Swish | Teen Ink


May 31, 2022
By Anonymous

The crowd is cheering, my heart is pumping, it’s my time to shine. 6 seconds left on the clock in the state championship, that’ll be enough. With the score being 67-68 I received the inbound. The crowd is chanting “6…5…4…” No one open, it’s up to me to win. I dribble past my defender “3…2…” I step back “..1!” and shoot! It’s an airball, that’s it, we lost the championship on a game-winning shot I missed. It feels like my soul is being sucked away from me. Suddenly, “FWEEET!, foul, number 17,” the ref exclaims. I was fouled and now I get to shoot the game-winning free throws. Now it felt like my soul is being returned to my body, I’m getting a second chance. I step up to the line take a deep breath, dribble in place three times and sink the first free throw. I get the ball for the second one, take a deep breath, dribble in place three times, and swish the second. My team won! The crowd roars with half of them cheering and half of them booing. It was a bad call from the ref so I get where they are coming from. “Jay, hurry up, let’s get out of here quick,” says my dad “The team needs me at a meeting”. My dad is Michael Gordon, the general manager for the world-famous Golden State Warriors. When he played in the NBA he won 4 championships for them. I get dropped off at home, put my bag on the tile floor and lay flat on my Warriors themed bed comforter bed. My stomach then growls with hunger, so I get up and go to the kitchen. My mom is cooking dinner. “How did the game go Jay?” asks my mom. “Fine, we barely won, but I could have played better,” I say, “Mom you really don’t need to be making me dinner right now, you need to stay in bed.” My mom is sick, like really sick, she just returned from a week in the hospital and has to take it easy for the next few weeks. “Oh please! I have to do something around this house.” If she’s alright with it then I guess it’s fine. “Charlie! Dinners ready!” My little brother Charlie came sprinting down to the dinner table with his iPad in his hand watching Fortnite youtube videos. My little brother and I are very different people, I’m more of a sports guy and he’s more of an E-sports guy. We sit down at the bottom of our odd 10 seat table that always has 7 seats left because only my mom, my bro, and I eat there. I finish the nice chicken dinner and head to bed as I’m exhausted from the game. Within a minute of arriving at my bed, I fall asleep. BZZZZZ!BZZZZZ!BZZZZZ! I wake up to the sound of my phone ringing, it’s from dad. I check the time, 3:19 am. I hit the answer button and say “What?” in an angry tone. “Jay, when I came home I found your mom passed out in the bathroom, I took her to the hospital. Go wake your brother up and head over ASAP!” I rush out of bed, put on a random shirt and shorts and go wake my brother. We get in the car and I head over as fast as I can go. When I arrived I could see my dad talking to the doctor, he was sitting down with his head on his forehead. My dad then looked over and saw me and my brother standing over on the other side of the room. I walk over to him and gave him a hug. He looked so lifeless like he had no ounce of joy left in him. Then the doctor came back over and spoke to me, “Hello, you must be Jay.” I wasn’t able to get any words out of my mouth so I just nodded. “Okay, Jay, why don’t you come to my office if you don’t mind I have something to discuss with you.” I followed him into his office and took a seat on this little red couch in the corner of the room. “Alright, I have some good news and some bad news for you, which would you like to hear first.” “Uh, I don’t care.” That’s all I was able to say. My mind feels like it is empty right now, I feel no emotion. “Ok bud, the good news is that your mother is doing just fine right now, and the bad news is that your mother has a tumor, specifically a brain tumor, although we don’t know if it is cancerous or not yet.” After hearing that, the office became quiet. I sat there with a blank stare. While getting up the doctor put his hand on my shoulder and said “We’re gonna do our best, I promise.” I put on a smile, nodded then walked away. It was a lot to take in. I never thought something like this would happen to my family. Life was going so well, and just like that my whole entire life changed. My dad spent the next couple of nights at the hospital with my mom, but I had to go home as I had school and basketball training still. I haven’t told anyone yet, and I don’t want to tell anyone. School was still going well but basketball was a little weird. My trainer is one of my dad's good friends so when I went to practice with him he kept asking where my dad was and if he was ok. I just told him he was really busy at work. Since I don’t really talk much to other people, the only way I can really express myself and my emotions is through music. As a basketball player and a man I’m told not to really show my emotions, but with music, I can truly show how I feel while producing something I find amazing. My dad absolutely hates that I create music because apparently, it is “too much of a distraction towards basketball”, but I don’t care, it is my passion. What if there was a way to balance both? I could be like Dame D.O.L.L.A., but to get to the pro level is the hard part, I’m only a senior, 4 months from when I attend UCLA.

