To be one of the best at Sports, at an international level, there is a razor sharp edge to walk between dedication and obsession. In Basketball, many point to Hall of Fame Players like Michael Jordan, the late Kobe Bryant and others of their ilk as examples to emulate, and witnessing their portfolio of accomplishments, plus their lasting legacies, why wouldn’t they?
Oh, i consumed all the raving around MJ in the 90’s, my 2nd Pair of BBall Kicks, ever, was the Air Jordan 6, i was taken in by the glitzy Ads and the larger than life Persona built up around his Airness. But i also read “The Jordan rules” when it was published. Saw what was reported about his off-court exploits and demeanor.
Mike was indisbutably a Killer oncourt. So graceful, so tenacious, unrelenting and mostly unstoppable. He also was, and by some accounts, still is, a highly unsympathetic Person. (The Last Dance was fun wasn’t it?). To me, it seems there is a harsh price to pay for being at the Mount Olympus of human achievement: the singular focus dulls one’s… empathy, for lack of a better word .
I’ve been fortunate to meet and at times practice or scrimmage with more than a handful of NBA Players, even some Legends of the Game. Kobe, Dirk, Bogut, half the ’08 Celtics, Horford and a few more. Interactions, depending on setting, ranged from polished, cold professionalism to utter delight (i hold Nowitzki in very high esteem).
Very happy to say that our collective experience with New Zealand National Team Player, Allstar and Champion, Jordan Ngatai, falls into the latter category: delightful.
Between December 2022 and early February of this Year, Ngatai repeatedly took time out of his busy schedule to practice with Entourage Basketball Inc., even joining us for 2 Games.
Being his main contact to the Club, i can confirm that every single interaction with him was stress-free and friendly and as expected from a Pro, he was as reliable as they come. It was a coup for us having him join the first time, but having him return Week after Week was a treat for all of us.
True Pleasure having such an accomplished Player affirming our little collective with his continued presence this Year and we wish him and his Family all the best on their endeavours back in New Zealand. Also looking forward to seeing him shine on his new NZ-NBL Team, the Hawkes’ Bay Taylor Hawks. Plus, the World Cup is just around the corner too, rooting for him to make the Tall Blacks’ Squad.