Column: RICK SOLEM
It’s a funny thing growing up as a kid, idolizing sports.
You end up in your driveway at midnight, down a basket with the imaginary clock running down.
You’re Michael Jordan. Or, in my case, Chris Mullin (right).
I was always kind of realistic as a kid. If you can call being Chris Mullin realistic. I’m not even left handed.
But now I’m almost 36, yet still idolizing sports, and even more realistic than ever about who my game most mirrors.
The NBA Finals feature some of the best to have ever played. Tim Duncan. LeBron James. Tony Parker.
And as I watch, I think to myself, “Wow, I am Boris Diaw.”
It’s an unsettling thought, but one that’s laughably true for those who have played with me the last few years.
Off the top of my head, I think he’s French, and there’s where the similarities start, because I love French fries and French toast.
On the court, Diaw is an odd-shaped power forward with a little gut to him. As am I.
He can dribble OK, but never well enough to really get things accomplished consistently. Me in a nutshell.
He can shoot 3s, but you’d rather him not. Me, exactly.
He’s deceivingly quick, but only about twice a game. If that’s not me, I don’t know who I am.
He’s OK around the basket and every once in a while, he’ll throw some garbage at the hoop that goes in and, if you don’t know his game, you say, “That was the luckiest and worst shot I have ever seen in my life.” All of my basketball friends reading this know this is me to a T.
Diaw is OK in the post, but there’s always someone better. Pretty much me.
This last one feels like gloating, but at my age, I don’t shoot (or chuck my friends would say) as much as I once did, and have become a Diaw-like passer.
Because if there’s one thing Diaw is great at is finding the open man. I do that once in awhile, too.
So, again, I’m Boris Diaw.
‘What’s the point?’ you ask.
It’s simply the comedy of sports and the grounded expectations we have as we age, yet expectations that are still well beyond our grasp. I’m not fricken Boris Diaw. He’d smoke me in every sport imaginable and probably in a French toast eating contest, as well.
But, of all the players I could compare myself to, or respect on the court or even just cheer for, I sit and watch the NBA Finals and “Ooo," and, "Ah,” at Diaw, if that's even possible. Maybe it's like "Oh?" and "Ow."
My eyes get wide, watching him drive and contort his body around defenders to throw up some of that wonderful garbage or throw an odd-looking, one-armed pass out of the post to the open man on the 3-point line that always seems to find its target.
We sports fans were always someone growing up - John Elway. Sterling Sharpe. Michael Jordan. ... Chris Mullin? Seriously, what is wrong with me that I pretended to be Chris Mullin?
But it doesn't matter how much we age, we’re always still someone. Me, I’m now Boris Diaw.
It could be worse, I suppose. I could be Chris Anderson.