Hey, how are ya?!
Tonight is my fifth-year reunion from Lawrence Academy High School. I had a great high school experience filled with a ton of wonderful memories. Leading up to the reunion, I have been reminiscing about those memories; my favorite of which is what I call, “Dunk City.” Dunk City is what I refer to when speaking about the moment that I scored a basket at our senior day game when I was the manager of the basketball team.
A few days before the big game, Coach Kev, our head basketball coach, asked me on my way to class if I wanted to score a basket in our senior game – just a layup or something easy. Being the stubborn kid that I am and not wanting to somehow embarrass myself while walking with FA, I told him no way.
While in class, I couldn’t stop thinking about Coach Kev’s offer and that I said no to him. I knew it was finally time to stop hiding the fact that I had FA and not let it control a great opportunity for me. So, after class, I texted Coach Kev two words: “I’m in.” He responded to my text saying how happy he was that I came around to the idea but little did he know, I’d only do it under a few conditions.
So, later that day, Coach Kev came to the student lounge where the team and I were hanging out and asked what my conditions were. I told him that I’d only do it if I could dunk. He laughed, but I was dead serious. I said, “Coach, I only weigh like 140 pounds and Daquan Sampson, our starting center, squats 220 pounds and is 6’8’, so I can just sit on his shoulders and he’ll raise me up. Coach Kev then said, “Alright let’s do it, but we better practice it first.”
So, the practice before the day of the game, we rehearsed the play. Our point guard, Darrien “Chaz” Myers, took the tip-off to start and passed the ball to our small forward, Jalen Myrie. Daquan and my twin brother Sean ran under the basket to hold me up. Jalen passed the ball to Sean while I climbed on Daquan’s shoulders. After passing the ball to Sean, Jaylen and Darien helped Daquan to make sure that I wouldn’t fall. Once I was steady, Sean handed me the ball and I went up for the slam.
On game day, I was nervous but also excited. Our team met together and huddled up before tip-off. Coach Kev said, “Joe, it’s the final time that I can ask if you want to back out.” My adrenaline at this point was through the roof, so I said, “Fuck that, let’s do it.” We all laughed and headed to our positions on the court. Dunk City went flawlessly, and after the big slam, I had the biggest smile on my face and was filled with joy for the rest of the day.
So much attention came from that dunk, and it really helped me open up about FA and myself. Just writing this story has got me fired up and now I’m even more excited to see all of my old coaches, teachers, and buddies tonight at the reunion. You never truly know what an opportunity can turn into, so always be open to trying something new. You never know, that opportunity could turn into one of your fondest memories.