Dream Live Ball

By: Brittany Graham

basketball

God's Faithfulness, Candace Parker & Nneka Ogwumike

basketball, faith, motivation, lifebrittany graham
Candace Parker filled with emotion after Game 5 with her daughter Lailaa 

Candace Parker filled with emotion after Game 5 with her daughter Lailaa 

Last week during Game 5 of the WNBA finals the LA Sparks defeated the Minnesota Lynx in dramatic fashion to capture the 2016 WNBA Championship. I usually don’t have a preference as to who I want win, as I would rather see a long series filled with good basketball. However, this time around deep down inside, I wanted LA to take it home.

Despite being the same age, I’ve always been a fan of Candace Parker since her days at Tennessee. I admire her love for the game, competitive spirit, versatility on the court, and the fact that she’s a mother all while being one bad ass basketball player. Earlier this year when Parker was cut from the Olympic team that would go on to win a gold medal in Rio, my heart dropped. In my own humble opinion, there was no way Parker should’ve been left of this year’s Olympic team and falling short of reaching her third god medal.

Candace Parker in Game 5 of the WNBA Finals

Candace Parker in Game 5 of the WNBA Finals

 Parker’s teammate Nneka Ogwumike also fell short of making the Olympic team, which some also say stirred controversy in her own right. But that’s just how life goes sometimes. You may work your ass off, be the best person for the part, deserve the job, and for whatever reason still get cut. You’re not always going to get the things you want and or deserve, but that’s just a part of life.

 Both Parker and Ogwumike are prime examples of perseverance and trusting God's plan, because HE always follows through. They could’ve easily felt sorry for themselves for not making the Olympic team, complained and went looking for sympathy. Instead, during the month long Olympic break they regrouped, refocused, went to work, and came back better than ever.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
— Hebrews 11:6
Neneka Ogwumike with the huge rebound and game winner in Game 5

Neneka Ogwumike with the huge rebound and game winner in Game 5

Just months after the disappointments of being cut from the Olympic Team, Nneka Ogwumike was named the 2016 WNBA MVP. And after 8 years in the league, Candace Parker finally got her first championship, and was named Finals MVP.

Nneka Ogwumike, 2016 WNBA MVP

Nneka Ogwumike, 2016 WNBA MVP

Sometimes it’s hard to fully understand what God’s plan is for us. That’s why it’s always important to remain faithful to Him because HIS plan never fails. So many times in life there is something you may want more than anything and God takes it away. To test you and your faithfulness to Him and HIS plan for you. But in doing so, going through the trials and tribulations He puts you through, the reward is always greater and means so much more.

Don't give up or get discouraged if you do not get what you feel you deserve. Continue to trust God and know that HE will always come through to those who honor their faithfulness to Him.

I love you guys.

Have a great week!!!

Always, #DreamLiveBall

 

 

 

 

Craig Sager, IS Dream Live Ball.

basketball, dream live ball, faith, life, travelBrittany GrahamComment

Last week at the ESPY Awards Craig Sager accepted the Jimmy V Award for perseverance. At the age of 64, Sager is currently battling leukemia and continues to receive chemo treatments while still working as a NBA reporter for TNT. Even so much that he will receive treatments in one state in the morning, hop a flight to the next city, cover a game all in a days work. Most would think he is crazy to take such risks putting his body through so much work all while battling such a vicious disease. But let Craig Sager tell it to you and there is nothing that he would rather be doing that spending his life doing what we loves, leukemia or not. Craig Sager is everything that Dream Live Ball means, and more. Hearing his speech at the ESPY's on how he lives his life and truly enjoys every moment is truly an inspiration for us all. This past April early in the airport traveling back home to Denver from Houston I had the pleasure of meeting Sager. I must admit that once I noticed him from a distance across the way going through security across from me I was initially scared to approach him. I let my fear of meeting one the greatest in his field go, tapped him from behind and introduced myself. To my surprise he greeted me back, "Hey Brittany, how are you?"Like he had known me for years. I told him I love watching him on TV, thanked him, and told him keep fighting. We snapped a selfie and went on our separate ways.

I'm so thankful for his fight, his strength, and his story as it's one we all can be inspired from. Craig Sager does a little DLB each and everyday. So glad he's here to show us all how it's done as he continues to face a tough battle with cancer.

Craig Sager's Speech:

 

Full story/video also shown at the ESPY's:

 

Memorable quotes from Sager's Speech:

Time is something that cannot be bought. It cannot be wagered with God, and it is not an endless supply. Time is simply how you live your life. 

Each and everyday is a canvas we need to paint, an opportunity for love, for fun, for living, for learning. 

The way you think influences the way you feel, and the way you feel determines how you act.

If we don't have hope and faith, we have nothing.

Life Lately, June 2016!

basketball, life, brittanyBrittany Graham1 Comment

Let me tell you about life lately! I can't believe it's already July, which basically means the year is halfway over and Christmas is pretty much next week. The month of June went by so fast...between the preparation for three basketball camps and road tripping to Kansas City that was basically my life for the past four weeks. So let me catch you on and just exactly what's been going on.

