Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Waiting for Godunk: My Tryout with My Hometown 76ers

My name is Kevin Owens and I have been playing professional basketball for the past six years. I decided to start a blog documenting my daily life. I have a degree in journalism and haven't written anything since college, so I figured why not. I don't particularly think I am that interesting, however when telling people about the traveling circus that is my life, they seem very entertained. I'll be contributing some of those stories once a week here at HHR. Hope you enjoy!


I figured this week I would chime in on the current situation with the Philadelphia 76ers. I am a die-hard Philadelphia fan. I grew up going to the Phillies, Eagles, Sixers and Flyers games all the time. It is a town that I am very passionate about.

That being said, the greatest memories I have of the Sixers all involved Allen Iverson. In high school after basketball practice a group of my teammates and I would pile into my beat-up van and head over to the Wachovia Center. There, we would watch a young A.I. dominate every game he played.

Now that Allen is coming back, I can’t help but be excited. In my mind I keep telling myself this might not be the best decision, seeing as they have young talent at guard and Iverson has been considered a cancer since leaving the city. However, the sight of him back in a Philly uniform makes me want to turn on my television. In order to make this team a true contender again, I have decided to start a group demanding the Sixers bring back another former star...Reggie Evans!!

Last year I had the fortunate experience of being invited to work out with the 76ers. I had worked out with them earlier in the summer and had impressed enough to be invited back a few weeks before training camp. After the first workout I was flying pretty high. I felt I had done well and was really developing as a player. I was certain that with my improvements I could get a job anywhere in Europe.

Flash forward a month… while still waiting for said European contract, my agent called me THE NIGHT BEFORE telling me that I had a workout again. I had not played against NBA talent since my last workout, but I was still confident going in. I knew I was a good player and knew I was in shape. Then in walked Reggie Evans. Now I know what you are thinking…"Reggie Evans??!! But he’s not good!" Well…

A. Are you trying to make me cry?!! Thanks! I think I just died a little inside…
B. You don’t know how tough this guy is until he’s attached to your hip all game long.

We first started playing some 1-1 with the bigs - no doubt a tough way to start the day, considering my competition. I was in a group with Maurice Speights, Cory Underwood and Elton Brand. I must say I was a little star struck. That usually doesn’t happen to me, but Elton Brand was a hero of mine since his days dominating Cameron Indoor. (I must add that on top of being one of the best players in the NBA, Elton Brand is one of the most professional guys in the game. I was an unheard, unsigned free agent who should have been treated like a nobody. Elton, a two-time NBA All Star, took the time to make me feel welcome and offered me some advice on my game. I don’t think it’s fair how the media has been coming down on him. All things considered, it’s not his fault the organization didn’t change their style of play to better suit his game.)

Man crushes aside, it was shortly after the 1-1 games that we separated into teams and played.

And there was Reggie.

Now, I have played some strong people and I have played some quick people, but I have never played anyone as strong and as quick as him. No matter where I went, he was there. If I ran the floor. he was running next to me. If I made a post move, he was doing everything he could to stop me. I felt like I was playing in the NBA Finals. But that is Reggie. Guys like that will always have a place in the league. They out-work everyone, they out-hustle everyone and they out-rebound everyone.

Unfortunately for me, this is the man standing between me and a roster spot for the 76ers. I am guessing since I am writing a blog about waiting to go play basketball, you figured out the outcome that day. I can’t help but thinking that my road to the NBA could have been a little easier had Reggie been caught in traffic that morning.

I walked out of the gym that day with a better understanding of hard work, and about a dozen or so deep lacerations all over my arms and chest, courtesy of Reggie. The most frustrating thing about the day is that I got a lot better. I learned a lot from both Reggie and Elton - things that I have worked hard on incorporating into my game. Sadly, the only viewers who have seen my newly refined game are the good people of Kosovo. It’s hard to imagine being on the borderline of the NBA and not getting a job anywhere in the world. Something is going to change in my life in the next few weeks. That’s a promise...

You can read more of Kevin Owens' reflections on his ongoing career at his blog, Waiting for Godunk.

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L said...

Kev, Good start. I'll be reading your blog.

Bapester said...

Er...Marresse Speights? Lol...Come on man!

Anonymous said...

IT's a nice blog... web application

Kevin Owens said...

I was just paging through my old blogs and realized I did butcher Marrese Speights' name...Bapester great eye. I wish I could send an apology to him, however I don't think he really cares.