Occupy NBA: In Light of the Lockout, Pick Up a Basketball

- November 7, 2011

"In light of the NBA lockout...maybe it's time we put down the remote and pick up a basketball."

I love basketball. As a kid, I idolized the likes of Muggsy Bogues, Spudd Webb, John Stockton and, of course, Air Jordan. As the sun would set on another Santa Fe afternoon, I'd play out the final seconds of an NBA championship game in my backyard – me, the dutiful point guard, bumping and weaving a line though a phantom defense. Five. Four. Three...I would often miss the fade-away three-pointer, at which point my internal clock would slow down just enough for me to grab my own rebound...Two...and score the winning layup. One! Cue victorious buzzer. Craig Ehlo collapses on the floor in defeat in front of me. The crowd goes wild.

I love watching pro basketball. But as the NBA lockout continues to devour our 2011-12 season, I find myself growing more and more weary of a league that seems to place more fervor on moneygrubbing than getting back on defense. Most readers don't share my heartache over the dwindling season. A recent study by Poll Position reports that 76 percent of Americans don't miss the NBA season, which was slated to begin on Nov. 1 and shows few signs of picking up anytime soon. OK, fine. Our collective ennui will save us from sports heartbreak once again (please refer back to MLB '94-95 strike). But does all of this nonsense mean our love for the game has to go the way of the Washington Bullets? No, not by a long shot.

In light of the NBA lockout, I propose we revisit some of the values we held toward sports when we were kids -- the values that made us fall in love with games in the first place. As youngsters we were mostly active participants in sports we loved. We used to play. More and more, we simply watch.

It's time we put down the remote and pick up a basketball. Now is the time to unearth those unsightly high tops and colorful sweat bands from the recesses of our closets. We can breath life anew into our half-inflated Wilson balls and don our blacktop accoutrements -- ankle braces and knee supports, warm up pants (sans drawstring, or course) and Kareem Abdul Jabar-style prescription glasses -- with pride. It's time to eschew the double-header Saturdays on the couch for a best-of-three pickup game on the hardwood courts. Let us Occupy NBA.

So while the 1 percent of professional athletes and league owners squabble over salary caps and collective bargaining agreements, I pledge to care no longer. I'll be too busy criss-crossing the court, pretending to be Tim Hardaway. 

Outdoor basketball gets a little chilly this time of year, but Santa Fe offers a number of indoor basketball options, as well as some fun tournaments. I'd like to hear your favorites. Where are the best pickup games? What's coming up? Send your basketball venue suggestions to todd@santafe.com and I will keep this blog post growing with info on Santa Fe's basketball hotspots and events, starting with the following info, fresh from Ft. Marcy:

3-on-3 Basketball Turkey Shoot Begins November 18 at Ft. Marcy Recreation Complex

Register Now! Only $50 per team

Registration for the City of Santa Fe Ft. Marcy Recreation Complex 3-on-3 Basketball Turkey Shoot has begun and will run through Thursday, November 17, 2011. The Turkey Shoot is scheduled on Friday November 18 and Saturday November 19 at 9:00 a.m.

This is a fun event with a nominal registration fee of $50 per team. The divisions include men and women for both open and recreation. City employees are eligible to compete.

We recommend and welcome your inquiries about anything scheduled at Ft. Marcy Recreation Complex. Please call Greg Fernandez at 955-2509, the reception desk at 955-2501, or Liz Roybal, Recreation Complex Manager at 955-2503.

(Oh yeah, and Go Lobos!)