My dad taught me basketball. He taught me the importance of a good pass. He taught me how to make a layup. He explained why Phil Jackson started Luc Longley at center instead of Brian Williams. He's a huge part of why I love the NBA and an important influence in how I view the game.
He died today.
It didn't come as a surprise. They found the cancer a few months ago. It was already Stage 4, it had spread beyond his prostate and metastasized into his bones. Towards the end he was in so much pain that his passing is a mercy.
He had his heart attack in March of 1998. I sat in the emergency room waiting area watching March Madness as doctors worked to save his life. We got another good 19 years of what we called borrowed time. But basketball is ingrained into my memories of that night.
During that extra time he saw me graduate high school, then college, get married, and the birth of his three grandsons. My dad lived a good life. He thought it was great that I wrote for Sactown Royalty. He thought it was really cool that I got to talk with Jerry Reynolds on the podcast. He thought I should curse less in my articles.
A few days ago, on a pretty bad day, my dad was pretty heavily sedated. He still lit up when he saw I was there to visit, and in his drugged stupor he told me that DeMarcus Cousins was an interesting guy, and that he had read "that garbage article from Ailene." These observations weren't based in any recent events, just random memories, but they made me laugh.
Yesterday he was doing a bit better. We talked about De'Aaron Fox (my dad thought he was pretty good), and how the game has changed over the years.
I owe a lot to my dad. He's why I became a basketball fan. NBA games on TNT were always on as he made dinner in the evenings. He's where I got my sense of humor. I'm going to miss the hell out of him. If your parents are still around, tell them you love them. I told my dad all the time, there's nothing that I feel was left unsaid, but I'll still miss being able to tell him.
The Jimmy V Foundation is a great organization you can donate to if you feel like supporting the fight against cancer.