When I was 14 years old, my brother joined the Air Force. He came back home almost a decade later with a lot of stories and a copy of NBA 2K.
I remember coming home late one night -- either from work or class -- to my brother playing NBA2K on the largest television in our house. As I walked through the door, I heard the audio from the video above playing out:
"... giving up is not an option, and when you feel like you’ve reached your limit, it’s only the beginning, that’s when it’s time to dig deep, to find the courage to push some more, because if you’ve got the drive, the discipline, and the resolve to do what it takes to make yourself great, then the rewards are endless."
Even though I barely knew who LeBron James was at the time. His words hit me. They hit me hard.
After being hit with what felt like a freight train I thought about how I needed to change and if I even wanted to. I had spent the past couple of weeks ditching class, barely cutting it at work, and taking any chance to get into a party.
I was in a terrible place. I, somehow, stopped caring. Stopped wanting to live. Not in the binary live/die sense. I just wanted to exist. I wanted to be in the world and that's it. I felt uncomfortable at home, with friends, at work, and in public. Actually, I barely even felt.
That was, until my brother made me watch a Knicks game with him.
Listen, I never liked team sports. I grew up on skateboarding, cigarettes, staying out late, and causing trouble. So sitting down to watch the New York Knicks play didn't sound like an amazing idea. But I had nothing to do and there was nothing else on television, so I sat down next to him.
As the game went on, my brother and I started connecting. It was weird, growing up I always felt like we were polar opposites. But here he was sitting next to me, drink in hand, explaining the plays to me, explaining who the players were, and there I was, drink in hand, engaged. Hanging on every word.
By the 4th Quarter we were both yelling at the television set. We were hugging (something we rarely used to do, by the way) and high-fiving. We were bonding. We were laughing. And more importantly, I was feeling something again.
Ever since then, my brother and I try to watch every game we can. We spend as much time as we can together. Not for any other reason than we want to.
And these days, I love basketball. It's to the point where some of my old friends are dumbfounded, they can't believe that I got into sports. For a while, I would just say, yeah I guess I like it now.
But the truth is, I love basketball because it helped me reconnect with my brother after not seeing him for most of my life. I love basketball because it helped remind me what it's like to feel excited about something. I love basketball because it helped me love again.