#10yearchallenge The thought of the past reminds of this article I wrote 5 years ago. 5 years in Social media is equivalent to 10 real years. Well, the basketball league I played 5 years ago is now in season 10. In the league's 1st season, the stats proved I dished out the most assists thus winning the Assist King award. Cool as memories go, it also reminded me of Lean and his drive to play despite illness. There's a bit about him at the end of this article.
I apologize if the read doesn't flow so well. It is an old article and I had to remove defunct hyperlinks that was supposed to complement. MABA's website has changed over the years. A LOT has changed over the 5 years. All for the better in my opinion.
Basketball gets little love in Malaysia. It faces its sets of challenges in this country. This could apply to a lot of other things in life but hey, this is a basketball-centric piece.
I give you the scenarios:
Pick up ANY newspaper and find me stuff on the NBA. Not much right?
Go to the Country's official association. Do you speak the language?
Dad, I think I can be good at it. Shouldn't you try badminton or golf instead?
I am a fan of the Timberwolves. Didn't Cardiff City beat them 2 seasons ago 4-nil?
I'm going Pro. Can dunk ah?
But yet, there are people out there to give the game some love and that's where the game gets to live on.
If you read No Rookie Rules, I made a short mention that all kinds of players that turned up that day. For most of the guys, they were meeting each other for the first time. So imagine if you're this guy (see pic), I've travelled and being the odd one out is never easy. In Doug's case: Not Local. Not knowing anyone. Not knowing Manglish. Not the right(?) color. Yet here he is, lacing up to play.
I wrote this article before the league started. But as I found out, this guy is repping the Rainmen and this dude can run the break. Check highlight. No worries there.
My favourite Big Man Dre. Dre is about 6' 1''(Left of pic, Hairless dude is called Han). Fundamentally Sound with a Good all around game. Before every game he has this routine. The Routine: Spending 20 minutes wrapping up his feet MINUS the shoes!
Should he hang his shoes up?
Hence the word DRIVE. What fuels that DRIVE in Dre and Doug? What fuels these guys below?
That Old Man at your local playground – Everyday he shows up, schools you on the court and off the court if you're lucky. Without these old men, my local court would've been a parking lot. The kids in the neighbourhood will never know.
The Weekend Warriors – Work, wife and Kids. Yet somehow, squeeze in a game. If this is your profile, you are probably middle-aged and could do with a diet.
Team Swoosh – Probably one of the earlier Non-Chinese Basketball Teams in the Country (Basketball started out and IS predominantly a Chinese Sport. Go to the MABA site and you'll understand). They don't care where or who they play but they bring it 100%. And they still do.
MABA – They've been around a long time and they're still there for better or worse. (The site was originally in Chinese)
The KL Dragons – Do you think it's easy running a sports club? (Ask Dr T and the Questionable Power Rangers)
These are just a few examples of many*.
What DRIVES you to keep Basketballl a part of your life?
Asking this question, you need to know about this guy:
They call him Le'an. Le'an is about 5'9”, wiry and lanky. My first impression was “Looks the Part but Lacks the Game”. He looked half-asleep on the court. Until he decided to wake-up.
The man has game! (How do you casually crossover and still send some guy the wrong way?) My Big Man Dre (who was next to me) says to me: “ Do you know he has cancer?” “Say What?!”. Think about it, Cancer usually means a lot of treatment and you only send it into remission. Your life has a prescribed time limit. So I stood there dumbfounded for a bit.
Right in front of my eyes, this guy is here balling. I got news later that he was schooling some poor soul named Han. He was knocking “in-your-face” threes. He put out such a Bad-ass game that it gave Han nightmares. That was the doctor told me at the hospital when we has treating Han's broken ankles. (Sadly, No video to prove it) UPDATE: SSL Highlights with Le'an.
The Big Question Comes Again.
WHAT DRIVES HIM? WHAT DRIVES YOU?
In Lean's case, I don't think he really cares for my question. So you know What?
Afterword: I would like to thank Lean or Mohamad Salihan Izham for letting me write a little about him. I have to admit that I only know him briefly but as far as I can see, as long he gets to ball, he's happy and living. He's a husband and a father. He Reps his team Pegasus. He's a reminder that life is for living and be grateful for it. If you want to know about his condition or want to help, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update: Mohamad Salihan Izham aka Lean is no longer with us. I have no further words that I can express on this.