All summer I’ve been training, I need to start my freshman year. The good part about college basketball is you only need to play one year in college to be eligible for the NBA Draft, as a high 4 star recruit I plan on trying to get drafted as a freshman. It's hard to push through with everything going, but it's my passion. I got to worry about playing basketball, creating music, and worrying about my mom's health. I'm going through a lot right now. In order to get drafted you have to be the best. 3,000-3,500 players declare for the draft each year, only sixty make it. Every step along the way counts. You have to put in the work and put in the hours each day. Even with a dad working for an NBA team and me being one of the best recruits in the nation, anything can happen. Around once a week my mom goes back to the hospital to get her chemotherapy. This week she wasn’t feeling so well so she is staying overnight. The next morning she still felt the same so today I’m going to go visit her. Sometimes I have to drive her there so I memorized the route to get there. The same feeling of chills runs down my spine every time I do it. I don’t know what causes it, it just happens. Maybe it's because I see her struggling, or maybe it's just because I’m stressed. Once I arrive to go visit my mom, the nurse leads me to my mom's room. I get that same feeling as when I’m driving her to get her treatment. I look over at my mom and with her overly chapped lips smiles at me and motions me to come in. She now wears a bandana on her head to hide the fact that she is bald now. Soon she will have to undergo a surgery, but after that she should be fine. “Hi mom, how are you feeling?” I ask. “Could be better.” She says with a quiet raspy voice. I take a seat on the chair next to her bed. She grabs my hand. “I love you so much, you know that.” she whispers Suddenly a tear fell from my eye. I wiped my tears, I didn’t want her to see that I’m sad. BUZZZZZ BUZZZZ, my phone rings in my pocket. I step out of the room to go answer. It’s my buddy Josh. He’s also going to UCLA to play basketball. We just met at the UCLA summer training program. He’s also a rising freshman “Yo what’s up dude,” I ask. “Aye bro I was wondering if you wanted to train with me tomorrow, my other buddy bailed on me,” he says. “Now’s not the time man, kinda doing something important right now, I’ll text you later.” I respond “Oh sorry my bad, sounds good.” I proceed to hang up and walk back into the room. “Who was that honey,” my mom says “Just one of my new buddies at school, he asked if he wanted to train, but I told him I’ll call him later because I was here to see you.” “Jay, I don’t want what’s happening to me to affect your basketball. I want what’s best for you, even if that means you have to see me less. Don’t worry I will be there to watch your first NBA game,” I stepped outside and texted my buddy Josh that I’m free to train tomorrow. Next thing I know it’s already 9pm, so it’s time for me to head home. I say my goodbyes to my mom and leave. On the drive back I keep hearing my mom's words in my head, Don’t worry I will be there to watch your first NBA game. It’s the thought of what if she won’t that scares me. Her cancer keeps getting worse, just when we thought it was getting better, it just comes back stronger. I arrive at my house and head to bed. I got so much going on I just need to fall asleep and clear my mind. Ehhh Ehhh Ehhh. It’s 9 am and my alarm goes off. I wake up and get dressed as today I’m going to go train with Josh. I grab a breakfast sandwich from starbucks on the way and finally arrive at the gym. “Jay!” I hear from a distance. I look down and see Josh waving to me from the court with a ball in his hand. I walk down to the courts. “Sup bro, glad we could get some training in today.” He says “Ya bro no problem thanks for inviting me.” We started off just by taking shots and getting to know each other a little more. “So what do you do other than basketball in your free time,” He asks. “I kinda like to make my own music. I’ve made a few songs at my house, but that's about it, nothing major.” I reply “That’s sick! You know I got a buddy who runs a studio if you’d be interested in that. I know you’re busy with basketball and stuff, but maybe you’d want to give that a try.” “That sounds amazing bro. I’ve always wanted to take my music to another level, but didn’t know how. You think you could give me your bros info,” I give him my phone and he types in the contact information, “thanks so much man, I really appreciate it!” We then get into some drills and do the normal UCLA training routine. At the end of it we say our goodbyes and I head home. Once I arrive home I rush to go talk to dad about the new opportunity that I just got. “Hey dad, so i was training with the Josh kid from UCLA and he actually has a buddy that runs a studio. I think I’m going to go and record some music soon. This is huge for me!” “Jay, we don’t need that nonsense distracting you from basketball, what good is it going to so for you anyways?” He asks “It's something I enjoy, dad. Even though I love basketball, it’s not nearly as fun as making music.” “Well, you’re not gonna go anywhere in life choosing between two things, just stick to basketball.” I sort of expected that kind of reaction out of him. It’s always basketball this and basketball that. I mean I never got to hang out with my friends in high school or middle school because I’d always have a tournament or training. I’d miss my friends' birthday parties or even holidays with the family. Basketball is a bigger commitment than people think. If you want to make the NBA you have to be the best, and in order to be the best, you have to put in the most work. Hopefully in the end it will all be worth it. DING. My phone receives a text from an unknown number, it reads “Sup bro I’m Drew, my buddy Josh told me about you, lmk when you want to swing by and record something, heard some of your stuff on soundcloud it’s pretty fire (fire emoji).” I text him back, “Yo what’s good, I’m free tomorrow if that works for you.” He then responds“Yessir(fire emoji)(fire emoji)(fire emoji).” I guess he really likes the fire emoji.

