The NBA lockout is still in effect and there are only three short weeks until they have to start cutting the season. In three weeks if they do not come to an agreement they might have to cut the season in half. I hate to think of the outcome if it goes past it. I will not give up hope yet. The NBA and the NBPA is trying to come together on a lot of issues that could mean serious changes not only for the players, but for the teams. There is a lot at stake and it is something that has to be negotiated carefully, but with time factoring in, there should be more working together to come to real solutions.
Other countries continue to have their seasons and our own, Scotty Hopson, has been making strides as he continues to play for the Colossus in Greece. He is doing well over there and even took the time out to text Mike Griffith about it recently. We hope that he continues to do well and shows the world what he is made of.
People sometimes think that dreamers are wasting their time. That they need to get their head out of the clouds because reality is hard and reality is rough. While reality is not always a Norman Rockwell painting, there is space for the real dreamers who are willing to put in the work and effort with the dreams. The point of being a dreamer isn’t just to day dream and sit there, you need to dream and take action. Don’t limit yourself, Eliza Dushku said it best when she said, “Go big or go home. Because it is true. What do you have to lose?”
Now there will be bumps and rough patches, there will be long days that turn into late nights full of work outs and studying and life lessons that are hard. I am not saying that there will not be, but what I am saying is that there are obtainable goals, there are reasons to give the 110% of yourself. You will be beaten down at times, but you do not give up. You do not give in. People will tell you that you can’t. People will try to bring you down because they cannot do what you can. Do not listen, do not give in. Keep pushing and working you are worth it.
Take for example Andrew Bynum. People know Andrew Bynum because he was, and will be, the youngest person to ever be drafted in the NBA. In 2005 he was the tenth overall draft pick in the first round of the draft to the Los Angeles Lakers where he still plays to this day. That’s all fine and good, but that doesn’t tell us one important thing.
How did he get there?
Yes, he has talent. Yes, he has drive, but before that he had potential. Potential that was noticed by Larry Marshall. In an article written by Landry Fields, we are introduced not only to a young Mr. Bynum, but his coach. That coach who saw potential in him, who went with him all the way to the NBA draft was Larry Marshall.
Why does this matter? Why am I telling you this? I am telling you this because you need to know it. You, the future player, the player, the family of a player need to know that people don’t just show up one day and walk into an arena and go ‘I’m in the draft pick me’. There is a long road that leads you there full of work outs, trainings, school, practices with your team, practices with other potential teams and more, but you can get there. With potential, desire, drive and the right support systems surrounding, a talented player can get from a kid with potential to a star.
All that is left now is one question, are you a real dreamer?
On a rainy Tuesday night in New Jersey, Scotty Hopson honored me with a phone interview. I call it an honor because he took time to call me even though he is racing against a countdown clock. This one, however, is not to make the winning shot, but instead is to get all the loose ends tied up before he boards a plane on the way to Greece to play basketball for Kolossos Rhodes. Racing to make sure the T’s were crossed and the I’s were dotted he, along with Larry Marshall, were moving to ensure that every last potential issue was being preemptively dealt with. However, I felt that he would be able to handle a variety of situations being thrown at him after I spoke with him.
As Scotty was growing up basketball was a part of his life. He told me that, “from the day I picked up the ball I had dreams of being big (in the sport).” I asked him when he started to play in an organized team and if he had players that he looked up to and he told me that he, “started playing organized basketball (when he was) around 8 years old” and continued to expand talking about how he “idolized guys like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, both who played (his) position, though Kobe was definitely more from his generation and thus more influential on him.
While he had dreams of going big and wanting to play for the NBA he did not realize just how possible that earlier dream of becoming a star was until he reached high school. It was then that he, “started to receive college recruitment letters in (his) freshman year” and he, “realized that (colleges) were interested him,” even at such an early point in high school, “and (he) could turn (his) dreams into reality. So (he) worked on being the best player (he) could be. (He) still does”.
It was then that I started to bring up the man who set up this interview for me, Larry Marshall. I was interested in when he met him, how that all came to be. Scotty told me that it was during a High School game in the middle of the season that he first met Larry. Scotty was a Junior at the time and Larry had been traveling and visiting family. One of Larry’s nephews were playing in the game that Scotty was. Scotty explained that, “during the game (Larry) took notice of me… and after the game he spoke to (Scotty), got information about (Scotty) and talked to (his) mother and family.” That was where the relationship started and Scotty came to New Jersey to train with Larry here.
Scotty and Larry’s relationship has been growing over the last five plus years. When I asked Scotty what kind of effect Larry had on his life I could hear the smile on his face. He enthusiastically responded, “A great deal, not only on my training, but life skills. He mentors me on life and family on and off the court. He has always been there for me for anything, ANYTHING, that I need and has even been there for my mother and what she needs. I can always turn to him for advice. He’s like a father figure to me”
He brought up how life has not always been as smooth as he may have liked saying that being undrafted helped him mature as an individual and grow as a person, but when I asked him ultimately where he would like to be he said, “Well, I am where God wants me to be. A lot of times in life you may have things you do not want to go through, but you need to in order to be the best person you can be. I need to be right where I am.”
Humble and focused Scotty is getting ready for the next adventure in his life. With the drive and desire that he has I know that he will go far on and off of the court. He is an amazing example not only of good sportsmanship, but of being a good human being. I do not think that there is anything that Scotty couldn’t do if he put his mind to it.
Godspeed, Scotty, and safe travel overseas. I can only hope that Greece realizes the treasure they are getting.