Saturday, February 27, 2021

THE DOWNFALL of #THEMECCA: CULTURE VULTURISM (PART II)






Hold up, enough braggin', let's talk about the baggin' (yeah)

Talk about the money, when this business they staffin' (uh huh)
We'll milk the cows but they never put a calf in (tell it)
White men run us, they don't want this kinda passion
A black woman story? They don't want this kinda rapping (talk)
They love a fantasy, they love the gun bang action (talk)

What good is a black women to them? (yeah)

Raped us and slavery, they raping us again
Only put us on TV if our titties jiggling (uh)
Jay tried to give us Tidals and we giggling at him (damn shame)
But we ain't peeped the funny shit they doing (crazy) 
Chitlin' Circuit, mom and mop's store been ruined (crazy)
'Cause we wouldn't share the profit, we was all movin'
Now it's pennies on pennies, that don't make sense do it? (dollars)
We gotta stick together more than we has been (yes we do)
Beefin' with each other while they get rich laughing (come on bruh)

Mm, that's a no no (it is)

Bust my way through like Cleo with the ammo (baow)
On my own terms, I'ma take what's mine
Singin' day after day, you can sing that line"


"CLEO" - Rapsody (third verse)


HOT TAKE: 


In effort to gain "power", "clout" and/or the ability to sit at the table with dual motivated companies (those that profit from and exploit #theculture) - members of #theculture grant unbridled access to such companies. These companies create yearly "run off events" with the sole purpose of profit while easily $waying members of #theculture with  "crumbs" or "discount codes" which again benefit the dual motivated companies. 


This behavior of looking to profit from and exploit without GIVING back is akin to #theculture planting, growing and cultivating a tree's fruit only to allow the dual motivated companies to "swoop in" and pick the tree's prize without any regard for it's soil. And sadly, over years of such "abuse" the soil will NOT be fertile for the next generation of fruit.


So here we are today!


SUGGESTION

As the "media capital of the world", #theculture should look into creating and funding their own "showcase" events while offering weekly training sessions as well as ACADEMIC progress "check-ins" for players who are "UP NEXT".  To go a step further, perhaps even offer similar events for younger aged players with the intent of participating in the national televised event as they move up in age and ability. This event would be, OF COURSE, without AAU/grassroot interference (politics) and would be organized by a committee of "invested" movers and shakers within the tapestry of #theculture. Just a thought. 

Thursday, February 04, 2021

THE DOWNFALL of #THEMECCA: "LEGACY DEVELOPMENT (PART I)


'nyc downfall 1.PNG' failed to upload.



"I'ma true King, tryna raise a new king


I wanna show him stuff , how to do things


How to ride a bike, how to tie shoe strings


How to be a man, how to treat his boo thing


Gotta have a OG, to give you that "Go 'head"


I don't blame you dudes, I blame your old head


I know all about that, my Poppa wasn't down


Poppa used to come through, Poppa doesn't now


Shoulda' protected me, but Poppa wasn't 'round


So now I got this 9, that pop-a-dozen round


Them kids grow up quick, usually grow you up too


Turn you to a big dog, that's what having pups do


Did a lot, but I know I ain't done yet


Before it goes down, I make sure that my son set"



"YOUNG OG II" by Fabolous


HOT TAKE:


In hindsight, largely due to the "Reagan-nomic" mind set of the 1980's and 1990's, many pioneers of NYC's "Golden Era" focused on their status within the eco-system and in doing so did not create a culture of "legacy development".  As result, many in "power" today are in a weird position for they are essentially "trying to figure it out" which reminds us of the old adage "building the plane while flying it" .    


If there is any doubt of this reality ask yourself these three questions. “Who succeeded your favorite program once “the old head” decided to “moved on” then “Who did your favorite program “groom” to take over once he/she decided to transition to another “basketball lane” and finally "Who, of the forefather's have a proverbial "family tree" within the current eco-system?".


Being a "gatekeeper" should not be a singular generational topic, instead each "gatekeeper" should place a few youngsters under their wing and mold him/her to be able to carry on "tradition", create and maintain a system of checks and balances, as well as maintain and grow a self serving ecosystem that is not dependent of one person.  Sadly, although the "forefathers" created the BLUEPRINT they did not provide the necessary "carpenters" needed to build from their BLUEPRINT.   As a result, the "powers" of today mostly driven by money, clout and fame, have created a "WILD Wild West" landscape.  This "new frontier" has all but completely shredded the highly successful BLUEPRINT created by NYC's "forefathers".  


It is time to hold many of the current self proclaimed "gatekeepers" aka ADULTS accountable for NOT following the trail blazed by the forefathers at the same time hold the forefathers accountable for not providing a culture of (business) mentorship for the new generation.  




Monday, January 18, 2021

DIARY OF A BASKETBALL MOM (PART IV)




So since my last post, a lot has changed but to be honest I am in shock of how many others can relate to the reality of this “reality show” we call youth sports.

Anyway, back to it. 

