Kevin Owens has been playing professional basketball for the past six years and decided to start a blog documenting his daily life. He started contributing some of those stories here at HHR, and now is being featured at SLAM Online.
I received a lot of positive feedback about my last D-League article that I wrote for SLAM online, so I figured I would channel my inner Rick Reilly and follow up with a few things, I feel, that the D-League represented to me.
The D-League is long bus rides and connecting flights. It’s six consecutive games against the same team. The D-League is Thanksgiving Dinner at your head coach’s home or Christmas Dinner at a gas station in North Carolina.
The D-League is practice after an elementary school gym class and before a P.T.A. meeting. It’s driving a half hour to practice because your “usual” gym is being used for an 8th grade dance. It’s a membership to the local YMCA and waiting till the 43 year old periodontist finishes with the 40 pound weights so you can finish your set.
The D-League is staying for an hour and a half to sign autographs after our only sold out game of the season, “Sponge Bob Square Pants” night. It’s die hard loyal fans in empty arenas. It’s a game at 8pm one day and noon the next.
The D-League is country music and rodeos. It’s cold arenas and early morning shoot arounds. It’s generic mascots and pregnant cheerleaders. The D-League is Buffalo Wild Wings, Piggly Wiggly and Kroger. It’s being asked to dinner by a group of fans, and graciously accepting.
The D-League is 2am trips to Waffle House and waitresses named Joan. It’s finding constructive uses for your down time. It’s Wednesday matinees and marathon Playstation sessions. It’s par 3 golf courses and loitering at the mall.
The D-League is culturally different roommates and vicious dogs. It’s 500 card rummy and Dairy Queen. It’s toilet blue cell phones and trash bags on the bus.
The D-League is trying to get to the next level. It’s pushing yourself day in and day out. It’s playing over hyped college players and realizing you are better than them.
The D-League is not cars with suicide doors or 32 room mansions. It’s not expensive watches or 80 gallon fish tanks. It’s not fast cars and faster women…It’s working hard enough to get all these things.
The D-League is playing through pain and floor burns. It’s diving into the stands for a loose ball and bags of ice. The D-League is attending “optional shoot arounds” and staying late after practice. It’s finding something you do well, and perfecting it. It’s hustle, hard work and dedication.
The D-League is not the NBA, it’s everything the NBA should be.