In honor of me turning 30, I’m compiling 30 different top-30 lists on a wide variety of topics ranging from trivial interests of mine to meaningful life moments. Read the introductory post for more background information on my 30 at 30 project. Reminder: there is no scientific rationale for these lists. They were composed by a panel of one—me.
Basketball has been part of my life since about the time I could walk.
As a kid, I watched my cousin Keith Nies and the Cathedral Prep Ramblers compete in three state championships, including the 1996 showdown with Lower Merion and Kobe Bryant. I had dreams of following in his footsteps, lacing up my sneakers for the orange and black, earning a Division I scholarship, and playing in the NBA. I never realized any of those dreams. After playing freshmen and junior varsity basketball for Prep, I was cut from the varsity team as a junior, steering my basketball career into another direction playing in the local CYO league for my home parish of St. Jude.
Although my basketball career fell a few steps short of a Hall of Fame enshrinement, I’ve had more than my fair share of shining moments. They may not have been ESPN or even Erie Times-News headline worthy, but they stand out in my memory just the same. To this day, basketball is entangled in my identity—player, coach, fan, student of the game. My relationship with the game changes and evolves depending on my role in it, but I cannot imagine my life without basketball being a part of it.
As I approach age 30, it’s pretty clear that my best basketball-playing days are behind me. Still, I plan to continue to find opportunities to play as long as my body will still allow it. Whether it’s a game of H-O-R-S-E or P-I-G at a family bonfire or a student-faculty game at Prep, if there’s a court calling my name, I’m going to answer.
In my life, I’ve had the pleasure of playing basketball in a variety of different places and in different contexts. Click to read the full list counting down the top 30 places I’ve played.