T.J. McConnell, My Favorite NBA Player

T.J. McConnell, My Favorite NBA Player

Every NBA fan has their favorite player to root for. Usually it’s a top 10 player, or whoever happens to be the best player on their favorite team. While I do enjoy watching some of the best scorers like James Harden or Steph Curry, lately I’ve grown fond of one lesser known player: T.J. McConnell, the undrafted guard from the 76ers.

Averaging about 7 points, 2 rebounds and 4 assists from the bench, T.J. is far from an elite player (at least for the time being). But what makes him valuable — and the reason why I like him so much — is that he is a hard working player with a contagious spirit.

He first came into my radar during the 2017-2018 season, when the Sixers became my go-to team to watch. I noticed how competitive he was. And let’s face it, when you are as athletically disadvantaged like him, you have no choice but to give your all in every game.

Even when he’s on the bench, he’s always visibly enthusiastic over his teammates’ successes, which makes him a source of energy for the team.

TJ getting dowsed after achieving his first triple double

“He has value. He’s very important in my eyes to us. His history with the program, the cultural responsibility that he has, the bonding with many of our current players makes him extremely valuable.”

Sixers coach, Brett Brown. Source

But he’s not just a great teammate; he is also a favorite among Philadelphians. During home games, you can hear fans get especially excited whenever he scores or makes great plays.

The reason why I like him is that he has such a great underdog story. After college, he could have easily believed that he wasn’t cut out for the NBA and that would have been the end of it. But instead he believed in himself. And even though he wasn’t drafted he still found a coach to take a chance on him. Not only did he make it in a team, but he was able to have good minutes. Against all odds, he found his niche.

It’s amazing to see his fearlessness in the face of bigger, more athletic players. For me, he is a constant reminder that confidence goes a long way.

I hope he has long NBA career. Either way, I’ll be rooting for him along the way.

To learn more about his story and how much he had to overcome to get to where he is, I recommend this great interview from The JJ Redick Podcast.

My Personal Development Project: Move a Mile a Day

My Personal Development Project: Move a Mile a Day

If you see my Instagram, you would notice that I'm running at least 1 mile every morning.

About a year ago I made the conscious decision to make running a part of my life, the reason being I want to live a long and healthy life. In the beginning, the times when I ran were sporadic. I basically ran only when I felt like it. Sometimes I even took weeks off. 

To become more consistent I joined a running club. This really helped my consistency and endurance. We ran on Mondays and Thursdays, but when it came to the rest of the week, I didn't always run. Again, only when I felt like it.

While that certainly was an improvement, I wasn't running as often as I would have liked to. I think if I truly want to become a lifelong runner, I need to turn running into a subconscious habit. This is why I've decided to take on this personal development project. The challenge is to move at least 1 mile every day for the next 30 days. 

Now, one mile may not seem like much for someone like me, but that's by design.

This isn't about the distance or the speed. Running 1 mile may be easy. Staying consistent is the hard part. It means I have to do it even on my worst days. 

By making it an easier distance, I'm also removing almost every possible excuse. There's almost no reason why I couldn't go through 9 minutes of discomfort every day. If I made the challenge 3 miles I would be more likely to resist even getting out there, and that doesn't help me. Besides, what I've found is that once I'm out there, I'm likely to push myself beyond 1 mile just to make my day's exercise more impactful.

Another reason is that I currently have an injured knee which is in the process of healing. Right now I can't run more than three miles without devolving into a limp. Even though I'm taking on this challenge, I'm also committed on allowing my knee to heal. It may mean that if it starts hurting too much, I will walk that day. Either way, at least one mile will get done. I'll even crawl if I have to.

In order to make this challenge more real, I decided to document it on Instagram. If you want to witness my journey, you can go ahead and follow me there. It'll give me more reason to not give up and you'll get slight doses of inspiration. At least I know I get inspired when I see other people's hustle.  

If I'm successful maybe this will turn into a yearlong challenge, or maybe I'll go crazy and make it lifelong!

Maybe I'll be like this man who ran every day for 45 years:

Featured image by Anders Jildén on Unsplash

NBA > NFL

NBA > NFL

There are many reasons why I always liked basketball. One big reason is that it has a low barrier for getting involved: all you need is a ball and a hoop, plus you can play alone or with as many people as you want.

One less obvious, but I think more important, reason is because it cultivates individualism. Every player is empowered to change the course of a game. This power is not dictated by what position one plays. In football we clearly see that it is the quarterback who has the most power to affect the game. In this way, individual merit matters a lot less, because you can be the best kicker in the world and you will hardly get credit for a win compared to the quarterback. 

Basketball also cultivates individualism because it's a lot easier to identify each player along with his emotions. As an audience member, this lets you further appreciate the player as a person rather than as a pawn in a game. This is very different from covering him with so much gear and putting him far in the middle of a gigantic stadium, where it's hard to distinguish him from others let alone see what he is feeling. 

Also, I don't have the hard evidence to back it up right now, but it seems that the NFL is more strict with how the players can express themselves. How often do you see NFL players wearing ridiculous clothes compared to NBA players? 

To put it simply, it seems to me that the NBA is marketed a lot better than the NFL. They know individualism is what sells. 

So it will come to no surprise to me if there comes a day when the NBA surpasses the NFL as the most popular American sport.