Tuesday, July 22, 2014

MCW - Rookie of the Year

"Oh Lord, I'm the rookie and the vet…" @Drake

A year ago, the Philadelphia 76ers traded away All-Star Jrue Holiday, and their immediate future depended on the 2013 NBA Draft.

Playmaker

Michael Carter-Williams dazzled fans while proving a lot of people wrong about his game and toughness. By the end of the season he walked away with a solid start to his professional career, and he has the hardware to prove it. He won the NBA Rookie of the Year award, giving Philadelphia a much needed bright spot in the midst of a 19-win season.

I had an opportunity to ask Carter-Williams about his basketball journey from childhood to the present day:



Words and photo: @axgilbert

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Spotlight

"Now the boy is the man..." - Drake

The Philadelphia 76ers are getting national recognition...and the main ingredient to the team's early success is Michael Carter-Williams.

Consistency

The Sixers have been playing well since the season began last week, and while it is tough to gauge how things will play out, it's evident that this group of young talent, is doing their best to win games, and establish a blue-collar identity.

Carter-Williams has quickly become a fan favorite, however as a point guard he understands that everything is about the team and what he can do to make everyone better.

His low-key demeanor and never quit attitude will take him far as a professional athlete, especially in a city like Philadelphia.



Words: @axgilbert

Photo: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Full Circle


"Make me remember you, like you remember me..." - The Weeknd

The 1996 NBA Draft was one of the best ever, and last night the 13th-pick from that year continued to prove the doubters wrong.

I Told You So

Kobe Bryant was the first guard to successfully make the jump from high school to the pro ranks. People didn't believe he could survive with the Lakers, and the experts said that he did not have what it takes to have a long career. They were wrong.

The Bryant family hails from Philadelphia, and it was Joe Bryant who introduced Wilt Chamberlain to his 8-year old son Kobe. 26-years later, the saga continues as Kobe passed Wilt Chamberlain to become the 4th all-time leading scorer in league history.

Hollywood couldn't write a better script. The things Bryant has done, and is currently accomplishing on the basketball court is surreal.

The lesson in this is to never give up on your dreams, because they can and will come true.


Words: @axgilbert

Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Love and Basketball

"The same streets that raised you, can age you..." - Common - U, Black Maybe

Sports are a metaphor of our everyday lives. It's the reason why some people will defend their teams tooth and nail, or an athlete will push themselves to become the best they can be. My first love was and always will be basketball. Even now long after my playing days, I still find joy in the game that taught me a wealth of life lessons.

Live and Learn

A picture is worth 1,000-words, and while I'm not going to write that many things about the photo above, allow me if you will to shed some light on the subject. When Kobe Bryant declared for the NBA, he unexpectedly received a ton of backlash and hatred. Everyone felt that a 17-year old wasn't able to make such a bold decision, and that he should attend a major college or university like most high school graduates.

Bryant remained determined and on June 26, 1996, he was selected with the 13th-overall pick. Five-years later the Lakers defeated the 76ers in Philadelphia, and not only was Kobe right in following his heart, he emerged an NBA champion, to silence his critics.

As I look at the image, it reminds me to be totally honest with myself and everyone around me, stay the course, and remember that sports have and will continue to take me far.

I'm thankful for the game, the experiences, and the people it has bought my way.

Life is good.


Words: @axgilbert

Photo: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Beginning

"Now once upon a time, not too long ago..." - Jay-Z - 99 Problems

I've always had a passion for basketball. My older brother introduced me to the game, as he would often bring me to the playground while he would hoop for hours. Since I was younger and didn't understand the game...I was drawn to it by default. 

You always want what you can't have.

Solace

Once I learned the basic fundamentals, I never looked back. The sport has taken me far, as it continues to challenge and teach me about hard work, perseverance, and dedication.

Recently I was on Twitter congratulating the Lakers on a victory...when none other than Andre Iguodala wrote me back saying that I should learn to cheer for my hometown Philadelphia 76ers. I was surprised to say the least, and I defended myself by saying that I'm a Kobe fan...who is also a native of west Philly. Nevertheless, in the days following that exchange, I felt bad for not being a big advocate of the Sixers. 

Iguodala had a valid point, and today as we texted one another a Merry Christmas I thanked him for speaking his mind.

I'm always going to cheer for Bryant, but it's about time I pay closer attention to the home team in the Wells Fargo Center.

Words: @axgilbert

Picture: Associated Press

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Old School


"Give him an old face..."

Jay-Z - Streets is Talking

By now most people have seen the new Pepsi Max campaign, starring current Rookie of the Year Kyrie Ivring. For those of you like my sister that live under a rock...allow me to tell you how entertaining it is. It is by far one of the best commercials that I've seen in quite sometime, and I used to work for an advertising agency...but you don't have to take my word for it.

Future Star

Irving has an intriguing story of family unity, success, and sadness. In him, the Cavaliers franchise will have something to celebrate, and soon. Cleveland selected Dion Waiters last week in the draft, and I have a feeling that Waiters and Irving will complement one another's game very well.

Until the season begins, it would be nice to see if Kyrie's Uncle Drew shows up at some playgrounds and courts around the country to get buckets!

Stay tuned sports fans.



Words and picture: @axgilbert

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Thin Line


"First they love me, then they hate me, then they love me again..."


Jay-Z - Meet the Parents


Last week the Miami Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 121-106 to win their second championship in franchise history.


Destiny's Child


When the topic is LeBron James, people either hate or love him. This wasn't always the case...when he first entered the league in '03, he was praised as the boy who would be king, and now he has become a polarizing figure that has everyone choosing sides including members of the media.


Journalists are supposed to be biased...leaving their personal opinions at the press room door. James isn't the first athlete to have everyone turn against him, take Muhammad Ali for instance, he wasn't appreciated for who he was until he had been retired and away from the sport he helped to make great.


The facts are that LeBron R. James is the League and Finals MVP, and accolades aside, he has removed the albatross from around his neck. He has been on a path to acquire a championship, and now that he has tasted success at that level, he will only want more. 


It's a cycle that goes unquenched, and for basketball fans the time is now to buckle up and enjoy the next few years.


He should only be measured on what he does in between the lines of a basketball court. He's a professional athlete, so fans and the media alike should stick to the script and not worry about his personal life. We all make mistakes, he just makes his in front of the world, while most people do things anonymously.


Unfortunately perception is reality, but it's not always the truth.


Words: @axgilbert


Photo: Webster Riddick