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The latest news and analysis on college and pro women's basketball.

June 25, 2008 at 11:26 AM

Happy Birthday Jordan, Basketball

Major computer and technical difficulties prevented me from posting and the time away was a killer. Candace Parker dunked twice, Houston erased San Antonio’s perfect home record, and other members of America’s 2000 Olympic team popped-off about what really happened between Australian star Lauren Jackson and U.S. center Lisa Leslie. The short version? It didn’t happen the way Leslie described in her book, but we’ll revisit that later.
Luckily I’m connected in time to wish F Sheryl Swoopes’ son Jordan and the Basketball a Happy Birthday. What? You didn’t know that June 25, 1929 was the date G.L. Pierce recieved the patent for the actual “basketball” used in the game?
“That’s something only you would know, Jayda,” Swoopes responded lovingly (I hope) when I told her of the link between Jordan and basketball. Well, now y’all know, too.
Apparently Jordan has been walking the streets of Seattle inviting everyone to his birthday party since majority of his friends are in Houston. When he was born in 1997, former Comets public relations manager Tom Savage, who currently holds the same position for the Sonics, said it was a media frenzy because Swoopes was the first WNBA player to give birth and return to play the same season.
“The longest day of my life,” he quipped before Swoopes retorted, “You? I was the one in labor!”
Well, since Swoopes is taking care of Jordan today and I’m sure few will raise a glass to Pierce’s handy work, I’d thought I’d ask a few players to tell me about their first basketball in its honor. Here’s what they had to say. Please note that the blog will be a little irregular until I get the new glitches fixed.
“Mine was a black ball with pink [accents] and then it had Michael Jordan written in red on it,” Los Angeles F Candace Parker said. “I have a picture of me with a backwards pink hat and a pink outfit holding the ball. It was a pink Mini Mouse outfit — no, I’m not lying. My Mom still has the picture of it. She carries it in her wallet because she thinks it’s the funniest thing. I’m like intent; I have my tongue out and everything. I was maybe two and whatever my brothers were into, I was into. When they stopped wanting to play with that ball, I wanted it and kept it until they gave something else up.”
“My first basketball, I used to sleep with it and everything,” Phoenix G Kelly Miller said. “Ever since I was little. My parents gave it to me as a Christmas present. My brother always played basketball, so we [her twin Coco] would always watch him and idolize him so our parents started us young with basketball, too. I think it took a couple of years to be OK without it.”
“I wasn’t ever given a basketball,” Phoenix G Cappie Pondexter said. “I remember taking a couple on the playground. They were just sitting there. I would go to tournaments with my brother and people would leave a basketball once the tournament was over and I would just take it. I was probably 10 or 11-years-old. But I wasn’t a thief. Somebody would always end up taking it back from me because I would forget and leave it. When I had one, though, I would just play around because my Mom wouldn’t let me go outside the block. I’d just dribble up and down the block.”
“I had a rubber outdoor ball that said ‘Lauren Jackson,'” Storm F Lauren Jackson said. “I was about three and I took it everywhere, especially on trips when my Mum was playing basketball. I loved that basketball. I think I played with it until it deflated.”
“I had to keep close watch over my first basketball or somebody would take it,” Detroit G Deanna Nolan said. “And you had to have your own because you never knew what you would find at the playground. It was an old brown leather ball and I carried it in my backpack. But I didn’t sleep with it or anything like that.”
“Jordan’s first basketball was probably a mini WNBA or Houston Comets ball,” Swoopes said of her son, who currently always has a green and gold Storm ball with him and reguarly wears a full-on Kobe Lakers’ jersey. “When he came out, I had a [bassinet] and it had balls everywhere. My first ball I know wasn’t a brand new one. It was a used, worn out ball that was regulation size. Initially, it was something that every time I walked out of the house, I had a ball in my bag. Even when I got to the point to where I had my first car, I had a ball in the back because you never know when you’re going to have a pickup game or an outdoor court and can just stop and go and shoot and do my own thing. Early on in my life and career, I was definitely a gym rat. I loved the gym and always had a ball with me and no body had to be with me. I was going to go in and I could be there all day long. But, that was the only place my Mom really let me go without her being right there with me. That might be a reason why I fell in love with basketball, cause that was my out — my only way to get out of the house.”



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