In the winter of 1993, a young man moved to Prague with the idea of finding a pro or semi-pro basketball team and convincing them to let him join. It was a dumb idea, partly because the young man didn’t know if they even had pro or semi-pro basketball teams in Prague, partly because he didn’t speak any Czech and partly because he was, in the grand scheme of things, just okay at basketball.
It’s the hypotheticals of that moment that haunt me. What if he’d tripped over his legs and blown out his knee, or gone tumbling into the wall and hit his head in a way that triggered bleeding in his brain? At the time, I thought of myself as an activist. Some of my teammates even came to my support—I’d stood up to the coaches. But the self-aggrandizement quickly dissolved into guilt, and six years later it’s more or less remained with me.
The NBA’s Summer League concludes next Monday with the mini-tournament’s championship game, held at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. So last weekend, as the Summer League was about to kick off, I did what I like to do and embarked on another road trip into the desert to watch some more meaningless exhibition games.
Minnesota is in the midst of a run that may come to rival any professional team, mens or womens, of this era. Perhaps, with their season-opening winning streak now reaching 13 games and counting, the country will pay even more attention and take that much sought after final step into “crossover story.”