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"I can't believe we all shot at the same time"
"I can't believe we all shot at the same time"
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

I knew my wife and I would be renting our current place in L.A. five seconds after we walked in to see it. My wife walked in the door, saw the pretty living room and fireplace, and softly said, "wow". A smart man knows when to listen to wow.

My conversion came about five minutes later, out in the backyard.

There, I found a basketball hoop on the edge of a 20' by 20' concrete pad. The backboard may have been half-detached, the hoop may have been rusted through, and the net may not have actually existed, but I saw a lot of post-work sky hooks in my next several years. Getting that hoop back in shape quickly was the smartest twenty bucks I've ever spent.

I found basketball when looking for "my own sport" as a kid growing up in Southern California. I was fascinated by the differences in the game to my parents' favorite sports, baseball and football. The smaller team, smaller court, and constant action kept me glued to my TV or radio every game night, I and spent countless evenings running solo drills in my driveway, with a hoop my stepdad put up hanging off the front of the garage. Because I grew up on the Showtime Lakers, I practiced Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's sky hook:

Jamaal Wilkes' wind up:

(Wilkes was an amazing shooter, but trying to learn this motion as a little kid was just... so... dumb.)

Magic Johnson's reverse layup:

I tried for Magic's passing as well. I put targets all over the garage door, and would bounce pass at them for hours. When I missed the target, the old garage door banged like a gunshot. The guy who lived on that side, Mr. Papakonstantinou, must have wanted to effing kill me. That, and his two daughters, led me to believe he might hate me. Did hate me.

Someone at work a couple days ago asked me, "Why basketball?" inquiring as to why it was my favorite sport. That, and the dog days of the summer break gave me a moment to wonder, for myself and hopefully for you in the comments below.

Why basketball?

Basketball because of Magic and Kareem and all of Showtime.

Basketball because of Dikembe Mutombo and LaPhonso Ellis and the 93-94 Nuggets.

Basketball because of Carmelo Anthony with no time left from wherever. You knew it was going in.

Basketball because I always shoot around with my best friend whenever there's a hoop. Whether in the snow, or at two A.M., or in a hotel parking lot, or in a church gymnasium, wherever. Nearly all of our dearest friends love to do the same. It's a laugh riot for two-to-eight of us, and my friend and I spent last a bit of last weekend creaking around the concrete pad when he came to visit.

Basketball because Chauncey Billups almost took his hometown all the way. From a hometown Coloradoan, Chauncey has slowly climbed the ladder as one of my favorite Nuggets in his all-too-short second stay with the team.

Basketball because David Thompson was so good, you could fall for him after the fact.

Basketball because Michael Jordan came back.

Basketball because of LeBron James falling to the court in tears. Because of a few of the unintelligible noises I made watching Steph Curry's holy-shit shots last year.

Basketball because my six-foot tall gorgeous wife rocks an Earl Boykins jersey. And plays a mean game of strip basketball. Yes, I'm a lucky mother---ker.

Basketball because I believe that, even in my fatness, I could still get a shot over the top of the likes of Andy Feinstein or Adam Mares. And I'm 6'2". A couple of very tall gents, both of them... and because Jeff Morton could probably beat all three of us, and he's at an even greater height disadvantage. I say that, not knowing if Jeff actually plays basketball.

Basketball because of the excellent writers and community I am part of, both on this site and within the broader NBA crowd.

Basketball because of the group of gentlemen I see making up this next years' group of players, coaches, and the rest of the organization of this next year's Denver Nuggets.

Basketball because there is a poetry to how the game is played, and yet there has probably never been a sport more improvisational. Thousands of styles played by individual players and teams over the years, and so many of them have shown themselves to be successful.

Basketball because a kid of any size, height, race, origin, location, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or economic condition can play.

Odds are awfully good you're here because of basketball, Nuggets Nation. Whether it's your favorite sport or not, a question for you...

Why basketball?