Joining the 2,000 point club in the Euroleague on October 29th in Greece against Panionios was nothing special. I say that because I am not a big stats guy. I just love and cherish playing the game of basketball. It’s not about stats for me but about the team and getting as many wins as “WE” can.

Being a point guard it’s even more important for me to try and make my teammates better and individual awards aren’t a part of that. I have never made an all-Euroleague team, never been MVP of the week, never won a Defensive Player of the Year award. But I have just continued to work my butt off to be the best player and teammate I could possibly be. It has always been about winning for me. I think I have gained my respect throughout the world because I am a winner. 

So being No. 3 (the third player to score 2,000 points in the Euroleague) behind two great players like Luis Scola and Marcus Brown is an honor. But it doesn’t make me feel any more special of a player in my mind. I played with Marcus Brown at CSKA for two years, and he truly is a phenomenal player. The way he finds a way to score and his fierce competitiveness to win was a pleasure to be around and experience for two very good seasons. Having played against Luis Scola many times when he was at Tau Ceramica in Spain, I got to witness first hand how good he really is. With him now playing for the Houston Rockets in the NBA, the whole world is getting a chance to see a special player compete at the highest level. Me, I see myself as a good player that has been blessed to be in the right place at the right time. Saying that, I would like to thank all my former and present teammates, coaches and organizations that have given me the opportunity to be successful. 

On a sour note, I was injured in the same game that I became a part of the 2,000-point club. I fractured my pinky finger. It’s crazy because I don’t even know exactly when it happened but I can say, it hurt like he**. I hurt it in the first quarter, but I continued to play the rest of the game. I played 23 minutes, had 8 points, 3 assists and 1 rebound in an 82-56 victory. I didn’t know it was fractured until the next day at 5 p.m. when I went to the hospital. I knew it was hurting and sore but when it turned black and blue over night I got a little worried. The doctor at first said I would miss 2-3 months. I was hurt and kept telling him no way for a pinky finger. That was just me wanting to play ball and continue to try an help my team win games. Anyway, after more talks and the fact that I am a healthy athlete 🙂 , they say 3-5 weeks. I really do hope I can get healthy soon and get back on the court. I love competing and I felt like our team was starting to get a good rhythm and a nice feel for each other on the court.  

I never like/want injuries to happen to any athlete but sometimes injuries can help a team grow closer together. It also usually gives players more freedom to play and make mistakes because they know they won’t be substituted for quickly when they do make mistakes. That, in turn can help build a player’s confidence. This is what I am hoping for, for our team from my injury. That we can continue to progress as a team and some players can build more confidence through my absence.  I think this will happen because we have a great group of guys whose main goal is winning.   

I watched 30 minutes of a futbol (soccer) game the other day. CSKA was playing Spartak Moscow. It’s really hard for me to get into futbol. I am not sure why. It’s just kind of boring to me. It’s a whole lot of running for me with too little action. Yes, players make plays like any other sport but it’s too methodical for me with not enough action. I also think because I wasn’t raised on the sport I don’t quite understand the method and what may be going on during the game. Fans can watch a whole game, 2 or 3 hours and the score finish up 1-0. I can’t do it 🙂 but I am trying to get into the sport a little more. 

What a finish in the Texas Tech-Texas college football game this past Saturday. I picked Texas Tech to finally get over the hump and beat Texas, but Texas didn’t go quietly.  Texas continued to fight their way back after trailing 19-0 to start the game to eventually take a one-point lead with a minute and a half left in the game. Texas Tech didn’t panic at all and drove the ball right down the field to score the game-winning touchdown with one second left in the game. Texas quarterback Colt McCoy definitely impressed me again this game. He didn’t have a good first half, actually he and the Texas offense were terrible for the first two quarters of the game. He bounced back the second half and showed a lot of leadership and swagger to get Texas back in the lead. 

What I didn’t know was how good Texas Tech is on defense. Their offense gets a lot of recognition because they score a lot of points but the defense really impressed me. They were fast, aggressive and made a lot of plays to help Texas Tech defeat then No. 1 Texas. Texas Tech has a tough schedule in front of them. They face No.9 Oklahoma State and then No. 4 Oklahoma, but if they can win those two games they have a good chance to potentially be playing for a National Championship.                       

