“I remembered a day when I learned that lesson the hard way. My grandmother’s house functioned as a neighborhood foster home, and she took in kids whose parents couldn’t care for them for some reason or another.
But whatever their stories were before, my grandmother would take them in, receive a small stipend from the county, and make them, for as long as they lasted, part of our family. We ate together and played together all day long.” (p.12)
“But playing basketball with Frank made me angry in a way that nothing else did. I knew I had to keep it in check because he was my big brother. So I swallowed it and learned how to use it to play. It was like a performance-enhancing drug. One hit of it and suddenly I could run faster, jump higher, and get to the hoop quicker. ” (p.16)
“He didn’t make you feel like you had to be someone other than who you were, and I appreciated that.” (p.42)
“See, any kind of greatness takes work. Everyone knows that. But what fewer people understand is that work itself takes faith. You have to have faith that the work you’re doing will bring results.” (p.42)
“In some sense that eighth-grade year was a blessing in disguise. I began to take my first step back from the game.
I started watching the other players more closely. I started seeing the movement on the floor from a different perspective: This guy likes to stay in the corners, and if I can find him when he’s open he can maybe knock down a shot. This guy is just learning how to cut. There were moments that season when it almost felt like the game was happening in slower motion. Once my focus was off my defender and how I could beat him, it was like a whole other layer of basketball opened up to me.” (p.45)
“It was a hard choice, a choice between who people wanted me to be and who I wanted to be. I was supposed to bring pride to Southeast, which had always like something of a underdog in Springfield sports.
Do you stay where you are because it’s what everyone else is doing? Or do you go away, disappoint some people you love, and shoot for something bigger?” (p.46)
“I was a craftsman, I had a craft. My whole days were spent in a laboratory going deep into the minutiae of the game with Juice cheering me on. He used to call me Franchise. Good shot, Franchise. Pick it up Franchise. Move your feet. Arms up, arms up Franchise!” (p.50)
“How can I describe my relationship with Rich McBride? He would become my closest friend during those high school years. Not necessarily because we were so naturally compatible but because we shared one thing in common: an absolute blinding obsession with the game.” (p.52)
“That was when I started thinking about the strategy of basketball and about the business of it. Not just about how to build something for today but how to position a project for long-term success. Rich was impressive to me because, for him, all of that doubt went in one ear and out the other. He took the ball as a starting freshman and didn’t back down.” (p.53)
“At the end of the day, they’re only looking out for themselves. I never confronted him about that, but it taught me a new level of the game.” (p.55)