I pull up to the studio, surprisingly it's only around a five minute drive from my house which works well. As I’m walking up to the door I see Shaquille O’Neal leaving the building. Yep THE Shaq, the “Big Diesel.” As I walk past him I give him a head nod, trying to not make it seem as if I’m a super fan, although I am since he is in my top 5 for NBA players All Time. He played against my dad back in the day and was one of the only people better than him. I also like him because he raps and DJs as well which inspires me to try and do that as well. I walk into the studio and it seems really nice. I mean that’s kind of what you have to expect out of a studio in the famous LA. “Yo Jay what’s up.” Drew says as he comes up to the door to greet me. “Nothing much. Thanks so much for this man, it means a lot.” “No problem dude, thanks for bringing your talents here!” He gives me a quick tour of the studio, and shows me what we are gonna do today. “My plan is to get you onto spotify first, then we can take it from there. Today we are gonna try to record a song or two. I specifically like your song ‘New City Road, you think we can record that today?” He asks. “Works for me.” I replied. He then brings me to the recording studio shows. He exits the room and gives me the thumbs up to start singing. I start to sing “Yeah, I'm gonna take my Porsche to the New City Road I'm gonna drive 'til I can't no more I'm gonna take my Porsche to the New City Road I'm gonna drive 'til I can't no more I got the porches in the garage Engine is attached Car is matte black Got the shirt that's black to match Riding in a car, ha You can whip your Horse I been in the city You ain't been up off the couch, now Can't nobody say anything to me You can’t say anything to me Can't nobody say anything to me You can't say anything to me…” I continue to sing and see Drew with a smile on his face as if he is impressed. I mean to be fair I am a lyrical genius. I finish singing and he comes to the recording room to talk with me. “Man, I’m impressed, that was some good stuff. I can’t wait to put this out there. We have time for one more. I’ll let you choose which song we could do now.” “Let’s do ‘gooselumps’.” Gooselumps is probably my favorite song I wrote. It hypes me up everytime I hear it. My buddies have it in their pregame playlist. “Sounds good!” He exclaims I go back to the studio and record the song. He then showed me editing it and putting it on spotify. This is the exact opportunity I needed. Now I just need to capitalize on it. I feel like I could go far with this. It could be my NBA back up plan. As I head home, I keep thinking about what my dad said. What if all this music stuff is just a distraction? No it can’t be. It’s not like my music is popular or anything. The next morning I woke up with multiple messages from my producer Drew. They read “Bro you are blowing up (fire emoji)” “This is great news, let’s record some more music sometime (fire emoji)” and many more texts that end with the fire emoji. I don’t understand why he is so obsessed with that certain emoji, but I enjoy his enthusiasm. I go to check spotify and see that I already have over 10,000 views on spotify and Shaq posted me on his Instagram story. How great is that! This is only the beginning, but my main focus has to be basketball. Today is the practice scrimmage at UCLA and my dad will be coming with me to watch as well. “Jay let’s head out. We gotta be there in 30!” He yells across the house. I grab my bag and go in the car. “I don’t want any funny business today. Just because it’s a practice scrimmage doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try your hardest. There are a lot of amazing players on this team, you have to prove you are worthy of starting.” He tells me. As I arrive at the facility a kid, probably in his teens, runs up to me. “JayC! JayC! Can I get your autograph and a picture please!” JayC is my rapper name. “For sure,” I tell him. I sign his paper and take a picture and head into the facility. “There you go Jay! People already know you for your basketball talent,” My dad says, “Also why did he say JayC, your last name is Gordon.” “Umm actually dad, JayC is my rapper name. He most likely knew my name from my songs on Spotify rather than basketball.” I answer. His face turns red. He drags me to the side where no one can see us. “JAY! What did I say about this? It can only be basketball. It has to be basketball this and basketball that if you want to make the league! Ok you are a slightly known rapper now so what, I want you to be known worldwide for basketball.” He shouts in a whisper so no one can hear him. “Well dad, it’s not always what you want, what about what I want!” I storm off to the courts and meet with the team. Everyone was looking at me as I walked over. I don’t care though. I go through the rest of practice as if everything was normal. Surprisingly I played like one of the best players on the team. After practice Josh approaches me. “What was that all about before the scrimmage?” “Just a little argument, doesn’t matter.” I say “Alright dude. Let me know if you need help with anything.”

Today is the first game of the season. My songs are at 100,000 views and mom is getting a lot better. My dad still isn’t too happy about the music situation, but if I keep performing the way I am in basketball hopefully that might change. Mock drafts are coming out by NBA reporters and I’m a projected second round pick. I have to prove to them I’m worth a first, and luckily I have a whole season to do that. The only reason I am in the second round is my health concerns. I’m actually missing part of my right index finger My injury occured back in the third grade. I was at Disneyland for the first time. I was so excited as I had never done anything like this before. Maybe I was a little too excited. We were going on the Splash Mountain ride. You know the part before the ride starts when they say “Keep your arms and legs inside the ride,” well ya, I should have listened to them. At the beginning of the ride I wanted to feel the water. Stupidly, I reached my tiny arm down into the water, and then I what felt like a giant pinch occured. The tip