Ever since I was little, I loved following the NBA.  My father used to bring me to Sixers games at the Spectrum in the 1980s, where we saw Dr. J, Moses Malone, Mo Cheeks, and Charles Barkley.  In the 1990s and early 2000s, Allen Iverson was the “Answer” that united Philadelphia.  For a child (and as an adult) NBA players always seemed to be larger than life both on and off the court.  I also loved to play basketball and I was pretty good when I was in elementary and middle school.  In my 12-year-old adolescent mind, I thought I was definitely going to be going to the NBA.  One day, when I was in 7th grade at Bala Cynwyd Middle School, a kid from Italy named Kobe moved onto our block and enrolled in our school. After a few days, he showed up for some pick-up games at our neighbor Mike Levien’s house.  It was after playing with him a few times that I realized I should probably make a backup plan just in case my hoops dreams fell through. 

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