Thursday, January 27, 2011

I Love Basketball Again...

OK, maybe love is a strong word.

How about: I am very interested in certain players in both professional and college basketball again.

In high school and college I really followed basketball on both levels.  Never really had a favorite player or a favorite team.  I just loved the competition involved and the enthusiasm of college fans in particular.  Shortly after the early to mid 90's though, my interest waned and dropped to the point of disinterest and derision.  I couldn't stand the "new breed" of players like Iverson, Kobe and to this day their ilk like Lebron.

Some players of late--Deron Williams of the Jazz for instance, have popped back up on my radar.  Players who excel due to a rare combination of not just talent but hard work, determination and quiet force of will.  It's not just a track meet or mere exhibition of physical skill, its a gorgeous mix of strength, speed, intelligence, perception and selflessness.

This growing re-interest in basketball has recently culminated in observing two players, one college, one pro that embody everything I enjoy about basketball:  Jimmer Fredette of BYU and Blake Griffin of the LA Clippers.

The two couldn't be more different.  One excels at the inside game, the other is deadly from the outside.  One is a staggeringly athletic freak.  The other more "normal" in appearance and attributes but in reality is anything but.

Blake Griffin will be the NBA Rookie of the Year for the '10-'11 season and Jimmer Fredette leads the nation in Division I scoring is likely to lead his BYU Cougars deep into the NCAA Tournament.  Each has been the most dominant player in their respective leagues at times this year.

If you don't know Jimmer Fredette, you owe it to yourself to watch him play some of these last few games he will play in college over the next two months while with Griffin you likely (baring injury) have a more extended period of time to admire from afar.  I think you'll agree that even if you don't enjoy all aspects of basketball, if you are a fan of effort, heart and emotion over flash and trash, that it was worth your time to sit back and enjoy.

Jimmer Fredette ESPN Page...

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