on my index finger got caught in one of the gears. The water turned a little red and I was screaming. Little did I know during the middle of my yelping in pain there would be a huge drop on the ride. That just made it worse. After we got off we ran to our car and went straight to the car to go to the hospital. That was actually the first time I’ve been to the hospital, it was also the last time I went to Disneyland. At the hospital they stitched up the end of my finger. Personally, I don’t think it affects my game, and if it does then I guess it makes me better. I can do a nice finger roll with that finger. Today in basketball we play Akron from Ohio. They have a decent team, but nothing compared to ours. I am starting at the 1 which is point guard. This is a big step up from high school. I think I’ll ease into it pretty well though. I enter the gym before tip off to shoot around. Even though the team we are playing isn’t very good, I am still nervous. I mean how could you not be nervous in this situation. You are a kid coming out of high school expected to play at a pro level at one of the most prestigious colleges in America. They won’t accept “me playing bad”. It has to be 100%, 100% of the time. Since I’m a point guard I am matched up against Akron’s point guard, Demarcus Lewis. Their guard happens to be my high school rival's old guard so I’ve played this man before. I’d say he is one of my biggest rivals while playing basketball. He broke my nose once! But now look at where he is vs where I am. I am definitely in a better situation. Tip off is in 5 minutes. We are in the locker room and coach is giving us a pep talk “I want you to give it your all today, just because the team we are playing doesn’t seem so good, doesn’t mean we should try our fullest. Let’s go give it our all. BRUINS ON 3! 1, 2, 3 BRUINS!” We trot out the tunnel onto the court with all the fans cheering loudly. Since it’s the first game of the season, they are doing player introductions. “Now give it up for your starting lineup!” *Continued cheering* “ Starting at shooting guard standing at 6 foot 4 from Cleveland, Ohio, A.J. Smith!” He gets up and gives everyone a high five and walks onto the court. “Now, standing at 6 foot 5 from Los Angeles, California, your point guard Jameson Gordon!” I look up, give my teammates all high fives and head to the court. They finish up the introductions and now it’s time for the tip off. I match up with Demarcus and my buddy Myles is doing the tip off. The referee throws the ball up and it's tipped into my hands. Since I got the ball I take it up to our side of the court. I call the play “Bruin” and Myles comes sets a pick and I roll out to shoot a wide three. I swish it! The crowd roars with excitement as their new highly touted recruit is showing up. As the game goes on I make a couple more shots, but Demarcus is single-handedly keeping them in the game with 20 points at the end of the first half. At the half the score is 42-35 UCLA. We have a nice comfortable lead and I have a respectable 9 points. Coach gives us a nice halftime pep talk and we head back out. Since we got the tip off in the first half Akron starts with the ball. I am starting on the bench at the beginning of the half but surely the coach will put me back in. As the game goes on Akron gets closer and closer and with 8 minutes left the score is 50-47 UCLA. I still haven’t gone in yet, but I don’t want to upset the coach. As time goes on the game is relatively close, but I still remain on the bench. I'm confused as I shot 75% on the court and was my team's second leading scorer. With 10 seconds left we are up by one. The score is 73-72. Akron has the ball and a chance to win the game. They pass the ball in and give it to Demarcus, with one second left he shoots it! It headed straight for a swish but toilet bowls out and we win 73 to 72. This game just made things a lot worse as I didn’t play the whole second half. I Already know my dad is gonna have a talk with the coach. It’s inevitable. At least I know it’s for the better. I still don’t know why I stayed out so I went up to the coach and asked him. “Well kid, you're a freshman you see, so the older guys get priority over you, also give me a sec your father is calling me.” he replies. I walk away with a grin on my face as I know exactly what he is gonna say to him. The coach is one of the candidates to become the head coach of the Warriors after the previous one retired, so if he wants to stay in that running then he’ll have to listen to my dad. Also, how would I be able to leave for the NBA after one year if I can’t prove myself in the game? I know it will all work well.

Today my dad got a call from the doctor and told him to bring the rest of the family as well. So my dad, brother, and I hopped in the car and went on our way. We didn’t know what to expect. As we arrived the nurse led us to the doctors office. The same one when the original diagnosis was told to me. He proceeds to say: “As you may know it’s been almost a year now, Delilah(my mother’s name) has been in and out of the house for different treatments and surgeries. I am sorry to inform you that after all that time, none of that remained effective. The tumor keeps coming back, me and my team believe we caught it too late. With that being said, there could be a possibility that she has about 1-2 years left to live. As a team we are trying our best. The best thing for you guys to do is to remain positive and maybe hang out with her a little more. Make her feel appreciated as much as she can.” I look over at both my dad and brother and all three of us are tearing up. My dad tells me and my brother to leave the room. I can hear my dad screaming but the only sentence I could make out was “Come on there has got to be a way I will pay any amount!” My dad has been telling me for a while that to spend as much time with your mother as you can as you never know when something bad might happen. As horrible as it is, at least it won’t be unexpected. Or maybe its better to be unexpected. No, I must stay positive. She is gonna pull off a miracle and survive and my family will be happy forever, it has to be that way. I can’t