6th Fan Blogger: I Wish I Was a Baller

February 28, 2010
Jake LeRoy

I Wish I Was a Baller

My wife and I recently met some friends at the Ale House in the Third Ward for what turned into a marathon game of quarters. The Love Monkeys provided the evening's soundtrack, covering an eclectic mix of artists that included one of my favorite all-time one-hit wonders: rap "superstar" Skee-Lo.

Skee-Lo's primary contribution to the music industry was the song, "I Wish." For most, it was a quasi-catchy tune detailing one musician's most inner desires. For me, it was so much more. This song spoke to me on a level no song previously had before. From approximately 1995 to 2000, the hook to this song was my mantra, my anthem.

First, let's examine the lyrics that penetrated my soul. "I wish I was a little bit taller / I wish I was a baller / I wish I had a girl who looked good I would call her / I wish I had a rabbit in a hat with a bat and a six four Impala." Aside from that last wish, that was me, in a nutshell, from ages 13 to 18.

I grew up loving basketball. I played almost every sport at some level, but I always came back to basketball. Basically, I wished I was a baller. Unfortunately, my talent and height never caught up with my desire to one day be the starting point guard for the Milwaukee Bucks. Standing a not-so-towering 5-foot-1 heading into my senior year of high school, it's a safe assumption that I wished I was a little bit taller, too. Completing the trifecta, no high school girl wanted to date a guy who stood significantly shorter than them, meaning I wished I had a girl who looked good so I could call her.

Flash forward to the present day, and a few of those wishes have been fulfilled, while others have not. Let's see where I stand.

I wish I was a little bit taller. - Check. I currently stand at a slightly above average 5-foot-11, but I'm still holding out hope that I'll someday ascend to 6-foot-4.

I wish I was a baller. - Probably not. Aside from a pretty mean floater and a deceptively quick first step, I'm not really even all that close to being a baller.

I wish I had a girl who looked good I would call her. - Check and check. I'm four months into a happy marriage and we occasionally chat on the phone.

I wish I had a rabbit in a hat with a bat and six four Impala. - Nope and nope. Armed animals concealed in headgear holds no appeal to me. As for the Impala, I would take it if offered, which it has not and probably never will be.

I would assume that Skee-Lo never set out to reach anyone with "I Wish." It's highly doubtful he ever intended to relate to someone like myself. While "I Wish" never got me through any tough times, it was nice to know I wasn't alone. Many may have forgotten about you Skee-Lo, but you'll always have a special place on my playlist.

In-game Musings

  • The Bucks did a real good job of weathering the early storm. When they fell behind 12-2 in the opening minutes, I thought the six-game winning streak was going to come to an ugly and confidence-crushing end. Falling behind early on the road to a team of Atlanta's caliber used be to the death knell for the Bucks, but they stayed composed and ran off a nice 18-4 run of their own. Let's hope they can maintain that kind of composure for the remainder of the season.
  • I don't know what it is that enables some players to draw fouls, but whatever it is, John Salmons has it. He just has this uncanny ability to find contact, take the hit, and still get a good shot off. Other players can draw contact, but can't seem to get the whistle. I've heard theories about rookies and other young players having to earn the respect of the refs, but the basketball optimist in me says a foul is a foul regardless of who it is committed against, and the refs call it that way. But that just doesn't seem realistic. Either way, the Bucks desperately needed somebody who could get whistles, and I'm glad they found one in Salmons.
  • Much has been made of Jamal Crawford's league- and career-long playoff drought of nine years finally coming to an end. People are saying he has matured as a player and, because of that, he's a front-runner for 6th Man of the Year. If you ask me, he looks like the exact same player he's always been. He's still the same single-minded, showboating chucker who has never met a shot he didn't like. Except now, he's actually playing with some halfway decent teammates. A zebra can't change its stripes, and neither can Crawford.
  • Jerry Stackhouse does a great job of creating space for himself. He takes this big step into the defender to back them off, then drives them off with a dribble, and steps back for jumper with no hand anywhere near the face. It's incredibly effective, and becoming relatively automatic. Stackhouse certainly doesn't have the athleticism he once did, but he's as crafty as they come.

Final Thoughts
This is the kind of loss that always sticks with me for a while. I can shrug off a blowout loss and still get a good night's sleep. Not so much with a loss like tonight. The Bucks, for the most part, played a real solid game in taking one of the conference's best teams into overtime. But I'm certainly not one to tout a moral victory. There is no victory in defeat.

Milwaukee just wasn't able to finish the game off tonight. The Bucks held a 7-point lead with four minutes remaining and only scored three more points through the remainder of regulation. Credit has to be given to the Atlanta defense, though. The Hawks simply turned up the intensity on the defensive end, and the Bucks couldn't find a good shot to save their lives. It didn't help the fact that Milwaukee, usually a very good defensive rebounding team, couldn't keep Atlanta's long front line off the boards. They gave up three offensive boards each to Josh Smith, Marvin Williams, Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia, and each seemed to result in second-chance points.

I feel like the Bucks have spoiled me rotten with their recent play. I expect a win every time out now, regardless of the opponent, and anything else just isn't enough. I realize those aren't realistic expectations, but I can't help it. Winning is like a drug, and I need my fix. I'm just hoping the Bucks can alleviate the withdrawal symptoms with a win Wednesday against Washington.

Work hard. Play hard. Type hard.