No warning shots
I have become a very arrogant person throughout my life.
I have been known to walk away and avoid certain debates because I do not want to embarrass people in public.
I am prone to long rants and expletive laced tirades directed to my television and computer screen.
The source of these narcissistic traits? An addiction. Yes, I suffer from an addiction.
There are many kinds of addictions in this world. Mine centers around a leather ball about 29.5 inches in circumference and a steel rim standing 10 feet from the ground.
Basketball, that is my addiction. I eat, sleep, and breathe basketball.
It has become my religion. The late John R. Wooden's book "Practical Modern Basketball" is the book I swear on, and James Naismith is my patron saint.
There are 445 players currently in the National Basketball Association, and I can tell you the strengths and weaknesses of each one of them, no lie. That comes from hours upon hours, years upon years of game footage I have consumed.
I make it a point to fully understand my subject matter, being an aspiring basketball journalist and all, and to fully understand it, I must be familiar with everything.
My addiction allows me to take in each player, putting me in somewhat of a comatose state where I cannot hear or see anyone or anything but the game in front of me. I have been accused of ignoring others frequently when I am glued to a game.
I obsess over every new player that enters the NBA, until I become fully versed with each of their abilities.
And that is where the arrogance begins.
There are paid analysts for major-sporting networks such as ESPN and Sports Illustrated who have difficulty naming a single player on a cellar-dwelling team, let alone giving a breakdown of their skills and talent levels. There are fans who cannot do it either. And these people claim to be basketball aficionados.
But where did this all begin? Where did it come from? All good stories have a beginning, and this one is no different.
My father used to be the head coach of the girls' varsity basketball team at Manuel Arts High School in Los Angeles when I was first born.
As I got older, he started taking me to his practices, and my mother and I would sit on the sidelines and cheer him and his team on at each game.
It was there, as an innocent 5-year-old, that I fell in love. I did not know what it would do to me then. I did not know the depths this game would pull me to.
Like all addictions, I just could not stop. My parents installed a regulation-size basketball hoop in our backyard, above the garage. I remember how elated I felt when I hit my first shot after multitudes of airballs.
My dream was the same as that of many other kids in this world; I was going to be an NBA player, and that was final. By the age of 10, I had it all mapped out; no other career path would suit me.
My addiction allowed me to discover Horatio Llamas, the first ever Mexican NBA player. During my adolescence, Llamas was seldom used reserve who played for the Phoenix Suns. He gave me hope that I, too, being Mexican myself, could make it to the NBA.
Well, like most dreams of that caliber, it did not quite work out the way I wanted it to. It was around high school when I knew it was not going to. But my addiction was so deeply rooted, that it would not let me go that easily.
I continued to work tirelessly on my game. I would often stay out at the park or in my backyard, long past midnight, making sure my game had zero weaknesses. I even spent Christmas Eve one year at the park, telling myself over and over that I could not go home and open presents with my family until I hit a certain number of shots.
Basketball became my release, the court my sanctuary. I may not have been the best student in grade school academically, but once I got to the court, nobody else could say they were better than me.
Just like with other addictions, basketball was my stress reliever. I became dependent on quick fixes after a terrible day. I would pick up my trusty basketball and head to the park; I needed my high. It was only a matter of time before I was floating among the clouds, away from the stress of everyday life.
I have come to understand that arrogance is one of the side effects of this addiction of mine. I believe that the years I have spent perfecting my game have rendered casual players at the local park as being beneath me. I constantly remind my younger brother that as long as I am around, he will always be the second best player in the family.
I have also become a self-proclaimed historian of the game. I have gone back and watched every bit of footage I can of past eras so I can accurately analyze and compare players across the years. I have given up many Friday and Saturday nights to analyze stats and game footage so I can arrogantly proclaim that I know what I am talking about.
When I say Michael Jordan is not the undisputed greatest player of all time, or that Kobe Bryant is the most overrated player in NBA history, there is credence to my words. I am not just spouting garbage like most so-called analysts and their blind sheep fans do.
All of this has culminating with finding my life calling. If I was not destined to become a NBA player, I would be the next best thing, a basketball journalist.
I have come to peace with my addiction and I embrace it. I reject any and all therapy; this addiction is here to stay.
It feels good to get my addiction out in the open like this, and consider this my coming-out party. I will make it in this profession, and when I do, I am coming for all these so-called basketball analysts, with no warning shots.