imagine it without it. I walk to my mom’s room and go in and give her a big hug. She wipes my tears and tells me it's gonna be ok. I could see her tearing up but I didn’t say anything. I had practice in an hour so I had to leave back to my dorm room and get ready. Over the next few weeks my team has been on a roll and I have been playing a big part of it. We are now 7-0 winning our past 6 games after the Akron game and I played in both the first and second half of the game. I average 16.3 points per game which is second on my team behind one of my teammates Johnny. Johnny is a top 5 player in college basketball so I’m not too mad about that. We have beaten many teams where we were supposed to lose such as Michigan and Arizona. We are ranked 6th in the country. Behind Gonzaga, Baylor, Ohio State, Kentucky, and Duke in that order. Nothing we can’t beat. In those online mock drafts made by the reporting companies I am now going to the mid-late first round which is a huge improvement. At this pace I am gonna win PAC-12 freshman of the year. Also another thing going really well is my music. I have over 40,000 monthly listeners and this is increasing because of my rising popularity. My hit single is actually “goosebumps” and they actually played it on the 97.6 fm radio station. I am getting paid a pretty good amount as well, which is around 200$ a month. Not that much but enough to start. I don’t expect this to be my main source of income anyways. I have my first NCAA interview right now. I honestly don’t know what to expect, but it should be light work. The first reporter starts by asking, “Good morning Jay, I want to start by asking what is your view or opinion on your recent success.” “It’s all part of the process. Yes, I have had a lot of recent success, but we are only going up from there. I have a lot of things planned for my future and I feel like more success is still yet to come.” “Thank You.” He responds. Another reporter is chosen. “So it was discovered that you also make music, how do you think this will affect your future as a player, or what impact does it make?” “To be honest, yes it is a lot of work to make this music, but it’s for the better. I mean I really enjoy it and it makes me happier, and when I am happier I definitely think I play better.” “There are rumors that your dad thinks otherwise, do you care to talk about that?” “Next question,” I say. That angers me a little, I don’t want to bring that up that has nothing to do with this interview. “As you may know your coach is currently in the running to be the head coach of the warriors which your dad is the manager of. Do you think there ia any correlation between those two that benefits you?” “I don’t think so. I think I am a great player and deserve all the playing time and credit I am currently receiving.” “We can ask one more question than Jay has to go out on his way,” Says the moderator. “There have been reports that there have been problems in the locker room because the players believe you have a playing time advantage because of the coaching situation. Would you like to comment on that?” I just straight up said “No,” and left. I didn’t want any of the negativity around me. Yes, many of the older players are heated that my dad helped me get more playing time, but then I proved that I deserve it. They shouldn’t be mad, I kind of carry to be honest. It’s not hurting my draft stock either so I just play it off as it was nothing. After the interview I went back to my interview and my dad was there. “Son, don’t let any of that get to your head. That’s what they are trying to do. They want to make stupid reports or articles about the stupidest things. Just don’t give in. You did great out there. That’s just a taste of what you’ll be doing on a bigger stage.” “Thanks dad, I know. I’ve been to plenty of your’s to know what I’m doing.” When I was a lot younger(probably the ages of 2-6) my father always brought me to his interviews. All the interviewers would love it when I was there as I did the most random and funny things and the people loved it. Although I barely remember it, I even remember them asking me questions instead of my dad. He would just smile on as I go on with whatever nonsense I’m doing. I’ve always been a pretty extroverted guy. In school I’d say I was one of the “popular kids''. Or at least that's what people called me but I don’t believe in that popular or not popular kid stuff. I just liked to talk a lot and share my opinion. It was like that in classes to. I always asked my teachers for help and participated in discussions. A lot of time with these kids who want to go to the NBA they try to barely get by in their academics so they could focus on basketball only, but I find learning very important to me. I try very hard in school and try harder than most regular students I say. You never know what could happen in the future. I could have a career ending injury, then what? That is what I want to be prepared for as well. As I was walking back to my dorm Josh approached me. “Bro you gotta watch out. After your interview today when you denied that something was going wrong in the locker room, some people got reaaallllly mad. I’d watch out if I were you. Not saying they are gonna injure you or anything, just be careful, it doesn’t hurt to be.” “Oh wow thanks for telling me bro. It’s all stupid anyways. I am playing some great you.” “Ya you are! Hey I’ll see you later, text me if anything happens.” Well that was weird. I didn’t think one stupid interview could stir something up so much, but college kids are college kids. Suddenly I get a bunch of notifications on my phone. Apparently someone made a report about me that I have personality problems. What the Hell! Some reporter named Ian Schefter made an ESPN report claiming I am a bad influence on the team and would never be able to fit into an NBA team because I am too selfish. The title of the report is “Future Projected Top 5 pick in the Draft Jameson Gordon is dealing with locker room problems.” I mean at least he called me a future top 5 pick. But anyways I have no clue where this came from. Just as everything seemed to be going my way, it all takes a wrong turn.

