I can say with confidence that it doesn’t matter if you play basketball for a living or if you are a veterinarian, what makes a year successful when you look back is if you can look in the mirror and feel good about the work you put in and the professionalism you displayed.
I am on the final lap of the season and we need to win at least 3 of our last 5 games to make the final 8. This would be huge accomplishment for this organization, one because they have never done it before, and two because we have endured a lot of adversity this season with injuries and personnel changes.
When I first arrived in Astana of course I was excited about them giving me a big contract, but I also wanted to make them feel like they made the right choice. One of the crazy things about basketball is as soon as you sign on the dotted line that money is guaranteed, regardless of what you produce.
We have less than four weeks until the last game of the regular season and once again I find myself saying time flies! I have to admit I am pretty bored right now because at this point in the season we only have one game per week, and the practices are short due to the wear and tear of a long season.
I am spending most of my free time watching TV, right now I’m watching Game of Thrones, Empire, and The Voice. American idol is pissing me off because the talent level is not what it used to be.
Music is really therapeutic to me and that show has always been inspiring to me watching people go after their goals. Obviously it is a pretty corny show but I find it really admirable watching the artists get up in front of millions of people and do their thing.
I have also been reading a lot, something that is pretty new for me. I have built a growing real estate portfolio, keeping in mind basketball doesn’t last forever. It is very important to me to invest my money intelligently and part of that is making sure that I know what I’m doing.
When I was younger reading was so boring to me because I wasn’t really hungry for knowledge. Now I find myself looking forward to reading because every new thing I learn I know I can put into play immediately and that motivates me.
This time of year it is important to balance the excitement of coming home and finishing the season strong. All the time I put in last summer and throughout this season was to prepare for when it counts.
I am having one of the best years statistically of my career so I know the work is paying off. But for me none of that matters if we don’t finish strong as a team.
I have another year on my contract so individually I am taken care of. Next season will dictate what happens moving forward as it will be my “contract year”. But most of my teammates will be free agents and I want to make the final 8 for them and for the organization because we deserve it. I have seen these guys fight hard all year long, they may not have the most talent in the world but these guys out here work their butts off and I respect that.
Four of our last five games are on the road so we have our work cut out for us and even with three wins we aren’t guaranteed to get in but we should. It’s exciting to have something to play for this time of year because I have been in the shoes of the guys just counting down the days and that is for the birds, no competitor enjoys that.
Although there are a lot of players who cash their checks and go home and relax, I will never be that guy. The day I am is the day I will hang it up. I know too many players who would kill to play ball for a living and I owe it to them to respect the game.
Less than four weeks to go, like I said time flies but part of me wishes it would slow down. I will be 32 next season and with each year that goes by I’m one year closer to the day I have nightmares about.
I watched an interview today and Steve Nash said that all athletes die twice. The first time you die is when you retire from the game that has defined you. I pray I have plenty more years of high level basketball in me but at some point all good things come to an end.
At this point I feel great and I’m working everyday to take care of my body and make the necessary sacrifices to keep the odds of a long career in my favor.
However the season ends up I’m looking forward to getting back to Maine and spending time with my family and friends. I always start to miss home this time of year as well, can’t sugar coat that, being overseas is still being away from home.
Hope this finds everyone well, my mom told me the winter is still trying to stick around in Maine, it definitely is here too!