50 THINGS THAT MAKE ME FEEL GOOD: ENTRY 4, “The Elegance of Basketball”

In an earlier post, I presented a list I compiled of 50 things that make me feel good. In a moment lacking inspiration, with over thirty minutes of my daily writing time still to fill, I needed something to go on—I found a middle school prompt that I initially thought would take mere minutes, but required the rest of my writing time for the day to complete. To expand on this writing project, I began an effort to discuss each of the 50 entries, and this post is a result of that project. Read the list at the original post, here.

The love I have for professional basketball began when I lived in Texas, and as a result, my all-time favorite team is the Houston Rockets. To be sure, what first attracted me to basketball was the smoothness of it when it’s really flowing. When the players are connected, tossing that basketball back forth without even glancing at one another, and running up and down the court with precision, basketball becomes a dance I can’t take my eyes off of—it is elegant.

Even today, almost twenty years after I fell in love with the game, in a time when the game has shifted from the passing game to the drive and shoot game, I see elegance in the sport. It is faster, harder, and more intense, yes, but the elegance still lurks underneath it all. The game has changed, but my love for it has only deepened.

Now, as a military kid (thanks for your service, Dad), I moved all over the United States. I fell in love with a lot of teams as I grew up with basketball. Once I was an adult, firmly grounded in one spot, I found myself with a ton of loyalties to consider in the game/dance of pro basketball. In the end, the Houston Rockets never stopped being my favorite team overall, but I did choose a team to support from each of the six divisions: Atlantic, Central, Southeast, Southwest, Northwest, Pacific.

The divisions are further divided into two conferences, the East and West. This all probably sounds a bit crazy, but I have an overall favorite, a favorite for each conference, and then a team I support in each division. This makes for many options when it comes to selecting basketball games to watch, but as a college graduate student, a mother, a wife, a part-time receptionist, and a near full-time writer, I’m forced to make some tough decisions about my time.

Most of the time, I don’t get to watch a lot of games, but when I do, they are usually Houston Rockets games. I follow everyone else on sports apps, my favorite being Bleacher Report. I do dabble in college basketball, also, but that’s another story for another post.

I thought I’d just talk about the teams I support from each division, in order from favorite to least favorite, of course:

Houston Rockets

Visit them at NBA.com.

As I already said, the Houston Rockets were my first love. I had a little pennant that hung on my wall when we lived in San Antonio, TX, reppin’ my support for Clutch City. The reason I am sporting (get it—sporting?) the picture of the basketball instead of a team logo itself is because I own that exact basketball. If that’s not team love, I don’t know what is. Though I don’t pretend to know everything about basketball now, I knew even less then—in fact, all I did know was that getting the ball into the hoop was good, and the teams should do that as much as possible. Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon were pretty cool dudes. That’s where the knowledge dropped, but I loved the game nonetheless. For a while, the Rockets had my all-time favorite player, too: Chandler Parsons. It was in the beginning, though, around 1995, that I picked up on the elegance. At that age, I was enrolled in a lot of dance classes—ballet, jazz, hip hop—and basketball seemed to dance to its own tune. I dig that still.

Washington Wizards

Visit them at NBA.com.

Location had a lot to do with my falling in love with certain teams over the years. Washington, DC is extremely close to an area I lived in when I resided in the beautiful state of Virginia. To clench my love of the Washington Wizards, I would end up getting married in DC in 2010. If we are talking modern day reasons for love, though, I’ll say that I’m a big fan of Marcin Gortat. From his skills to his hair to his practical jokes (did everyone see when he snuck into the opposing team’s huddle?), he makes me smile. My favorite pair of sleep shorts are Washington Wizards themed, but if we’re not close enough for that yet, just scratch that last thought. I wouldn’t want our writer/reader relationship to become awkward.

Milwaukee Bucks

Visit them at NBA.com.

Fear the deer, guys! This is one of those few teams I fell in love with without a location basis. In fact, you’re going to make fun of me, but I’m not going to keep this blog alive if I can’t be honest. I fell in love with the Milwaukee Bucks because it was my favorite team when I first started playing the video game NBA2k. Yes, I said it. A video game instilled my loyalty to the Milwaukee Bucks. That’s not accurate—it initiated my loyalty, but Ersan Ilyasova sealed that loyalty. In a recent tragedy, my man Ilyasova was taken by the Detroit Pistons, a team that will never find their way onto my list. However, I’m loyal to the Bucks now, and there really is no going back.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Visit them at NBA.com.

Man, did my Timberwolves struggle last season. My hat is collecting dust in the bottom of my drawer because I was a bit scared to wear it. No—not really. I just didn’t wear it because I lost 100 pounds in 2014, and none of my new clothes match the blue. I really do need to rectify that situation. However, I will say this about the Wolves. Ricky Rubio is a solid player, Andrew Wiggins is an amazing new talent, and the recently drafted (No. 1 pick!) Karl Anthony Towns is going to be an excellent addition. I fell in love with the Timberwolves watching them play once, by chance, before any of these people were even in the picture. It was solid enough I kept watching, though, and I’ve been supporting the Minnesota Timberwolves ever since.

Boston Celtics

Visit them at NBA.com.

The Boston Celtics is the only team I fell in love with based on location despite having never lived there or even near there. Brace yourself—I’m about to drop some knowledge on you. Boston is named after a place in England, which I always thought was cool. I am a bit of an anglophile (maybe more than a bit), so when I found out there was a location in the United States (staying patriotic, see?) that had a connection with English culture (getting my anglophile on, see?), I could never quite shake that fact. There it was—a way to merge my love for the United States, UK culture, and basketball—all in one. That all aside, the team can rock sometimes. Not recently, maybe…as confirmed by a passerby’s comment on my Boston Celtics t-shirt last season  (“Oh, too bad, they suck this year”), but I do think they rock some seasons. It’s like any pro basketball team—greatness comes in waves.

Sacramento Kings

Visit them at NBA.com.

If I had lived in California just a few years later than I did, the Sacramento Kings may be my all-time favorite team overall. The cards didn’t fall that way, though, and my heart attached to the Houston Rockets instead. However, I did live in California, and when I was looking for a team in the Pacific to support a few years back (I said noooooo way to the Golden State Warriors—oops?), the Sacramento Kings seemed the best option. They aren’t much to speak about on the playing level either, lately, and I don’t have a lot of love for the NBA star DeMarcus Cousins, but I do have a lot of love for Nik Stauskas. Stauskas plays for the Kings now, so it gives me something to hope for in general [*edit: Sadly, that hope was dashed as Stauskas was traded to the 76ers on July 1st, after I compiled this blog post]. This is by far my weakest loyalty, but it is a loyalty I claim nonetheless. Give that pro basketball wave a few years and it will catch up with the Kings, for sure, but for now…I just keep trying to stop my cats from tearing the Kings sticker off my college trunk.

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