Over the next 2 months our team only lost 1 game with a record of 20-1 That was to Arizona State. Even with that loss we are still ranked the number one team in the nation. My point average has risen to 18.3 and I’m .6 off of Johnny who averages the most. That old story and report died down and my teammates seemed to have disregarded that situation as well. While playing as well as I am, I have solidified myself as a Top 5 player in this upcoming draft. Not everything is going well though. My mother isn’t doing well, and all possibilities are slowly fading away. Every night a tear falls down my face. I want to spend as much time with mom as I can, but I also have to focus on basketball, and being a top prospect is a very time consuming activity. I haven’t spoken to my dad very lately. I can’t imagine what he is going through right now. I know it’s horrible for me, but it has to be worse for him. The love of his life is slowly slipping away. Even just talking about this makes me want to burst out into tears. As I am walking down the stairs from the sidewalk to the UCLA facility to go to the Sunday night practice, I see another college student dressed in all black sitting on the stairs with a skateboard. He has airpods in both ears and is wearing a beanie on top of his head. As I’m walking down the stairs the railing starts to rattle. I take a look back and this kid is riding down the railing on his skateboard coming straight at me. I didn’t mind it as I thought he was just going to ride down the railing all the way to show off his cool trick to the basketball star. I think that was his intention, but then as he was speeding down, his board got caught in the rail and next thing I know this kid is headed head first right at my stomach. THUMP! He rams right into my side. I lay onto the ground screaming in pain. Instead of helping me he gets up and runs away. What a stupid idiot I thought to myself. I thought I was okay, but when I went to push myself up I had a sharp pain in my right wrist. Oh no. My wrist was throbbing so bad and I could already see it swelling. I rushed in and headed straight to the team doctors. “Doctor, I need your help,” I said as I was running to his office, “I think I really badly hurt my wrist.” I showed him my now severely swollen wrist. “You’re right, this doesn’t look good. Anywhere else hurt?” “No, that's it.” “How did this happen,” He asks as he continues to examine the injury. “Some kid launched himself off his skateboard on the stars and rammed right into me.” “I’m so sorry about that. As far as your wrist goes I think we should order an x-ray and take it from there. If you would follow me to the x-ray room that would be great.” The thought that I might have a broken wrist is detrimental. This could ruin my draft stock and potentially my career if it is bad enough. I followed the doctor to the x-ray room and he took some scans. He said the results would be back by tomorrow morning and to come back and they will review them. He told me to keep it raised and ice it. Also more importantly, no basketball for today or tomorrow until the results come back. I walked back to my dorm full of disappointment. I didn’t want to tell any of my teammates yet so they wouldn’t panic. As we saw from our first game of the season, the team without me is much worse than the team with me. As I arrived at the dorm I lay in bed. I keep thinking what if I caused permanent damage to my wrist, or what if I don’t shoot as well as I used to. All these ideas and scenarios kept flowing through my mind. I was focusing on one thing. What if I don’t make the NBA, what if my mom won’t be able to come to my first NBA game. I know if I don’t make it this year, my mom won’t be there to watch me another year. I want to make her proud. Soon after I dozed away and fell asleep. The next morning I woke up to my morning alarm and the first thing I did was go straight to the doctors office. “Welcome back Mr. Gordon, let’s review this shall we,” he proceeds to pull up the imaging “If we look at this bone right in the middle right side of your wrist, there appears to be damage there, a fracture to put it more clearly. This one is a little worse than some I’ve seen. What I’m going to do is put you in a cast.” “How long will it take to heal?” “I would say around 8 weeks.” “8 weeks! That’s the rest of our regular season! I wouldn’t make it back on the team until March Madness!” “That’s the way it has to be if you ever want to play basketball again.” He applied the cast then I left. There was no point in staying on campus if I wasn’t going to be attending practices. I still had to come to games, but those are every 3 days and I have my own car, so I can just drive there. There were two things I wanted to do while injured 1. Hang out with my mom and 2. Make music. What if I do both at the same time? My mom used to be a singer. I bet she would love to help me out. As I arrived home I went to the bedroom to greet my mom. “Hey mom, how are you feeling?” “Not so good, but I’ve felt worse.” “I’m sorry to hear that. I have a question for you. Would you want to help me make a song with me?” “I would love to honey, when do you want to start?” “Whenever you are available.” “Then let's start right now.” I go and grab my bag from the trunk and bring it to her room. I pulled out my computer and opened an empty google docs page. We then started to brainstorm. Some ideas were simple like basketball, girls, college, and partying, but then we started to get into some deeper ideas like losing someone, or the bond between a mother and son, and family. After an hour of brainstorming we finalized on the idea of the bond between a mother and son. We named the song “a mama’s Boy”. The style of the song was still gonna be hip-hop/rap, but the background noises and the background vocals were gonna be sung by mom. Obviously this wasn’t gonna take one night to do. So we planned the making of the song over a 6 week span and I hit up my producer to let him know about this project and said he was in. As I woke up the next morning there was another headline about me, “Star prospect breaks wrist, out 8-weeks”. Obviously not as bad as the other report on me. I got a bunch of texts from teammates and coaches saying get well soon and stuff like that. Today is the first game they are gonna have without me, and we don’t have the easiest schedule ahead of us either. As I arrive at the stadium I go to the locker room and greet my teammates. Coach gives another one of his pep talks and hypes the team up. After all, we are the number one team in the nation and we are playing an unranked Oregon team who we have already demolished earlier. As the beginning of the game goes on we establish ourselves early and gain a 10 point lead. It remained that way throughout the entire half as we led 35-25 at the halfway mark. As a team we were proud of how we were doing without me. We went back into the second half with confidence. Within five minutes Oregon clawed their way back into the game and we were only up by 1. The urge I had to get into this game was one I never felt before. I wanted us to win and maintain our number 1 position so