BASKETBALL

Playing basketball came easy for me. It was one of the most natural things I’ve done in my life! At age ten, I was short and skinny, but very fast and tricky. I could dribble the ball quickly and very low to the ground and take fancy shots – bring the ball around my back, switch hands, bring it under my leg and shoot. For my age, I was like a white Marcus Haynes (of the Harlem Globetrotters). The north quadrant recreation instructor in Parkchester (this huge project where I grew up) was forming a team to play tournament games against teams from the east, south and west quadrants. Our team was called the North Utes (named after an American Indian Tribe). The first year, we won the championship for our age group.

One hot summer day when I was about twelve, I was shooting hoops with a friend in the playground. I sank twenty-five shots in a row from the foul line. My friend just kept retrieving the ball for me. I got a little cocky and mouthed off something to him like, “This is just like dropping apples into a bucket.”