And everybody shows up for a different reason. A potpourri of ballers:
Some guys come because they’re regulars. Used to seeing all the fellas on a daily basis.
Some show for the first time on a tip from a friend. Try their skills in the best pickup around to see if they can hang.
A couple of NBA cats roll through when it’s their off-season.
…Some guys pull in every day because they love talking trash. Barbershop talk in high-tops. They always have something to say when they score. They have something to say when anybody scores.
…Some of the best ballers roll in wearing a work shirt and jeans. Some of the worst have top-of-the-line sneakers, top-of-the-line gym shorts, the most effective and smooth-looking knee braces. Basketball runway show.
…Some cause it’s the only place in the world they get respect. The only place they have any real control.
But no matter who they are, or why they come, every one of them squints their eyes when they step foot out of the dark gym and back into the bright world that waits outside.
Ball Don’t Lie by Matt de la Pena (Delacourte Press, 2005) pp. 53-55.