bad, but I couldn’t. As time kept going on we fell behind, and after each minute we fell farther. The final score ended up being 75-65 Oregon, after beating them by 25 in the game before, we lost by ten. This just shows how much of an impact I have on the team. Over the next 5 weeks our team goes 4-4. We then earn the ranking of number 18, which is a big drop from number 1. Also with the and the NCAA March Madness my teammates have to step it up to put us in a good position for when I come back. Also during those 5 weeks, mom and I finished the lyrics to the song we were working on. I submitted it to my producer and it got approved so we are gonna head over to his place soon to record. I have big plans for this song, and even if it does fail though, I will still be happy with it because of the quality time I spent with mom makes it worth it alone. As we head over to the studio I could see my mom shed a tear in the car. I don’t know if it is a happy or sad tear, but I think it’s because she is proud of me. “Why are you crying mom?” “Oh honey I’m just so proud of you. You are doing what you love even with the stress of basketball, and that’s exactly what I want you to keep doing.” I didn't reply back and just smiled. As we arrived at the place I went around the car to go help my mom get out of the car. I always have to be holding her hand or helping her around things as she isn’t in the best shape. I introduced my mom to Drew and we started to get to work. Over the next seven hours we just did recordings. We tested out different beats and styles until we found the perfect mixture. I don’t know how to explain it, but it was unlike anything I have heard before. With the mix of my rapping skills and my mom's angelic voice in the background it made for the perfect mixture. After a few more hours of editing and refining we finished the song. Over the next few days I was promoting it all over social media. I wanted there to be hype around this song like no other. I did promotions, made advertisements, and played snippets at UCLA basketball games. My mom and I determined that the release date of the song would be when I returned from my injury, so in about 1-2 weeks. Speaking of which the doctor said I was healing up pretty fast so instead of 3 more weeks he says 1-2 now. Over the next week my team goes 2-0 leaving us at a record of 26-7 and ranked 12th going into march madness. We are looking great as a team and I bet we will get better when I return(which is tomorrow). Seeded the 3rd seed in the South Region of the March Madness bracket also places us in a good position. In a good enough position to win the entire tournament. As I return to practice I come off a little rusty, but I still feel my smooth shot slowly coming back to me. With a week to prepare for our first matchup I’ll be in good shape. “Glad to finally have you back,” the coach says. “Thanks coach, glad I can be back too.” “You think you will be one hundred percent for the tournament. I think you have the ability to play the number one position on this team.” Wow, after missing time you’d think he would have to ease me back into the system, but it seems as if it is the opposite. This is a great thing, as much as it surprises me I think I can do this.

I am filled with chills as we enter the stadium. This is the biggest tournament in America and is looked forward to year round, and I am the ringleader for my team. Even though we are a three seed playing a 14 seed doesn’t mean upsets can happen. Historically anything can happen. As well as one of the most important games in the history of my career, I am releasing my new song. Hopefully today will be a double success. With my whole family in attendance I hope they will be proud and see me lead my team to victory. Right from the tip-off I dominated the game. Every dunk, layup, three went through the hoop with a swish as I went 13-15 from the field totaling 37 points. My career is high. I could see my dad standing up and clapping in the stands. Is he finally proud of me? Hopefully. Usually after an amazing game he’ll just sit there like normal, but this time was different. That was a huge confidence booster. From then on I focused on doing my own thing and straight up balling. We demolished during the next three rounds with me scoring 30 and 35 and 32 and moving on to the final four. I am absolutely destroying this tournament. My future is looking extra bright with draft stock rising. We are now into the final four which means we are a top 4 team in the nation. This is where it all matters. I’ve already solidified myself as an NBA draft pick no matter what happens, but winning March Madness could be my most successful thing I will ever do in my life. It’s a bigger deal than most people think. Also for a lot of people on this team, they aren’t going to make the NBA, so this is it for them. Remember the song me and my mom made? Well it’s now on the top 100 charts in America at number 7 and is still rising. It’s like “Ransom” by Lil Tecca in the summer of 2019 or “The Box” by Roddy Rich in the end of 2019, but now its “a mama’s boy” by JayC in the winter of 2020. Even now in my interviews they are praising my music instead of the usual criticism I get for doing both basketball and music. If I do become a star in the NBA though I do plan to take it down a notch. As the next few days fly by, it is now time for the final four. One more win and we are on to the championship. We play the Duke Blue Devils and Coach Krzyzewski. Not the best matchup going against the greatest coach of all time. They also have the projected number one pick Jalen Williamson who is also the only person better than me in the upcoming draft. So if we win this game that will make a statement for my draft position. A problem is Duke is heavy favorites to win this matchup and the whole thing. To show it in Vegas odds we have a +300 chance to win. Which doesn’t seem like a lot, but it is. Five minutes before the game my mom comes up to talk to me. “Whatever happens with this game, just know I am proud of you.” I said thank you and walked away. I am gonna win this game for my mom. Through all the pick and rolls and drained threes we went down by 7 at half. Jalen has a total of 20 of his team's 37 at half. That is more than half of his team's points! I have a solid 15 of our 30. That was his time to shine in the first half, but now its mine. As we ran back onto the court after our halftime locker room talk the fans were cheering and people wanted to see a great matchup, and that’s exactly what I delivered. Swerving through the defense for easy layups and assisting my teammates got us tied up at 57 with 5 minutes remaining. I then proceeded to put on a “clinic”. I made 6 straight threes and Duke had no answer. We ended up winning 75-65, we pulled off a bracket buster. As my teammates cheered and dragged me to my locker room I saw my mom in the stands clapping with tears coming down her eyes. I did it for her, I thought to myself. As happy as I was, it's not like I won the championship, we still have one more game. This one is for all the marbles. We play against the number 1 