The NBA season has gotten underway and I am excited about that.  The 10 players I can’t wait to watch this season are Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Kevin Garnett, Joe Johnson, Steve Nash, Allen Iverson, Baron Davis, Amare Stoudamire and LeBron James.  More about that and the NBA coming soon. 

Til’ next time…Barack Obama for President

J.R.

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7 Comments

  1. Lynae says:

    Way To Go Barack!!!! So sorry to hear about the injury. Way to always stay positive. Touching on a point you made…. for anyone that has seen you play from start to finish has to begin to understand the politics in the sport of basketball because you play with so much heart and passion and to not have been awarded MVP, is insane!!!!
    On a more positive note… your greatest reward will not be given to you on this earth and that reward we all live for. This reward makes any other seem so miniscule.

    Continue to play for the team, for your fans, for the love of the game…. not for the money, the hoopla, the man made rewards or the politics…. okay maybe for the money(smile)

    Take care of that pinky!!!

  2. Alberto says:

    Fantastic. It’s great to read about your experiences. Sometimes when you see a basketball player, and even more one from CSKA, you may think he’s in another dimension. But no !! You are real, XD, and it’s good to realize that.

    Take care

    Alberto

    p.d.: here in Spain we still remember that shoot with Russia…

  3. Reggi says:

    All I can say is “your head is on straight”. You know what you want and know what you will get. Keep up the good work and the good articles. Take care of that pinky finger. In the meantime, play hard. All good things comes to an end (even the bad things), so play hard and keep winning. Know that you have our support in all that you do. We will be looking at those 10 players in the NBA also. “Congrats” on entering the 2,000 club. We’re proud of Obama but we’re proud of you too. You have never made an all-Euroleague team, never been MVP of the week, never won a Defensive Player of the Year award but all these are still possible! Love ya!!Mom

  4. Puerto Rico says:

    Hey Jay!! So good to finally see you back on the net with another update. Sorry to hear about your pinky but Im happy to hear you are still in good spirits! Look at it this way…this is the break you needed from coming off a Euro League Championship, going right into the Olympics, then entering the ’08-’09 season. You are a BEAST!! To hell with the MVP’s and Player of the Week and all that mess. Id take your success and skill over all those awards anyday!! I mean, you played in the Olympics baby!! You’re a Euroleague Champion more than once!! Who wouldnt want that over some individual achievements?? And I still dont know how you did it, but we are all glad you did and do continue to entertain us. Get well soon and get home even sooner so we can pop this bottle for Obama!!! Miss You!!

    Puerto Rico!

  5. Mick K says:

    JR it is finally good to see someone from the real Pittsburgh basketball scene get some resepect because the goods ones like yourself were always about winning and gaining respect from their competitors and not individual awards congrats on all your success and more to come. PS- I always will remeber the summer we ran through Kinard until you left for school (smile)
    You are the best from the Burgh from the 90’s era then and now.
    Be Safe Mick K.

  6. Ms. Yoka says:

    I feel you when you say that you don’t play for the individual stats, but always for the team. I think everyone who knows you knows that about you. But maybe that’s why you still getting those individual milestones is just so much sweeter. Yes, you have been blessed to be in the right place at the right time, but in the same breathe, if you are always the missing piece of the puzzle than it is quite obvious that you bring something to teams that other players don’t. You have won championships on every team you played for, even if you only played for a team for one year & that team hadn’t won a championship years before you got there. You are the one that helps bring out the best out of every other player on the team, you are the one who keeps shooting after practice when everyone else already left the court, you are the one who’s not scared to shoot the ball in clutch time, and you are the one who knows you can do so much more on the court but adjusts your game because it’s for the good of the team. All of that doesn’t just make you a good player, it makes you the great player that you are. Through all of it, you have stayed humble and you persevered through all the sacrifices. And I can’t speak for everyone else, but as far as for me that’s why I’m always so proud of you & happy for you when you do get the individual achievements. I know how hard you’ve worked over the years and how much you’ve sacrificed for the team and you’ve always given every team what they have asked of you, a championship. So maybe it’s a bigger than basketball type of thing… you remind me that as long as you keep persevering and working hard for the right reasons and don’t lose track of the ultimate goal, then you’ll get everything you ask for… and so much more. So, no matter what you say, I’ll always be happy for you and proud of you with everything you achieve :-). Just wanted to give you that perspective.