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Let it flow

CHILDREN born in 2020, years from now, will regard the nose and mouth as private body parts meant to be always covered.

The same children who will be adults decades from now will never get the chance to experience what it’s like to watch live a sports competition i.e. a FIFA World Cup or an NBA Finals.

A Rolling Stones or Pink Floyd live concert will be just stories told by ageing hippies of life during the BC era or “Before COVID”.

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So the big man with no signature moves won an NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers 10 years after the post-Kobe Bryant era. It is a historic one, bearing in mind that it was played during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and was played in a literally empty venue.

An NBA champion is still a champion no matter what circumstances the world is.

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It’s rather funny that basketball is so Americanized all over the world. That game is always associated with the United States of America and being American it is almost synonymous with American culture (if there’s such thing).

But basketball isn’t even an original American sport. The game was invented by Canadian Dr. James Naismith. a Physical Education teacher, 129 years ago as an indoor winter sport for the YMCA.

Since then, the Americans embraced the sport as their own and dominated almost all international competitions, notably the Olympic Games although lately the Europeans have started to dominate the FIBA competitions with their own brand of European basketball.

Personally, I prefer the European style of play, an intelligent total basketball anchored and focused on team play as compared to the American “run and dunk” individual Rucker Park basketball.

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Meanwhile in these islands the natives also embraced the sport of basketball, which is to be expected from these “little brown Americans”, coming only second to cockfighting (you know, real chickens fighting, not men’s you know what).

It is ridiculous because the average height of Filipino males is 5 feet, 5 inches. The average height of an NBA basketball player is 6 feet and 5 inches yet these diminutive Filipino basketball player always dreamed of playing “above the rim” as in LeBron James.

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Basketball has never been referred to as an intelligent man’s sports. It is a game that gives instant gratification and doesn’t require much thinking. All you have to do is sink as many balls as you can into the basket or hoop, just make sure you do it in your opponents’ side of the basketball court.

Now the European style of basketball is much different – an intelligent game. These Europeans play basketball as they would play football which, of course, is the No. 1 sport in Europe and the world as well.

Basketball is like pop music – trendy, catchy and radio-friendly, but eventually it gets to be boring.

Football, on the other hand, is like jazz – a game for gentlemen which requires intelligence, artistry, creativity and a deep understanding of the game. After all, it is the world’s most popular sport.

But that’s not saying that football is a sport for the elite and basketball is for the common demographics. There are, or were, some gems, artists in their own right in the game of basketball.

And these artists in the game of basketball are Julius Erving a.k.a. Dr. J, Michael Jordan and the late Kobe Bryant. Those not mentioned are probably good but not on the same level, at least in my book.

If you’ve noticed, none of these gentlemen are now active, which means that the current crop of NBA stars are just big men who dominate because of size.

And we segue to Let it Flow, a track from Winelight, a 1980 studio album by jazz musician Grover Washington Jr. The record received the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Fusion Performance in 1982.

Scott Yanow of AllMusic wrote: “A memorable set of high-quality and danceable soul-jazz.” This was the album that defined everything about Grover Washington Jr.

The album was smooth, fused with R&B and easy listening feel. Washington’’s love of basketball, especially the Philadelphia 76ers, led him to dedicate the second track, “Let It Flow”, to Julius Erving (Dr. J). 

Julius Erving a.k.a. Dr. J of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers was without a doubt the smoothest small forward in NBA history. This classic groove Let it Flow epitomizes his artistic moves on and off the basketball court. Many have emulated but have never come close.



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