Thursday, August 4

Niggah, nephew and son

I have been playing basketball at this park called "Brace Park" in Burbank since my family and I migrated here in 1994. I like it out there its cool, people are friendly and welcoming. Its even a surprisingly diverse crowd eventhough it is in Burbank which is predominantly white (most of the time). It has been the same players since 1994 with a few additions, even the kids that use to only watch are now big enough to play with us. I have fond memories of this place, I've had my basketball stolen here 9 times (somehow some kid always makes out with it every Summer), sprained and broken my ankle more than once and have sustained numerous cuts and bruises. I've also made a few friends and acquaintances along the way, most notably Big David who was the first person I met here in the states. He now plays in my poker tournaments and Saturday basketball game in North Hollywood.

Basketball is a beautiful sport, its competitive, physical and best of all its a team sport. It requires not only skills but Defense, rebounding and basic basketball fundamentals. You have to be right smarts, the heart and the will to improve your game otherwise your just a scrub.


MG= Mexican Guy
WG= White Guy
AG= Armenian Guy
BG= Black Guy

In the last several Wednesdays there has been a new group of guys thats come to play. It's sort of a diverse crew (sort of because I'm not really sure haha, more on this later). There is a white guy (WG) who talks and dresses like he is black and plays ball like he's black, White chocolate they call him (like Jason Williams), a Mexican guy (MG) also talks plays and dresses like a black guy, then an actual Black guy (dresses talks and plays like a BG), an Armenian guy (AG), the same clothing talking and playing. The fifth one is a regular white guy (LOL the odd one in the group), unless he is faking it. The regular WG is about 6 feet 7 inches tall while the rest are an average of 6'2. The Black Guy is the worst player in their squad, I'm sure you'll appreciate the irony in that. They rolled up in this Big Black Lincoln Navigator with 24 inch Rims and parked it right alongside my midsize SUV, a 1998 Honda Passport with factory 16 inch alloy rims but with some really really nice ski racks (Yea yea yea niggahs, bwuhahahahahhaha). The MG called everyone is his squad "niggahs" while the WG called the BG "nephew" and the BG called them "son". I thought maybe they were all related at first but no, they are not of the same descent lol. The regular WG called them by their God given names and so did the AG. Each of them changed their shoe before game time (I have never actually seen this before, anywhere), they each carried two pairs of basketball shoes to the park, one fo sho (err for show) and the other for balling. Their pre game warm up consisted of dunks, alley hoops and 50 foot shots & a prodigious amount of trash talking, i think the word "niggah" was said about 235 times.

I want to share this very interesting & confusing conversation between the WG & the MG:

The WG asked the MG why he wasn't wearing his brand new black basketball shoes and the MG responded with this "Yea niggah I cant find shit to match it" (I was thinking, no shit?? then it occurred to me that I was wearing black/red shoes with my green Abercrombie shirt, i felt out of uniform) That must be like a major niggah wardrobe catastrophe when you cant find anything to match your brand new black shoes with, but wait, doesn't white, pink, red or, actually all the fucken colors match Black, don't they??. Weird..

The MG was wearing some kind of shiny Nike shoes with Gold plated o-rings (he even had the box for this) which is probably more expensive than all three of my basketball shoes combined. Now I'm not entirely sure if this is a trend or a fad or what but none of them tied their shoe laces properly, they were all undone and the velcro flap is completely off while everything they've wore, i mean everything they had on was brand new. Me on the other hand had my laces tied up as tight as possible along with ankle braces to protect from spraining them on the hard court. I suppose for them it's style and grace that takes precedence over safety (broken ankle will change that in a hurry, such in my case). The WG, BG and MG were also wearing oversized ball caps which annoyingly kept falling off every time each of them drove to the basket, I mean don't they get the point here? Take that shit off, i know they have to be balling in style, but there aint no Ho's at the park Mr Pimpers so who are you trying to impress??

My squad on the other hand consisted of three Mexicans a white guy then me. I'm the tallest of the crew at 5"11 while the others averaged 5"6 (average 215 lbs except me at 185 lbs). I wasn't actually worried about the height disadvantage (or weight) because I knew these guys worked hard. But Rick one of the Mexican guys who plays four times a week is yet to lose weight, the other Mexican guy is just a lost cause then Danny the third Mexican guy is a great shooter from any range and plays well. The white guy Todd (about the same height as I) weighs only about 120 but makes it up on Defense. This Todd fella is actually a guy whom I got into a fight with at another Park in Burbank, he called me a bitch after blocking and fouling me so I started choking him... you can talk shit in Basketball but you cant really call someone a bitch specially if your only 120 lbs, eventually you have to back it up with some muscle (I don't think he remembers this). Well anyway we lost four games in a row then won the 5th one, but all competitive games.

The regular WG at 6'7 swatted away one of my finger roll attempts all the way over to the Tennis Court across the street(exaggerating here ,but he actually slammed a 360 dunk on a breakaway) but I got him back blocking his jumper after a crossover (losing his man) from the weak side which also knocked him off his heels and on his ass while Todd concurrently pounced and taunted him (while he was down no less). This was a clean block but he called a foul, but since he was the only guy that didn't call anyone niggah I gave him the call, amnesty for being a regular WG LOL.

"Burbank's most wanted" Rick calls them, i call them a "Motley Hodgepodge". But these guys are fun to watch and to play against because they're all ballers and they bring out the best of even the most novice of players, its good competition (if they only they get their shit together and stop the alley hoops which fail 90% of the time and the And 1 stuff they'd be a great team). They all have range and good handles , dish , D, Hops.... Uhmmmm what ya say??? Here allow me to translate, handle=dribble, dish=pass, range=shoot from afar, D= defense, hops= can jump high. Yes I know some niggah terms!


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