In this profession, wisdom and advice is something shared frequently between players. Specifically from vets to “young fellas”. I’ve been blessed enough to be able to learn from Mr. Thunder himself. Just to give you an idea of Nick’s veteran status…when he was drafted I was living it up at Paris Gibson Middle School, unaware and ignorant to the life that was quickly approaching. Now, it’s rare enough for a player to have a career spanning 14 seasons let alone to be with one team throughout that time. I think a lot of people see him and really do respect the body of work he has made, being the consistent piece to this organization, relentlessly and consistently providing a service dedicated only to winning. Shunning accolades, fame, and stardom. I’ve learned a lot from Nick and I can guarantee you can ask anyone on the team, past or present and they would echo that sentiment. Everyone is familiar with the standard definition of “professional”, but in the NBA the term takes on a different meaning. A “pro” is someone who shows up every day and regardless of circumstance and does all that is required of them, without fail. The league is an unforgiving place, and outside of a select few players with otherworldly talent and ability, someone without that professional approach will find themselves looking for a job. This league has seen countless incredibly talented players come and go, replaced by players that, in terms of ability, fall short in comparison. However, you can ask any GM or head coach, this asset is what sets them apart and allows them to stick. Nick is one of those guys. Now, I don’t want to speak for Nick but I can say with a lot of confidence that Nick would agree that he is less talented than many players that have come through the league. But what sets him apart is his approach, which is what I’ve learned more from him than anything else. I respect the hell out of this guy. Every day I can promise you that Nick Collison will be the same person he was the day before and will continue to be just that. His blood, sweat and tears has helped build this organization. Anyone who watches Thunder basketball frequently can attest to the fact that it is not surprising to go 10 games or more without Nick making an appearance. Even though that is the case, whenever his time does come there’s no question that he’ll be ready. I think a lot of people don’t understand just how hard that is. To sit day in and day out, never sure of when you are going to have your number called. That’s what ties me to Nick I guess. A vast majority of games you’ll find us on that bench…unsure whether or not tonight is the night. And every single night I just try to emulate what I’ve learned from him. I doubt Nick even knows just how much he’s taught me… I just hope that I can one day pass on the same knowledge to someone else.
Outside of a very select few, you can ask any nba player if their career has gone how they thought it would and I can almost guarantee they’ll answer with a resounding “no”. Part of what makes it possible for anyone to make it to this level is the lifelong dream/desire to be the best that’s ever done it. To be a star. A legend. Like Mike. Now obviously not everyone can become that but you can’t deny it’s importance in developing your skill and love for the game. I could be wrong but I think you’d be hard pressed to find a child who’s dream is to be a role player. Yet, 90% of this league is exactly that, and for every role player in the league there’s dozens of players on the outskirts, desperate to get a foot in the door. None of us saw ourselves crammed on a bus on a 3 hour drive with a driver who must wear out his brake pads every trip. Now in my 3rd year I’m here in Frisco, TX to play with our D-league affiliate. Like what I mentioned earlier, this isn’t the path I saw my career taking. But here I am…and to be honest, I’m ok. Not to say I’m satisfied in any way shape or form, but because this is my path. This is my journey. Like every other player in this locker room this is a stepping stool to another destination. So for now, Frisco is my favorite place on earth.
January…it’s finally over. This may only be my 3rd professional year but even I can tell you that January was something else. The Thunder schedule alone provided only 9 total days in Oklahoma City throughout all of January, and when you’re in my position, splitting time between NBA and D-League, the time gets even shorter. In total I spent about a week in my own home this month. Don’t get me wrong, the opportunity to travel and see things most people will never get the chance to is something I appreciate, but along with that comes the side affect of never being home. If I lived alone that may be no big deal but I’ve got people at home that I miss every second I’m away. Now that January is finally over I’m sitting here in my home loving every minute. I guess that’s a benefit of all this travel is I’ve begun to truly appreciate my home and what comes with it. I love every second of my time here with the people and the things that I love. But I never regret the opportunity to go out on the road and play the game I love and give the ones I love a life we used to dream about…
Call it what you want but I love zoos. And with how many different cities I get to visit I figure…why not? It’s easy to relate to these animals in a way. There they are displayed for our entertainment/viewing pleasure while we remain unaware of the lives these animals lived prior to captivity, or outside the 9 hours per day the zoo is open. Sound familiar? Beyond any of the symbolism I’m trying to convey…it’s hard to ignore the raw beauty that exists here. I’m just trying to capture it.
I guess for my first blog post it’s only right that with it I include the first photos I edited that essentially got me hooked on the photography and editing. I’m by no means a pro or highly knowledgeable…but it’s a process, like anything else. What a lot of people may not know (at least I didn’t) is how much free time there is in this life. You spend 3-4 hours at the gym…what are you gonna do with the other 20-21? If you don’t find that thing to fill that space or at least offer a temporary distraction you can find yourself in a bad place. We are more than what we do…we have dreams, aspirations, hobbies…lives. I guess this is a peek into mine.