My kid’s journey was filled with lots of ups and lots of downs. We learned a lot but also failed a lot too. I guess that is just part of the process and makes it all the more interesting. The most difficult part for me though, was seeing how, not the kids, but the adults would be so quick to tear down children and use them as pawns for their own personal gains and agendas.


Seeing my kid go from having fun and feeling confident in herself, to crying and feeling as though she did not want to play anymore, sent me to places mother’s should not have to go emotionally and spiritually...


I will say this! People are very lucky that I am not as crazy as some other parents!!!


Mama bears and papa bears out there know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. In the end all of it is a learning experience and an opportunity for growth.


We finished off her the first couple years with another level of understanding of how “the game” is played. We did what we could do to put her in a position to grow and get better, but the mental exhaustion was still too much.


As she got older and entered High school we chose to focus on that and try to let go of AAU for the moment. It took a lot for her confidence to return and it was a slow process.


What I realized needed to be done was a complete removal from the politics, the bullshit and the negative energy.


So we took a time out. I let her be a kid, have fun. Workout less, and have more free time.


I found trainers that focused on QUALITY over quantity. Genuine, caring, positive trainers that began to help her build her confidence.


People came to me to share how they felt she had been an amazing kid and a quality player. I shared all positive feedback with her.


I let her know that if people who have seen you from young and have watched your progress can see that you have potential, you have to believe it’s real.


Her confidence and game began to grow and her focus shifted.


She began to play “in the moment” and realized that her body could do things that she didn’t think it could.


She began to implement what she was learning and focused on “HER” style of play!


Our journey is not completely over, but it is at a pivotal stage. It’s make or break time for her and we will continue to follow the new path carved out for us.


It is still difficult not to allow social media hype and politics to creep in, but truly we understand that nothing is promised and all we can do is walk the path laid out and leave it ALL on the court at any given moment.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

THE DOWNFALL of #THEMECCA: "DIVIDE ET IMPERA" (PART 0)


Since most of my n****s won't ever work together
You run a check up but they never give you leverage
No red hat, don't Michael and Prince me and Ye
They separate you when you got Michael and Prince's DNA, uh


"What's FREE" MEEK MILL featuring Rick Ross and JayZ



HOT TAKE:


Although today a few of NYC's grassroot programs are under leadership of people FROM and OF #theculture, historically speaking, many were NOT.  Despite their intentions majority still operate from a vantage point different from #theculture as a whole.  


It is a known fact that youth basketball is a highly competitive and equally volatile space where artificial "beef" is created in an effort to serve a means to an end.  


We have seen it without seeing it, program A (MJ)and program B (Prince) both of whom are FROM and OF #theculture via their "coaches" aka infantry soldiers look to recruit a player for their respective teams. This goes on for some time and as a result program "employees" grow a pseudo "hatred" towards each other.  


This faux division merely serves as a distraction that is by most accounts fueled and flamed by "he say/she say" childish banter. This tactic seems to pit "employees" against each other and such division only intensifies the moment money, sneaker sponsored gear, and perceived clout are involved, but not for the "faces" of the programs but rather for the program's OWNERS.


So essentially MJ (program A) and Prince (program B) are butting heads over rumors, hearsay and half-truths.  This in of itself, is a classic case of "DIVIDE and CONQUER"and program's executive leader$hip thrive off of such dysfunctional

behaviors.


Imagine if "opposing" programs FROM and OF #theculture decided to WORK together as opposed to "fight" each other better yet, imagine a MJ and Prince collaboration.  



WOW.


Such a relationship would threaten many who profit from #theculture. And as pointed out in another song by Shawn Carter "Nobody wins when the family feuds."



#carryon




#crabsinthebarrel

#stockholmsyndrome

#willielynchsyndrome

#meritoriousmanumissionact





Thursday, November 26, 2020

DIARY OF A BASKETBALL MOM (PART III)

 


So let’s get back to the story...

Disclaimer! Events and situations have been changed to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings. LOL


Our intro into competitive AAU was initially a smooth one. Someone knew someone, who knew someone; and so it began... and what also began was the chipping away at the confidence and security - my athlete had before the journey began.


We experienced nepotism and favoritism to a degree that I was not prepared for. Her talents were no longer “good enough”. It became about playing her role and letting others shine on the court. Making friends with the right kids and forming alliances. I felt like I was in one of those competitive reality tv shows... While off the court it was. “show us what you got in practice and we will let you hit the floor.”


We never played by those rules because my kid is REAL... just like her momma. You either like us or you don’t... 


SIDE BAR: Every GOOD parent knows that in order for your child to grow, feel secure and progress they need nurturing and consistency. Inconsistency in ANY relationship breads insecurity and discord. 


But I digress. 


We were at every event, every practice and stayed loyal at all costs. Expecting for people to keep their word and to honor her hard work. But that didn’t change the fact that if she had a good game and outshone some, the next time she played her minutes were much less.


You tell me how that is fair/just for a kid? 


It became clear - she was not part of the agenda and was not supposed to shine. 


