In Christopher Nolan's 2010 mind-, time- and world-bending film Inception, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Dom is tasked with the responsibility of leading a team that uses a dream to plant the idea to sell off a company piece by piece in the mind of an unsuspecting businessman. This method of corporate raiding, after which the movie is named, is supposedly the type of thing that just isn't done. For his part, Dom had a simple reply to the naysayers who doubted the plan's viability.
"I've done it before."
So had my mother, and she didn't even need a dream to make it happen.
Her goal wasn't to take down an über-wealthy, international mogul. It was only to encourage her daughter’s unending affinity for the game of basketball.
The back story goes that 3- or 4-year old Rosalyn was hanging out with her mom at a basketball game at the middle school where she taught sixth grade. And either because I had heard my father yelling it at the TV on occasion or because it was a much needed urging for the guys out on the court that day, I kept calling out "get the rebound, boys!" to everyone and no one in particular.
I don't remember this, of course, but it’s turned out to be my most important sports memory to date. By the time I was 13, I had heard this story at least 20 times, and by then, it had started to get in a little. Ultimately, I came to believe that my understanding of the game was a gift that the universe had granted me long before I knew how to tie my shoes.
And with that, not only had my mother successfully Inception-ed me into being a lifelong fan of what happens on the hardwood, but she had inadvertently forged me into becoming a critical observer of the art of rebounding.
I fancy all the greats.
Dennis Rodman's 34-rebound performance in a single game gave me the chills.
Call me crazy, but the fact that Ben Wallace was practically useless on offense made his rebounding all the more captivating.
And don't get me wrong, Memphis Grizzlies fans love Marc Gasol, but they get a little testy when Zach Randolph doesn't get his just due. After all, his rebounding is the giver of all second-chance points, and he's so good at it that he's able to do it without being able to jump more than an inch off of the ground.
I'm thankful that my mom went to so much trouble to give me basketball. It made for some pretty great moments that the two of us shared as well.
Funny stuff, like the time we went to a Grizzlies season tip-off luncheon and she told Jake Tsakalidis that his foot was as long as her entire leg. Or the brief time she stopped liking Kevin Durant because of how badly he was torching the Grizz. She refused to say his name so she kept yelling, "Deny! Don't let skinny legs get the ball!"
In fact, it was a 2013 Grizzlies playoff win against Durant's Oklahoma City Thunder at home in the FedEx Forum that would not only be a great basketball occasion for us, but one of the last memories I would make with my mom forever.
She passed away almost exactly a month later, but rooting for the home team with her that night is a moment I'll never forget.
I once ran a 6 and a half-minute mile. So, there's that.