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|
|Mr. Deep poses with the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship trophy|