Her confidence dropped, and so did her interest in becoming better... 


But we pushed through and "trusted the process". 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

THE DOWNFALL of #THEMECCA: "GYM COSTS IN NYC" (THE PREQUEL)




Many within the world of basketball consider NYC #TheMECCA largely due it's long history of churning out top notch players.  As of late, such claims have been under attack by other cities however very few can dispute the influence of NYC on the basketball landscape, as a whole.  


There are a myriad reasons of why some no longer consider NYC as #TheMECCA but for this blog entry we will focus on an overlooked fact that has stymied NYC's basketball development and growth. 


NYC basketball is known for it's playground flair and overall toughness, however the landscape of basketball has changed.  Gone are the days of playing on the playground instead players of today can be found indoors working on the flair of yester year and not on relevant game tested skills such the ability to SHOOT.  


Having the means to rent a gym in NYC is rare for many trainers / coaches / parents for most are not in a position to a afford the steep prices of $125-150 per hour for a private court.  Yes, you read that correctly  $125-150 per hour.  "Awww, rent a gym in a school" pundits might say but although they are correct for the rental costs are lower it does not mean they will have access to a school.  To a certain extent, access is to a facility comes with knowing a principal or an administrator who is willing to allow an organization into the building.  By comparison gym rentals in cities such as Atlanta ($65), Seattle ($50), and states such as New Jersey ($50) and Pennsylvania ($65) per hour are very affordable for trainers / coaches / and parents to allow their trainee / child to "get some work' and NOT to mention the gyms in question are FAR superior to 99% of NYC rentable gyms. Granted NYC is expensive but NOT that damn expensive. And this is where NYC fails NYC. 


At any rate, we are aware that basketball is a business and like ALL businesses people must make money but it's getting to the point - as mentioned in a previous blog - GENTRIFICATION has caused players without financial means to be left behind. 


In conclusion, add NYC gym costs and it's impact on the play of players to the long laundry list of reasons adversely affecting NYC's status within the world's basketball community.



IN OUR UPCOMING "THE DOWNFALL OF THE #THEMECCA" SERIES WE WILL IN A VERY CREATIVE FORMAT LOOK TO BREAKDOWN (A FEW) DIFFERENT ISSUES THAT #THEMECCA WILL NEED TO ADDRESS IN ORDER TO REGAIN ITS FOOTING AS THE "EPICENTER" OF GRASSROOT BASKETBALL


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

DIARY OF A BASKETBALL MOM (PART II)




10 Things I wish I knew that you need to know... 

(In no particular order)



1. It’s NEVER that serious - Until your player hits high school. It’s all about learning the game, refining skills and gaining confidence.



2. Trust the process - Be patient with your athlete. Trust that the hard work and dedication they put in will come to fruition.


3. Trust your instincts - If you feel and see things are not ok in a team, in a coach, in a program... call it out, speak to who ever you need to speak to and if it doesn’t change, RUN... You are better off maintaining your athletes well being and mental health. Then “sticking it out” for the sake of loyalty or “potential” of the situation.


4. Don’t be fooled, it’s just as much about who you know as it is what you know. -The saying is The players who play are the ones who do all they are supposed to do”

... But that is not always the case. Some players play because they pay, because they have a name, because the coach likes them more, because the program director needs them to stay... understand that it is important to know the people who “run” the machine and know “how” the machine works. Make sure you meet informed parents, trainers and coaches who are willing to share with you what they know and ask ALOT of questions.


5. Take it slow, don’t rush into a “big brand” team until your child is ready to compete mentally and physically - Many of these “name brand” teams need to maintain a level of status and clout that can create a difficult and hostile environment. Don’t rush into it actually you should wait until your athlete is ready to compete against top players and is mentally strong enough more importantly CONFIDENT enough to do so.


6. Learn to play politician - You will have to learn the art of “making friends” and not always saying what you feel. Learn to listen more, talk less. Smile and be polite. Watch and observe and be careful who you surround yourself with. Not everyone needs to know your next move and not all people have your best interest at heart.


7. Be clear on your goals - Know what your athlete wants, what they need, what the end of the journey looks like and map out a plan on how to get there.


8. People lie - Self explanatory


9. Surround your child with positive, encouraging trainers and coaches - This is so important. The people who speak into your athletes life need to be genuine, real and loyal to your athlete. They need to know the goal and be part of the process. You and your kid must be comfortable with them and trusting in them


10. Teach your child to be a team player. But as a parent be loyal to no one... Very rare are the genuine and honest, programs, directors and coaches etc... -They all say we want to help them grow. “We want to help them in their journey. We are dedicated to the game and to ALL the athletes”… however reality is that this new era of programs look for clout, social media hype and profit. And many programs use the names of kids to gain that. So often times if you don’t have a “name” you are not as important. Talent can get you but so far in a world where people have their own agendas and reasons for doing the things they do. Not all programs are willing to put in the real work to help an athlete that needs to be pushed and nurtured into their role. So know your kid and what THEY need and find a place that fits.