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My Journey with the Orange Ball


I have to say that the feedback I received from last week's blog was overwhelming. It made me realize how selfish I was for not sharing my up and down journey. Many of you readers have reached out to share your journeys with me. I was so blessed by each of you and the part of your life journey you shared with me.  I have learned that whatever I am going through, somebody else is going through worse. That helps me put things into perceptive.

    Thank you.

Last Saturday I got to watch the rerun of the Basketball Hall of Fame Ceremonies. It was an amazing show. All the inductees shared their stories; some of them were very emotional while others were simply funny.

It is quite an honour to be chosen to be in a select group of elite players, coaches, executives and many others who have impacted the game in many ways.

As there is little chance for me to be a Basketball hall of famer (the chances are almost zero, but I am keeping an open mind), I am glad I have a platform on which I can share my Basketball journey (don't change the channel please).

I started watching the NBA in 1985. Oh yeah.  Some of you were not born yet. We would gather at my friend's home to watch games on VHS tapes (Google that one if you don't know what VHS is) while their parents were away. I fell in love with the game and became obsessed with Michael Jordan. I remember a bunch of us deciding to cut our hair so that we could look like Mike. Crazy stuff man.
I later joined a Basketball team and played in the local league for over 10 years (among which 5 were spent on the bench haha).

I was still obsessively watching the NBA. I don't think I have ever missed watching the NBA finals or the All-Star Game... at least not in recent years.

While playing for the University team, I started coaching a local ladies team and, boy did I have the time of my life. I can surely say that those have been the best days of my life so far.
Basketball opened so many doors for me. 

I got a chance to work with amazing people like Eugene Nindorera (what a mentor he was!). Ziaddy became my best friend. I travelled to many countries in Africa and Europe, had the honour of being part of the Board of Directors of the country's Basketball Federation, landed my dream job as a sports reporter in one of the local radio stations, travelled with the National team that went to compete in the Central Africa tournament and for two straight years I organized a summer Basketball camp that impacted over 2000 young people across the city. The list can go on and on. Along the way, the team I was coaching won 15 trophies in 7 years! What a blast!

I will never forget the NBA Finals at my friend Kennedy's home. Fifteen to twenty of us would gather to watch the games late at night. I am talking about 1 am or 3 am depending on where the game was being played (time zone difference). Reine (Kennedy's wife) would cook for us and some of us would even sleep at their home before the games.  The neighbours wondered what was happening as the trash talking went on and on. All of us would go to work, or to school in the morning having slept for only two hours. That is what I call commitment.

The funny part was that, almost all of us would go to visit Kennedy only when the games were on TV. When the finals were over, Kennedy would say, "See you all in June next year," haha.
Fast forward.

In 2002, I landed in Canada, and I couldn't wait to go to the Raptors game. Michael Jordan came to town, but I couldn't afford a ticket to watch him. I was so mad as I knew he was about to retire for good. It was a missed opportunity.

I have been to the games since then, and every time I am at the arena, I have tears in my eyes. It has been a long-time dream of mine to witness an NBA game live.

 Then, something special happened last week...

To make a long story short, this NBA season that is about to start, I will be reporting on the games on behalf of a local Toronto Radio Station! Did you see that? Yes. I will be attending games and interviewing the players, coaches and so on...

I have witnessed a few things in my life, but for me, this is a BIG deal. Never in my wildest dreams have I ever thought this would happen in my life. My love story with the NBA started in 1985 in a remote central African country, and now I get to interview the players 33 years later!

I think it is a hall of fame story. Don't you think?

Dreams do really come true!   

Moral of the story? Do you want to see your dreams come true 33 years from now? Just watch a game on a VHS and you will win trophies.

Always a pleasure
Patrick
The journeyman


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