I am a life-long basketball fanatic who used to spend about 3 hours obsessing and practicing my shot in the early daylight hours at my grandparents' home in Brewster, Massachusetts.
My first foray into becoming a spectator was when my step uncle David showed me videos of Vince Carter dunking at UNC. David had won the basketball lottery of a lifetime and by pure luck he roomed with Antwan Jamison and Ed Cota at UNC. Many of the other basketball players were on his floor so he became friends with them, too. The amazing abilities of every college and professional basketball player was illustrated when David told me how he used to play pick-up ball with Brendan Haywood and how Haywood would only shoot and MAKE 3s non-stop when he played against non-basketball students. (Haywood is a center, and he would never take a 3 in the flow of an NBA game.)
When I went to visit David for his graduation, I walked by a tall, clean-shaven and bald black man with an easy smile on his face. I felt like an idiot when David told me he was VINCE CARTER and I had walked by my sports hero.
When half-man, half-amazing got drafted by the Raptors in 1998 I became an instant Raptors fan. When he was traded to the New Jersey Nets I switched over to my hometown Celtics.
(At this point I was just preparing for graduation from Milton Academy, a place where the basketball team won 1 game and lost 16 games that season, and where I decided to quit basketball after my sophomore year because I was relegated to end-of-the-bench status.)
After a few years of following the Celtics, I was disappointed in 2007 when the lottery worked against us (but eventually for us) and we got the 5th pick in the draft. We traded this pick along with a couple players to the Seattle Supersonics for Ray Allen (a trade I did not like until we added KG soon after.)
That season, I got to see my Celtics take home a championship and shout in Kenmore Square with fellow Celtics fans "sev-en-teen, sev-en-teen, sev-en-teen."
I am not going to lie, when the championship cd came out later that year, I cried the first time watching it.
My obsession has only deepened since then and nothing gets me as pumped up as watching the Celtics and the Lakers go at it.
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