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. They have totaled a record of 32-1. That only loss being to the Duke Blue Devils earlier on in the season. This team is scary and when I say scary I mean REALLY SCARY. Over all of college basketball their starting lineup has the tallest average in the league, and their center is 7 foot 2! In the week we had of training coach prepared me by making our tallest player on the team guard me. This was much harder than I thought. I couldn’t get a shot over his head. Block after block I started to lose confidence and feel like I couldn’t stand up to those big buckeyes. “Don’t give up Jay, I know you got this!” scream coach from the other side of the gym. I did get it. It only took a few more shots until I learned how to maneuver my way into open shots. In just the span of 2 hours I learned a totally new skill to improve my game for our matchup and for the NBA. As I guarantee in the NBA there will be people much taller than me guarding me on defense. Every day until the game I practiced this drill with a person much taller than me, and soon I perfected my shot and my dribble moves that are necessary in order to beat this Ohio State Team. On gameday, I was flooded with questions on the interview on how I would handle this giant Ohio State team. I simply just told them, I know I can handle them. This confidence in a championship matchup for the best of the best is none I have ever felt before. I was sure we were going to win this game. I cruised into the arena with my sunglasses on and headed straight to the court for a team shoot around. This is also the biggest crowd I have played in front of, it is 80,000 people. The nerves did get to me a little. “The game will start in 5 minutes!” The announcer announced. I went to the bench for coach to give his final pep talk to me and the team, “This is it guys. What a run it has been. All we went through led us to here, and lets go give it our all out there. I believe in you guys. Bruins on 3!” “1, 2, 3, BRUINS!” The starting lineup then went onto the court. With Ohio State’s players towering over us it was a bit intimidating, but we beat the only team that beat that. We just need to find our X-factor, and I believe that’s me. “Wassup lil man,” Says the Ohio State point guard RJ Branham. He stands at 6 foot ten and will be guarding me today. I just ignored him, little did he know he was about to be cooked. My team won the tipoff and handed me the ball. I dribbled down the court, did a crossover, then a stepback shot, and then my shot was blocked. I ran back to the other side of the court but it was too late already. They already alley ooped each other. It would stay like this until half. Score being 22-40. An 18 point deficit. The largest point deficit we have overcome this season was 11, 18 is really a lot. This is the last game of the season, no time to give up. Suddenly, at the start of the second half I turned it up a notch. I ran down the court, crossover, stepback, and instead of shooting, I shot fake and then assisted Johnny on the inside for a quick and easy bucket. “There ya go!” scream coach from the bench. I need to be selfless this game, ya these guys are big, but we are definitely faster, and we took advantage of that. With all of the quick plays and fast dribble moves we started inching closer to the lead. They had no answer. They needed a smaller lineup, but couldn’t convert. This led to the eventual National Championship winners, the UCLA Bruins. I ran over to hug my coach and my teammates as we did it all. We accomplished the most possible out of a college team. My parents and brother ran onto the court and hugged me, and we were hugging as one, worryless family.

“The Golden State Warriors have trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the number one pick, they are now on the clock.” With my huge success in March Madness and me unanimously going to be the number one pick, everybody wants to trade up to draft me, but there is one person that wants me the most. My dad’s team. “With the first pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors select Jameson Gordon, Point Guard, UCLA.” I hugged my whole family, then went up to the podium to take a picture with the commissioner, it was a sight to see. I had to take it all in, this was the best moment of my life, I finally made it.

After countless hours of summer training and training with the team, today is our first game. I will be starting at Point Guard and will hopefully play a big role against the Lakers, and just like she promised, my mom is in the stands. Although her condition has gotten a lot worse this might be the only chance she gets to watch me so she convinced the doctors to let her be able to come to this game. As the game tips off I stay away from the ball. I'm too nervous to play in the big leagues. But that is no excuse. After around 5 minutes of passing the ball right as I get it I take a three, it’s an airball. Immediately I got subbed out. “What’s going on man.” My new coach asks me. “Just a little nervous, that’s all.” “Ok, I'm gonna give you a break but when I put you back out there the nerves have better gone away.” By putting me back in, he ended up meaning to stay on the bench for the rest of the half. I'll end up putting you in later. In the middle of the third quarter the coach decides to put me in. This is after we go down by 18. I think to myself I’ve done this before, I can do this. Then it turned into the Jay show again. With my swift crossover and sweet jumpshot I pushed my team to only being behind 9 at the start of the fourth quarter. As we kept going on and on we slowly inched back to tie the game with a minute left. 58 seconds to be exact. Lakers ball, Lebron James takes it up the court. With Lebron being the greatest of all time, he takes all time he wants and before the shot clock goes off he banks a fadeaway jumper. Now the lakers up by 2. I take the ball down the court and pass it to Klay Thompson in the corner. He fakes a three and drives in for the easy lay up. Tie game. Lebron takes it back up to our side and maneuvers his way to another easy layup. We are down by two with 10 seconds left. Coach calls timeout. “Alright boys this is the play, Draymond, you are going to inbound the ball to Klay, and then Klay you are gonna run up the court and pass it to Jay, but Andrew, I need you to set a pick to free him up, after that I need Jay to find the open man for the shot, you got that?” “Yes coach!” We trot back onto the field. I look over to my mom sitting courtside, I give her a wink, she smiles back. The ball is passed in and Andrew runs to set a pick on my defender as Klay passes me the ball.. 6 seconds remain on the clock, that’ll be enough. With the score being 107-109 it was my time to show why I was the number one pick. The crowd is chanting “6…5…4…” No one is open, it’s up to me to win. I dribble past two defenders “3…2…” I step back for three “..1!” and shoot! SWISH! The crowd roars. I ran straight to my mom to give her a hug. As I give my mother a hug “a mama’s boy” plays in the stadium. A picture perfect buzzer beater.

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