by Dominique Wilkins
When someone says they're mapping out a road to Springfield, Mass., to get to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, they're usually talking about the map of their career. Camps as a kid, college, a nice 15-year career with 26K-plus points and a couple international gold medals to boot.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Sept. 6 -- Leg two of the Road to the Hall saw us make stops in Charlotte and South Boston, Va.
The highlight for me was visiting my hometown of Baltimore around 5 a.m. this morning. We stopped about 6 miles from where I grew up in Dundalk in the Turner Station area. It was a nice feeling especially since I havenít been back in years. It was a place where I grew up until I was 16. I played basketball at Patterson High school before I moved to North Carolina.
We rolled into Springfield around 12:30 today and I have to tell you, this whole experience really started to sink in when I started loading up the RV in Atlanta yesterday. Now, that Iím here, Iím really nervous. There isnít a bigger stage to be honored individually than the Basketball Hall of Fame. All of my basketball heroes are here. Itís truly a special feeling.
In addition to my family, a lot of my friends will be making the trip. Doc Rivers will be here. My former coach Mike Fratello, the Hawks organization will be well represented plus my former college coach at Georgia will be here.
My sponsor is none other than Julius Erving. I mean, who wouldnít want Dr. J? He was the guy who I idolized growing up. Heís someone I looked up, someone I tried to emulate. He also is a personal friend, a big brother.
Iím off to visit the Hall this afternoon with my family. Iíve never been to the new building since it opened in 2002. Iíve only visited once before and that was back in high school. I gotta go. Thanks for taking the journey with me, which will reach its ultimate stop on Friday night. I canít wait.
ATLANTA (and other cities), Sept. 5 -- My road to Springfield, Massachusetts and the Basketball Hall of Fame has officially begun courtesy of a 40-foot RV.
Thatís right, Iím driving in style all the way up Interstate 95 North from my home in Atlanta to the birthplace of basketball. Iím taking 10 family members on this special journey and let me tell you, this is a lot of fun.
My wife Robin and I welcomed a beautiful baby boy Ė Jacob Dominique -- to the world last Wednesday and wanted to ensure the most comfortable traveling experience for him. We didnít want him to get too fidgety and felt that the air pressure of an airplane would get to him.
So, we hooked up with our friends at RV Connection in Atlanta and they provided us with the ultimate driving experience. This RV has it all --- king-size beds, seven-foot ceilings, plasma TVs, DirecTv, full-service kitchen, you name it. It has all the amenities you would want on a 16-plus hour, 800-mile journey.
But Iím not kicking back and enjoying the roadside scenery. No, yours truly is handling the driving along with my father-in-law and weíre going straight through. No hotel stopovers for us.
Now, we are stopping from time to time to allow everyone to stretch and get some fresh air. Whatís nice is that we arenít in a particular rush. We just want to enjoy the ride there, drive at our own pace and this is turning out to be a really fun, family bonding experience.
This is by far the longest road trip Iíve ever taken (same for Jacob!) and Iíve never drove an RV before so I took a few practice runs around my home before I pulled out of my driveway for the trek to Springfield. This RV handles like a dream, smoothest ride ever, you donít feel a bump, except maybe when my father-in-law drives.
I just need to figure out a way to stick him with the gas.
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