This month we had three camps that consumed nearly all of time. Most people probably would never understand how much time, effort, and planning goes into running a successful basketball camp. But trust me when I say that it's exactly that. Months of calls, meetings, organizing, and all of that nearly triples the week leading up to camp. But my absolute favorite part about camp is our Day Camp for girls going in to grades 1st to 6th. It's seriously one of the most fun weeks of my life. By the end of the week it's so hard to say your goodbyes after becoming so attached from spending 4 days with the same group of girls.

The day after camp ended I loaded up my car and headed out to Kansas City for our family reunion. Which before hand seemed like such a great idea to drive nearly 9 hours across Kansas after working extremely hard for a week with very little sleep after camp. However, about 3 hours into the drive in the middle of nowhere I highly regretted this awesome of idea of mine to drive.

KU

The highlight of my day of course was arriving in Lawrence, Kansas and being at the happiest place on earth, the University of Kansas. I spent almost 2 hours walking around campus in awe of my absolute favorite school ever. It was amazing, and the feeling I get when I'm there never gets old.

GO JAYHAWKS!!!
Baby cousins aren't so little anymore

The older I get the less time I get to spend with my family. I had a blast catching up with everyone, looking at old pictures, and laughing at funny stories from the past.

twins with my mom

Other than camp and our family reunion, I've honestly just been trying my best to live each day and enjoy each moment. At the beginning of the month getting lost in my neighborhood, I found this court that was just waiting for me behind an office building. It's so perfect, I love it.

HAPPY JULY FRIENDS!!!! Kill it this month.

I love you all...

-Brittany

Ball is Life

basketballBrittany GrahamComment
FullSizeRender (7)
FullSizeRender (7)

Ball is life. (or is it?). A phrase in my opinion that our next generation of basketball players use all to frequently and way out of context.

According to urbandictonary.com "Ball is Life" is defined as the following:

If you ask me, I would say this is dead on. Over the years being a hooper, and playing basketball has become the cool thing to do, a fad. Now days people just wanna hoop because it's cool not because they love it. Kids want to go to the gym and play hours of pick up but fail to put in the real work it takes to refine the necessary skills to play at the next level. But,  it's cool to post that IG pic or snapchat of you chillin' in the gym, but getting no work done, and expecting to make varsity or play in college.

Ball is life has sadly become more of a look, and less of a lifestyle. It's all about having the Nike Elite backpack, elite socks, and low top Kobe's, KD's or Kyrie's, and for girls the infamous Skylar Diggins headband. Kids are wearing arm sleeves on both arms for no reason other than it looks cool(and if you ask me, it looks far from "cool."), and worst of all, the knee pad/shin guards that everyone is wearing now days but really don't even need them, because they're never even on the floor going after loose balls, SMH. More kids today will pay $60 for a pair of those than spend time in the gym truly working to get better.

All of these bright color shoes, socks, and accessories are fine and dandy, but it's amazing how many of these ball is life hoopers don't even watch or follow the game.

The Ball is Life poser starter kit:

because having all of this makes you good, and a "hooper" right?
because having all of this makes you good, and a "hooper" right?

You have dreams of playing in college yet you don't know who Buddy Hield is?  To me that just don't make sense. There are not nearly enough young players out there who study basketball as students of the game. When I was growing up I would watch basketball all day long, then go outside and imitate all of my favorite players in the driveway until my mom literally had to drag me inside for dinner.  My room was plastered full of MJ, Kobe, Iverson, LeBron, and Carmelo posters. I read SLAM magazine faithfully cover to cover every month, and watched games as much as I could to learn and get better. That, is Ball is Life.

Ball is Life, isn't a look. It has nothing to do with your shoes, socks, and a backpack. All of that is an added bonus, and means nothing if you can't back it up with your game once you step out on that court. It's a lifestyle. Ball is Life is about early morning, late nights and sacrifice. I've been blessed enough to work with an incredible group of division I college basketball players who do just that in addition to maintaining above average grades at a top university. Everybody wants to play in college and get a scholarship, Ball is Life right? But honestly, how many of them are willing to make those sacrifices and put in countless hours in the gym to give themselves in the smallest chance to get there?

Quite frankly I just find it annoying that so many kids claim that "Ball is Life," yet they're never watching it, never working, and never in the gym. But Ball is Life because you rock elite socks and the latest Kobe's? Don't get me wrong, I love bright socks and a fresh pair of Kobe's. But that doesn't make me good, that doesn't make me a hooper.

But what does? my work ethic, love, and passion for the game of basketball. I'm a hooper, and ball is life because of the hard work that nobodyever saw. Because of all of the sacrifice, will, and want to get better each single day. Not my basketball accessories.

Basketball has been a tool that has allowed to me to see so many places, do amazing things, and meet some of the coolest people ever. But none of that would have been possible without a work ethic that matched my dream.

So if it's your dream too, don't be a poser on social media #BallisLife. Get in the gym and work. Ball is life is not about your gear or how you look, it's a lifestyle.

-Brittany