Wanna Be a Baller?

By Horace Miskel

            As a child, did you ever dream of becoming a professional basketball player?  Did you ever count down five … four … three … two … one in your driveway and pretend to launch a game winning shot as an imaginary crowd went wild?  Have you ever regretted a decision that you made while playing basketball that prevented your dream from becoming a reality?

            If the answer yes, the new basketball reality show America’s Top Baller may be the break you so desperately need, as former American Idol producers scour the country looking for the best male and female basketball talent.  The new basketball reality show will initially choose 50 players and test their skills against the nation’s best unknown talent.  However, only 30 players will survive the initial cut.

            The basketball reality show is the brainchild of former Miami Heat and Sacramento King Duane Causwell, which came about for the professional athlete as a result of many people wanting to know what it took to make it in professional sports.

            “Everyone always asked me what it takes to become a professional athlete,” Causwell said to New York Daily News sportswriter Matt Gagne.  In response he decided to create America’s Top Baller to “cover every aspect [of the journey], from the psychological tests to the workouts.”

            Basketball legends from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Michael Jordan will admit that many of the best basketball players that they played against throughout their basketball lives are often people many have never heard of.  Even some who did reach the National Basketball never quite lived up to lofty expectations for their careers. 

For Abdul-Jabbar it was a street ball legend named Earl “The Goat” Manigault, who was immortalized in the film “The Goat.”  Jordan often fondly speaks of the professional career of NBA champion Vernon Maxwell, stating that Maxwell could have been a perennial All-Star if it were not for off the court incidents. New York basketball fans still revere street ball legend Pee Wee Kirkland who could not escape the street life to become a legend in the pros.

            As a result, Causwell is allowing ball players to correct past mistakes with the basketball reality show.  He is assisted by childhood friend Mark Skeete, a former rapper/producer/music executive who produced the highly successful gospel reality show Sunday’s Best

            “Ultimately, America’s Top Baller is about restoring lives, not just fulfilling dreams, as the last baller standing will receive a professional contract as well as their own signature sneaker,” according to producers.  “Throughout the journey to crown America’s Top Baller the cameras will capture the dreams deferred and the resilience needed to succeed against the odds.”

            Producers, especially Causwell, know how difficult the journey of an aspiring professional athlete can be and are simply looking to turn someone’s fantasy into fact.  For some it could have been an injury that curtailed their career.  For some it may have been a lack of focus in the classroom while in high school or college.  And for others it could have been one mistake that ruined everything.

            Despite the difficulty of making it to the pinnacle of one’s profession, the basketball reality show America’s Top Baller is determined to give them everything they once had on the court and turn those childhood dreams into reality.

Miskel is a writer for Regal Black Men’s Magazine.

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