Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Hoop Dreams

As you read this blog you fortunately or unfortunately end up reading about the type of activities that Mr. Deep and I enjoy. So here's another post about another one of our favorite pastimes, NBA basketball. 

While we have a few friends who enjoy watching NBA games, it something that most people we know could care less about. I'm not sure why people don't care for it. 

I will tell you why I like basketball better than any other professional sport. First, it's fast. Baseball is the opposite of fast and football keeps stopping play. Second, it's high scoring and there are a lot of lead changes. Third, basketball is a wonderful combination of strength, grace, strategy and teamwork. Finally, I love that a player can be posterized with a block, knocked down on his butt, mortified by missing an easy shot and other embarrassments and that person's job is to get back up the floor like it never happened. A great metaphor for life.  I know deep thoughts right? Well I don't call this blog "my thoughts from the deep end" for nothing.

Recently the first ever NBA basketball game was played on the continent of Africa and was held here in Joburg.  The two teams consisted of players who are from or whose parents are from Africa (Team Africa) vs. players from around the world on the other team (Team World.)  The purpose of the game was to raise the visibility of the sport in Africa in an effort to try to increase the number of professional players coming out of Africa in the future.

Unfortunately, someone in the Deep household operations department fell down on the job and didn't buy tickets to the game when they went on sale. The game sold out very quickly and the Deep family was sadly going to have to watch the game on TV at home, rather than attending in person. 

Luckily, we became aware that a live broadcast of the game and a fan zone area was going to be held at the Montecasino right near our house. I haven't written about the Montecasino before. It's a huge entertainment complex that consists of a casino (obvs), hotels, restaurants, stores, movies, bowling alley, bars and an open air piazza with a giant television. The whole thing is built in a Tuscan style. Really it's a little big Vegas and Disney World ish and the kind of thing a lot of people would love to hate if it wasn't such a fun place to hang out and entertain yourself.

Luol Deng, a member of the NBA's Miami Heat, Mr. Deep and my favorite team, was captain of Team Africa.  Luol was born in Sudan (in the part that is now South Sudan) and then emigrated with his family as a child to Egypt and later to the U.K. during the second Sudanese Civil War.  

Team Africa was leading much of the game, but then Chris Paul hit a few three point shots and Team World came back and ended up winning. It was an exciting game, especially when two African born NBA legends, Dikembe Mutombo and Hakeem Ulajuwon, who are age 49 and 52 respectively, joined the game for a few minutes. The fans from Africa went crazy. 

The guy with the microphone is Muggsy Bogues. He is the shortest player (5 feet 3" or 1.6 meters) ever to play in the NBA. He was the special guest and ran the shooting contest for the fans.
Watching on the big screen with the Montecasino Tuscan architechure in the background.
People lining up to shoot hoops
Hanging out with Luol Deng
The Toronto Raptor mascot. He was not a huge fan of my Miami Heat shirt.
Mr. Deep poses with the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship trophy


  1. Catching up on your blog and loved this one too! BEcause a) I also love basketball - have even played it myself for some years; b) love Muggsy Bogues, because he is so short and so funny and also played in Charlotte for years, and I lived in NC for years and c) I also love Montecasino. The best sentence I've read in a while about Joburg is what you wrote here: "the kind of thing a lot of people would love to hate if it wasn't such a fun place to hang out and entertain yourself." It is SO true. You'll have to blog about Montecasino soon as a follow up. It doesn't get mentioned enough. I think I still have a draft post in my annals somewhere from 4 years ago which I never finished.

  2. Thank you for your kind comments! Muggsy seemed genuinely excited to be at the event. He made a little speech about how historic the game was for Africa and for the NBA and then I saw him watching the game intently in a VIP area. I saw this when I was walking to the ladies room since Mr. Deep and I were not sitting in the VIP section. As for Montecasino, yes I need to write a post about it. I go sometimes mid-day mid-week when it is practically empty and kind of weird. I like to go to Seattle's Best Coffee since it's kind of like Starbucks in that I can hang out there for three hours and they don't notice or care. It might be fun to compare that experience to going on the weekend when the place is packed. Thanks again for sharing so many of my posts with your readers and for all of your thoughtful comments.


About Me

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Hello and thank you for taking an interest in my blog. This blog tells the story of some big life changes. First, my husband and I have just moved to Geneva, Switzerland for a few months following a few years of living in Johannesburg, South Africa. The two places could not be more different. I'm excited to share our adventures, challenges and insights with you! My thoughts and opinions are my own.