It’s summertime, Palawan. I mentioned in one of my previous columns that summer is the best time to get your kids engaged in sports. In Baguio City where I was assigned just recently, I have seen barangay leagues, swim clinics (they have a city swimming pool at the athletic bowl), and a lot more youth working out at the city sports center… a positive sign those summer tournaments are about to start.
Here in Palawan, I have the sense that similar youth-oriented sports events will start happening. Our own City Coliseum has hosted a couple of graduation ceremonies already and our youth here has a long summer period to engage well in sports before the next school year starts. So encourage your kids to lace up and enjoy a healthy summer!
Zion, Duke Crashes Out
We would not see NCAA standout and National Basketball Association (NBA) consensus number 1 pick in the 2019 NBA draft Zion Williamson in the Final Four. Instead, we will see traditional and solid basketball school programs in Virginia, Auburn, Michigan State and Texas Tech in the semi-final.
Duke easily has the most athletic and NBA ready caliber of player in Williamson but his skills and power weren’t enough as the Michigan State Spartans outlasted them 68-67 in the elite 8.
In no way or form will this setback impact Zion’s draft stock. Not even a shoe malfunction causing a minor injury can stop him from going no. 1. What’s next for him is to focus on keeping him NBA ready over the summer. Williamson weighs around 280 pounds. Personally, I believe that’s too heavy a weight for his 6’7 height. Any minor slip or accident on the floor will force his knee or ankles to absorb all that weight and the severity of an injury could be bad especially on a sport that relies on speed and power.
My bet is that this kid will try to shed a few pounds, perhaps down to 260, to make him quicker and more agile to play and defend the small forward role in the NBA. If the team who drafts him decides to apply a small ball approach, he can also be an ideal stretch four in that on-court combination. He can probably play small ball center too.
Let’s see which team is fortunate enough to land the next “face of the NBA” this summer.
82 Game Season in the NBA
One would wonder how tough an NBA regular season is like. Imagine playing 82 games compressed in a six month period from October to April. That’s roughly 3-4 games a week not counting hours of practice, weight lifting to stay in game shape and the need to travel in this home and away league.
The schedule could be very hectic that road trips may not necessarily something to look forward to. A road trip may require teams to travel to multiple venues to complete the leg. They even need to immediately travel after a game to go to their next stop.
Logistical support for NBA teams got it to an exact science. I mean all bases covered. Right from shuttling the players to the airport immediately after an away game, packing their bags, feeding them and even to the point of making sure that the hotel keys are ready for the players to pick up at the front desk. Time is of utmost importance because teams need to attend morning shootarounds. An NBA regular season can be very demanding to mind and body… imagine having to extend through the month of June if your team makes the playoffs.
So the next time you think that NBA work and life is easy, think again. You spend most of your time working out, away from family, with the pressure to deliver night in and night out. Imagine the discipline you need to have from your workout regimen to the food you eat and the hours of work you need to put in to survive the demands of the highest level of basketball in the planet. So if you are able to watch games live or on TV or demand, let’s learn to appreciate James Harden’s step back 3’s, CP3’s sharp passes, Steph Curry’s torrid shooting, and Lebron James’ triple doubles a little bit more. What you see on the court is a result of hard work, love, and dedication to what they do.
(The writer is a senior leader of the only Business Process Outsourcing Contact Center company in Puerto Princesa)