Yes, I had a hoop dream by the time I reached middle school in Houston. I figured that would be a great way to relieve my mother of her frequent financial woes. I knew I could do it.
That went against what my late middle school coach Frank Miller taught us, in that we had a better chance of finding a suitcase with a million dollars in it than to make it to the land of Jordan, Magic and Bird.
He was right but I took that hope along with the skills and tenacity I honed at Fondren Middle School to the courts of Forest Brook Senior High School. By this time, my older brothers, Edward and Deric, were home from the Marines for good and they became my offseason trainers or should I say abusers.
Before my mother purchased a basketball goal for me, Edward would take me to his job in the Medical Center or the local YMCA to play against men twice my size and even age. I was nearing six feet but barely weighed 150lbs. He would order his colleagues to purposely foul me hard to get me out of my game.
Deric had joined the local Nation of Islam mosque and the brothers would meet up at Jack Yates High School for scrimmage games. He too would have them beat me up in attempt to toughen me up. Needless to say, I disliked both of my brothers for this because I only saw what they were doing to me versus what they were doing for me.
My mother moved us into a home back in the Northeast area and we nailed a crate to the tree as a temporary basketball goal. No matter how smooth Victor and I were, our older siblings would get the best of us with viscous elbows, street ball hacking and unorthodox tripping fouls.
Needless to say, when I tried out for the 9th grade team at Forest Brook there was nobody that could shake me because I had endured so much from my brothers. Their strategy worked and I made the freshman squad.
This is an excerpt from my soon to be released book, In Search of My Father. The above video clip of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan speaking to the Black Coaches Association inspired me to share this with you. He has been an invaluable coach in the lives of millions--including mine.
Get a coach and be a coach! We all need one.