Athlete Students

Basketball Diaries


Photo by Marisa Valdez

I can think all the way back to middle school and remember how good I wanted to be at basketball. Something about it just enthralled me. Let’s start with the sport itself, a finely mixed combination of strength, speed, height and coordination is required to be good at it.

Despite the fact that I have none of these, I’ve been a loyal participant in pick-up basketball since early high school. The only official team I ever played on was way back in seventh grade but I’ve been flailing around school gyms, YMCAs and outdoor courts for years now. 

I think basketball is as close as you get to a perfect sport as possible. 

It has more physicality than something like golf, whose participants are often ridiculed for their involvement in the sport, but it also isn’t quite as brutal as the likes of hockey or football, sports I could watch but wouldn’t dare attempt to play myself. 

Another plus is that when you really get into a game of pick-up basketball, you hardly realize you’re exercising until it’s too late. 

Lifting weights can get quite boring, and the thought of going on a run makes me physically ill, but time really does fly when you’re in the throws of a pick-up basketball sesh. 

As far as my skills on the court, I have my good days and my bad days. 

Years of irritating my parents and now my roommates by bouncing a ball constantly have made my dribbling decent. My actual shot is streaky at best — a lot of my best b-ball happens underneath the rim.

I say underneath because, as I alluded to earlier, I’m usually not the tallest cat on the court. I stand at a looming five-foot-nine and I’m not jumping much higher than your average pickup enthusiast. 

I’d like to say that I’m solid on defense, mainly because that has about as much to do with effort as it does talent. And I’ll just come out and admit that being a hack helps as well. 

That’s right, I said it, and if you catch me in an intramural game, I’m getting in as many extracurriculars (pushing and shoving) as I can without the ref seeing. 

Speaking of college intramurals, I am a frequent participant. I’m actually on a basketball intramural team right now. Our current record is 0-2, but I’m confident we’ll turn that around. 

The last upside of basketball as your main form of exercise is it opens up a world of cool swag to rock on the court. I’ve definitely spent questionable amounts of money on basketball shoes. 

When it comes to other apparel, I’ll leave you with some etiquette I’ve picked up along the way. 

Unless you’re participating in an organized recreational game, there’s no reason to be rocking a jersey on the court. Such behavior should only be exhibited at live sports events and bars. 

And when it comes to shooting sleeves, leg sleeves and headbands, if you’re wearing any combination of the three, you better play well (which is the reason you won’t see me wearing any of them).

Obadiya can be reached at [email protected]