“Consistency is boring.”
I was ear hustling a convo at the airport and heard this in response to a statement regarding LeBron James’ career statistical steadiness on the eve of what looks to be his seventh consecutive NBA Finals appearance.
Similar things had been uttered about Floyd Mayweather, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots… even the San Antonio Spurs over the past almost twenty years.
There must be something to being “boring”.
But, on a planet enraptured with the movements of a family with little to no appreciable skill outside of drama and multiple cosmetic surgical procedures or a man so grossly unqualified for the office he holds, it might stand to reason that the opening adage might not be necessarily true for some.
My Father once told me:
Be Consistent In This Life, Son!
Whether Consistently Good Or Consistently Bad, Be Consistent!
Whether or not I had taken his words to heart, deeds and actions can be subject to interpretation; I’m still writing chapters.
What can’t be disputed is the depth and breadth of the man’s imprint on the fabric of my Life.
When I was eleven, my father abused me mercilessly on the court.
He pushed, prodded and provoked the worst in me, exclaiming it to be a necessary evil not only for the wars I’d face through basketball, but also in Life.
It didn’t matter.
I hated him for it at the time and all I could see was getting better so he could never beat me again… in anything!
That Fall and Winter, I played alone everyday; working on skills I’d learned battling bigger, stronger, smarter and better players.
Yet all I could see was Him.
Risking frostbite, shoveling snow off outdoor courts to practice at night in mittens and gloves by the light emanating from the headlights of his car, I worked in silence.
Tears damn near frozen to my face, I had but one goal…
The next Spring, I was ready… or so I thought.
As we headed to the court, my nerves and my ego waged an epic battle.
Game 1: 12-7.
“Oh… Someone’s Been Working On Their Game?”
Fouls, pushing, shit talking… Worse than they had ever come from my LifeGiver.
I remained silent; vigilant.
Game 2: 12-4.
Game 3: 12-2
Game 4: 0-0
“My Back Hurts. Let Me Stretch A Bit.”
My Father left the court that day, never to play me in one-on-one again and only once stepping on a court with me once after that, to play H-O-R-S-E in Germany and talk to me about my travels in Europe during my university summers.
My Dear Ol’ Dad (Bless The Dead) would have celebrated another birthday recently.
Celebration was not something I witnessed the man do in any outwardly visible fashion.
Maybe it was a circumstance of a time long gone with the “Strong, Silent” type of man…
Perhaps it just wasn’t his thing.
I can’t very well ask him now.
Whatever the case, much of how I see the world was shaped in early, everlasting lessons from the man.
Recalling another recent conversation where I was an active participant, there was an interesting supposition posited by one of the parties in the chat.
“If Vincent Lamar Carter Possessed The Valentine And Testicular Fortitude Of Michael Jeffrey Jordan Or Kobe Bean Bryant, We Are Talking About An All-Time Great.”
I said it.
Thinking about my interactions with Vince during his time in Toronto, this notion doesn’t seem all that far fetched to me.
As a now – 40 year old free agent who played well enough in Memphis to warrant more than a couple calls from a team on the cusp of some special things in need of a quality veteran leader who was a 39% 3PT shooter both in his time as a starter and key cog off the bench last season, I’ll throw something else out in the hoops atmosphere:
Bring Vince Carter Home, Toronto.
Yeah, the relationship ended acrimoniously amidst claims of Carter quitting on his team and duplicitous behavior, but somehow along the way the “crybaby” who many still decry for putting his university graduation before the franchise’s first-ever playoff Game 7 is also guilty of the following:
Masai Ujiri and the Raptors just lost their General Manager and lots of upheaval seems to be on the horizon for a squad that fell two games short of the NBA Finals in 2016.
In reshaping the roster to do more than compete at the top of the Eastern Conference, Vince’s free agent status is serendipitous with former GM Jeff Weltman departing for the Magic Kingdom and my desire to apply for the gig, even if only in this article.
Not only would I love to see Carter’s narrative end in a Raptor uniform, Prodigal Son returning to right the wrongs and close his Hall of Fame career in style and grace, but I would dive head first into my job as GM in this way:
2017-2018 Toronto Raptors, Coached By Jerry Stackhouse, Might Look Like This:
PG- Cory Joseph
SG- DeMar DeRozan
SF- Norman Powell
PF- Carmelo Anthony
C- Serge Ibaka
Vincent Lamar Carter
Anthony Leon Tucker, Jr.
Vince Carter is one of the NBA’s most unique athletes ever.
There may never another to have been voted the greatest dunker in the Association’s long existence, doing things like this:
But also sit in the Top 5 of all-time three-pointers made in the NBA, at least currently.
Coming full circle to help the Raptors achieve unprecedented heights in a highlight-filled career in front of a country of pro basketball fans that grew with him would be one hell of a swan song.
But… there is something else.
Bringing Vince back to Toronto would also give him a chance to redeem takin’ an L to one of his camp conveners in a game of Two Dribbles.
You guessed it.
His face told the tale that day after the game in a flick we took with one of the campers, my ManChild.
I got him 5-2 at the end of camp one day, not necessarily because I was better.
That would be patently false.
I was just ready for the moment.
My Daddy Tools.
I want My Dear Ol’ Dood (Bless The Dead) to know that I am thinking of him.
We had so much more to learn together, but not enough time…
So many opportunities to grow an even greater relationship…
I hope that somehow you can feel the impact of my efforts to help lead the family you were a huge part of starting.
I wish you could see the men and women your progeny have become and will be.
I wish you could enjoy seeing your grandchildren as evolving, unique and very special beings…
I wish you could be here to walk these steps together with my Queen Mother in the Autumn of her years…
My Love for you has been complicated at times, primarily by my youth and lack of understanding the world in which you lived…
My resentment no longer exists.
But know this:
My Love for you is also unyielding, unrelenting and undeniable.
These here are My Daddy Tools…
You are missed.
We’ll keep carrying the torch.
In Your Name,