Ed Note: This was originally published two years ago but it is worth re-visiting..
Basketball does not build character…it reveals it.
Whoever said that it’s right on target. I’ve seen and played enough basketball in my life to know it’s true. This game really shows you who you REALLY are, which is great, but sometimes there are things that are better left unknown.
Allow me to elaborate on that.
This game has always been about individuality, and to be honest with you…that’s what attracted me. My dad used to play soccer; he always wanted me to play. It’s the number one sport in Europe and Latin countries, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. People grow up idolizing Maradona and Pelé, they are Gods to them (there’s a Maradona church in Argentina). My initial thought on playing soccer was: 11 players on the field and 11 in the bench…Are you friking kidding me?? , I’m never going to stand out! I pretty much sucked, kicked the ball like a Grandma on weed, so there’s no way I’m going to play that, I want to play something where people really appreciate my skills and have less competition.
And so it happened, fell in love with the game…or maybe it wasn’t the game, maybe it was how the game made me feel. The playground was like a constant therapy, if I was feeling insecure or self conscious about something, what better way to get your confidence a boost than watching a bunch of kids say ohhhhh, ahhhhh, wowww!!, every time you do a crossover or make a great move or shot.
My perception of the game changed when I met the right people at the right time: Coaches, players from other countries, scouts, fans. It’s a growing process. There were times that I couldn’t help just to smile when I saw my stats on the newspaper, even when the title of the article read "Panama loses to Brazil by 15 points". I used to think if having that kind of thoughts made a bad person, how come when coach nailed me to the bench when I didn’t pass the ball on a 3 on 1 fast break, I was thinking to myself "I hope we lose". But after learning how the game is really played, I realized that I was just immature and it’s hard to change, especially when you watch TV and watch the player’s highlights. It’s Human
And that leads me to Amaré. I can understand why he is the way he is. He was poor, coming from a troubled family, grew up without guidance and was drafted out of high school. The NBA is his playground, only bigger. He wants to be seen, heard and understood. He wants to fit in. He wants to show everyone his talent and show that he is way better than others.
Some people never grow up, as I said, it’s a combination of circumstances and people around you. I want to believe that he is the future of the Suns; I want to believe that he will learn the other aspect of the game that he has completely neglected, I want to believe that he will learn not to bash on his coach, shut his mouth and play hard, and stealing a line from my friend Mike Lisboa… I want to believe that some day he will truly LEAD. THIS. TEAM.
Thanks for reading.