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Self-Expression – Voices

“Basketball was an outlet for me to distract myself from daily life. Now, it’s something I look forward to and I consciously make time for it.”
Chicago, IL
There’s nothing I’m serious-serious about besides basketball.

Not serious like NBA-wise, but I don’t like to goof off and play for fun. I want to win. But everything else is for everybody else’s entertainment.

Ball was my way of gaining friends, as well as getting better because I enjoyed it. That was after I started watching. My favorite player at the time was Derrick Rose, so I started getting into it.

Basketball stuck onto me middle school, but I had no one to play with. And I sucked.

Middle school was a lonely time for me. I did not have a lot of friends.

I was involved in a crowd, but it wasn’t like tight. I just didn’t want to make them too tight.

They weren’t very motivated and did bad things, but they were my group since elementary school. I didn’t really want to involve myself with that.

Other than that, family-wise, my brothers all left the house and my parents went to Pakistan, so the house was empty.

I played at the mosque parking lot in summer school, and that’s where it started. That’s where I met my closest friends.

Generally, I found the tightest connection with everyone as part of a Muslim brotherhood. It became a competition with my best friend, and that’s what fueled it.

Basketball was an outlet for me to distract myself from daily life. Now, it’s something I look forward to and I consciously make time for it.

But, not to escape anything, because I am fine with the reality I have to face. That means being mature about my decisions and focusing on school.

It’s a communicational sport, not only on the court but off the court. If you keep anything that was during the game, that’s kind of stupid.

That’s part of the game. Basketball’s a mediator.

I enjoy basketball in combination with talking to people. I want to understand how they perceive the world.

A close friend suffered from mental disorders, so that made me more into learning about people and their situations. It made me value perspective a lot.

Basketball has flipped its significance in my life. Now it’s for leisure—an option, not a necessity.

It was still pleasure back then, but now it’s physical and social. I’ve met a lot of people at college, and a lot of them are good people.

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