Letter #669: The Real MVP

Dear MVP,

The glasses. The suit. The bus carrying the team. The individual recognition of every teammate and coach. The commercial worthy tribute to mom. The genuine fight through tears. The moment.

You couldn’t have written a better moment than this.

The humility. “I’m usually good at talking, but I’m a little nervous today.”

The rawness. “I don’t know why I’m crying so much man.” Through tears to his mom: “You’re the real MVP.”

The authenticity and perspective. “First off, I’d like to thank God for changing my life. Basketball’s just a platform in order for me to inspire people, and I realize that.”

The vulnerability and admission of failure. “We disappoint you guys sometimes, but we try our best every single night. You love us as we are. We’re all a work in progress as men.”

I cannot get over what happened last Tuesday afternoon as Kevin Durant accepted his first NBA MVP award.

In a very me-centered industry and world, the moment quickly became about everybody else. The Thunder wouldn’t be the Thunder without KD. Everyone knows that. But what could have been the Durant Show turned into something so special people are still talking about it”…KD acknowledging, praising and thanking every person who’s been part of his journey to be named the best basketball player this season.

Kevin Durant took a moment that could have, and in the world’s eyes should have, been all about him and made it about something greater than himself.

Leadership. That’s what we were all privileged to watch.

He isn’t perfect. In fact, he’s no different than any of us: a work in progress. I’m extremely cautious to elevating him, but it seems evident he’s striving. And according to his speech, he’s found his something greater. “Last I’d like to thank God again. He’s the first and the last, Alpha and Omega. Thanks for saving my life.”

KD, your platform is vast. Thanks for and keep using it to point to something greater.

Cheering you on from afar,


If you haven’t watched this, it’s a must. Full 26 minutes…SO worth it. 7 minutes of highlights.

And on this Mother’s Day, shout out to my real MVP, Mama Roth! The only fitting card for Mother’s Day 2014!


Letter #616: The Grind House


Dear spontaneity,

The last 16 hours have been the epitome of you. Thunder vs. Grizzlies, Game 4 in Memphis”…and I was in attendance. Last week I was sitting in a meeting. I got a couple repeated calls from friend, so I shot her a text to make sure she wasn’t dying. She informed me she could get playoff tickets for a pretty reasonable price and wanted to know if I was in.

Mind you, 10 days before that I had very flippantly joked that if she could get cheap tickets, I’d hop on Seaport Air (my trusty 8 passenger plane out of Harrison, AR) and come. It would never happen, right?! Now it was time to put my money where my mouth was.


Sometimes it just feels like our personal plane…

Within an hour I got ahold of my roommate and we were in! You see, she just got engaged (congrats!) and we’ve been talking about going to a Thunder game for years. This was potentially our last chance as I move to camp and she moves to North Carolina. We’re both planners. We don’t just decide on a whim to hop a flight for a 16 hour trip. This time, we did!!

6:15 flight. 7:15 land. 8:30 tip-off. Thankfully delays were minimal and Seaport pulled through for me yet again! After getting berated through the streets of downtown Memphis for our Thunder gear, we rolled into our seats at 8:15.

Definite highlight…live band while waiting in line to get in! Mom & Pops, I found my wedding band!!!

A Thunder playoff game has been on my bucket list since their inception. Just checking things off! The Grind House is full of energy. NBA games are just fun. Lively atmosphere for sure and my boys came out of the gates looking good. After giving up a 17 point lead, it turned into a close game. It was as if we didn’t even really want it. I distinctly remember four offensive rebounds given up in the last four minutes of regulation.

Not bad for the cheap seats!!

A miracle shot by KD sent it to OT which I was totally OK with to get more of my money’s worth. Turnovers, poor shot selection and too many second chances for the Grizz proved to be too much to overcome. Thunder down 3-1 in the series”…I guess if we get knocked out, I’ll care less about the playoffs as I move to and start camp!

Game time!
Walkin’ in Memphis…walkin’ with my feet ten feet off of Beale!

A win would’ve made the trip that much sweeter, but regardless it was an absolute blast. You only live once. I believe in making memories. I need to live in you more often. It’s good to have plans in life, but every once in a while we just need to go and have fun.

Even when it means driving back to Branson at 5:30am and moving to camp the same afternoon.

Here’s to making memories,

Thunder Fan

Letter #143: Space Jam 2?!

Dear basketball,

I’m not sure when you quit being pure game and turned into pure production, but you have. From the Kardashian’s, Jack Nicholson’s and Spike Lee’s fanship of the Lakers to the biggest publicity stunt of a trade and Lebron James, the NBA is as big of a drama as ABC’s “The Bachelor.’ The majority of players are more worried about personal stats and salaries than playing defense or the betterment of the team.

On top of that, you have all sorts of antics going on in the college realm. All sorts of new commentating techniques, talk of nationwide courts looking like Oregon’s intriguing yet hideous one and a bunch of young adults just trying to make a name for themselves. More defense is played here than the NBA, but college has even become more of a production than pure game.

Yet, we’re still enamored with you. At the root of it, we love you and the game in its’ purest form. We love a good upset and court storming, a heartfelt success story of a should have been nobody turned somebody because of you and the excitement you facilitate. However, I think we also love the production.

Following Kevin Durant on Twitter, watching student section flash mobs and highlighting celebrity fans and player’s dating relationships adds to the hype surrounding you. In a culture that bores easily, we want to be kept on our toes. Whether it’s a positive or negative, I’m not sure yet. Either way, you’ve done a great job keeping up with trends.

Specifically, I’d like to give mad props to the NBA. I don’t even watch the NBA minus the Thunder and All-Star Weekend, but it does things well. It leads any major venue in philanthropy with “NBA Cares‘ and does the best job of any sport of being innovative. This weekend, NBA All-Star weekend, has not disappointed. As Lebron, KD, Kobe, DWade, etc. exchange ridiculous plays tonight, I think my favorite portion of the weekend is the dunk contest. Sure, it’s all just a big production, but still really fun!

So, in honor of you and your production abilities, here are a couple dunk contest highlights (click pictures for the videos)

Blake Griffin dunking over a car...the dunk's not that great, but the showmanship's stellar...I think he's looking for a Space Jam 2 contract!
My favorite dunk...yes, I'm biased because I love the Thunder, but this was creative! If Ibaka would've gotten it on his first try and not gotten screwed on his first dunk, he may have moved on!

I have come to realize I just really love you in any form. Sure, you’ve become quite the drama lately in the NBA and even the NCAA, but I still just love the game. Teaching basketball at K-West is a highlight of my day, and every once in awhile I get the urge to coach. Who knows what will come of that, but in the meantime, I’ll continue to appreciate you for the game and laugh at the antics.

May you continue to change with the times while remaining true to the game,

Lover of you in any form