THE RISE & FALL OF THE NYC HOOPS EMPIRE

I love the way this guy writes but I DISAGREE WITH EVERYTHING HE SAID in his post The Rise & Fall Of The NYC Hoops Empire on GothamHoops. read his article. Make a comment. Share your opinion. My response to his article is:

It is easy to blame the NYC Department Of Education for a lot of things because the current system often engenders and supports failure but blaming the DOE for the demise of basketball in NYC is a stretch in anyone’s imagination. We can go round and round about how to best serve a population that is beset with low income and even lower aspirations and self esteem but public school hasn’t taken away basketball as an escape from poverty: it is often lack of personal commitment that leaves our kids short of a college education, career and shot at the NBA.

Teachers are coaches, life coaches (not just kids that show up from the suburbs who want to make a difference often unprepared for what they encounter). Basketball coaches use sports as a way to explore challenge, change, competition, losing and winning, all based on hard work. Running a fast break is one of life’s flashcards. Basketball is a subject we should all master. Fathers and mothers, their surrogates, mentors, brothers and sisters, friends, real friends, all help, all teach some of the lessons required for people, for student-athletes, to explore their potential. Some of those teachers don’t know the game; life or basketball, but they are not to be condemned. Some teachers, some coaches are better than others. Some of them should take up golf and stay away from kids. All types of teachers help students learn the game. Failing classes or standardized tests don’t make you a bad athlete but our current system requires you to be a student-athlete. If you want to be successful, you also have to work at being a student. Behavior and attitude towards education and learning in the classroom and on the court can make the difference in being a winner and success on and off the court.

Do today’s NYC PSAL basketball players really want to excel or as one kid told me, “I just want to Do Me”? Are they willing to put in the work? When was the last time a New York player was described as a Total Package? “TP”, remember that expression. It was the kid that not only scored well but understood offense and made it work on any team he played for. A TP was a kid that was relentless on defense, not tough, relentless. A TP was a kid that went after every loose ball, ran every fast break, boxed out and jumped for every rebound, worked hard on every play.  A TP was that kid that wanted to win every game because he liked the challenge and he liked winning. And most importantly, a TP was a kid that appeared coachable, was willing to listen, learn and try. Often TP’s had powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men but most often they just worked harder than anyone else. The fall of NYC basketball was preceded and signaled by the growth of the NY Ballers Attitude. Ball players don’t walk on water no matter what television commercials make us think so how does an 16 year old become larger than life and labeled a phenom.

Basketball shouldn’t be about popularity and certainly not money in high school. It’s about personal expression, artistry through basketball. Someone that loves the game is willing to do whatever it takes to get where they want basketball to take them. Please don’t read that as a Hollywood cliché. Doing what it takes is positive and means getting up early to run stairs not traveling with an entourage. Putting in work means shooting before and after practice not checking out fans on Facebook. Getting the grades meant getting a tutor not a greater number of tweets on Twitter. When did basketball become fast food? Stop blaming McDonald’s for obesity. Stop buying their burgers and the BS about public school being responsible for the demise of NYC basketball.

For a long time now too many NYC ballplayers have been coasting on god-given talent and haven’t put in the work to be the best, to be a Total Package. They have this or that but they don’t have it all. There are plenty of kids in America that want a shot and are and have been putting in the work. Being a great basketball player is about personal commitment on and off the court. On-court practice is classwork and off-court practice (running, weights, etc.,) is homework. Games are the test of how well you’ve learned your lessons. Being a student-athlete also means working on real class work and homework. Foul shoots aren’t dropping, put in more time, fix your technique. Failing Math or English, study more, get a tutor. Don’t blame the coach because you missed a foul shot. Don’t blame the teacher because you failed a test. Yes, the coach or teacher may be at fault because they haven’t provided the right guidance or direction but is that really the case? The coach has never told his players to work on their foul shooting? Really? Never explained or showed them how to make a foul shot? The teacher never told their students they have to do the homework and study to pass the test? Really? Never told them what chapter to read and what questions to answer? So who’s fault is it that NYC basketball is not on-point? The Department of Education? Really?

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