. My shooting is inconsistent, my passing is mediocre, and the less said about my dribbling the better. (Unless you’re trying to hurt my feelings, in which case go ahead and talk about my dribbling.)
My skills are not what get me wins on the court. Ok, they usually aren’t. Everybody catches fire on the court sometimes. No, what gets me wins by and large is my passion for the game. By what can only be described as a devotion for which, I lay my body on the line. Dramatic? Totally. Overstatement? Ask anybody I play against. Basketball is like a religion, and when I’m on the court I’m going to church. (To my religious family members, I don’t mean to blaspheme, it’s just a metaphor for the love I have for the game.)
That’s what I love about Hong Kong too. Here, ball is life. Every court I visit is occupied. There are 2, 3, 4 or more squads waiting for their next game. Basketball matters here. Everybody can stop studying or working for an hour or two. Cut loose, melt some stress away, and play some basketball.
It’s a very different game here too. Stylistically, it feels alien to the 1-on-1 focused, run and gun style of American ball. Here, there’s always another pass, a better shot. Everybody packs the paint because hardly anybody wants to shoot from deep. Funny enough, I wrote about those differences in college.
It was about the cultural distinctions between the United States, and Hong Kong that was seen in the way basketball is played. Most of the stuff feels pretty surface level looking back. And it’s definitely not authoritative on the subject. But, if you feel like reading through the eyes of a college junior, I’ve attached it below.
I’ll never play professionally. Playing anything organized is almost impossible at this stage. And I may have already peaked in my abilities. Yet, I still play. I’ll throw myself at every loose ball. I’ll fight for every rebound. I’ll give everything to the game of basketball and never expect a thing in return. Because that’s how it is. And besides…
Ball is life.