The city of Chicago is paramount when it comes to the game of basketball. In the video below, Chicago native Isiah Thomas takes a stroll through his hometown to show the soul and spirit of hoops in the Windy City.
The West Side of Chicago has been riddled by crime and gang violence, but Thomas shed a positive light on the area that is rarely seen to the masses. In the video, Zeke embraces family and takes a trip down memory lane to where he honed his love for the game.
The short video is worth watching for three reasons:
Gladys & Spaulding
At a local playground on Gladys and Spaulding Streets, a basketball legend was born. Many basketball players earn their national reputations in AAU, high school and in college, but there is always a starting point to that success. Without the court at Gladys and Spaulding we may not have ever heard the name Isiah Thomas. In the video he mentioned:
“Here is the beautiful thing, that neighborhood, race, economic conditions, doesn’t affect the game in Chicago. The game always transcended race, it always transcended economics. And the game wasn’t always about the dribbling, wasn’t about the shooting, it was about the love you gave each other.”
It’s always interesting to see where NBA legends began their basketball expedition. To know that Zeke started out a small park on the west side of Chicago to end up as a first-ballot Hall of Famer just shows you the type of drive he had as a player as well as being fervent about the game of basketball. It also gives optimism that the next great NBA legend is perfecting their skills at a playground near you.
Basketball in Chicago Is Therapeutic
It’s no secret that Chicago has been perforated with crime over the years. In neighborhoods such as the West Side, there are many distractions that can lead the youth into a dark path. While some teens become causalities to the street life — the game of basketball is a safe place for those facing the rigors of everyday life in the area. Therapy comes in a lot of different ways, and in this case an orange sphere-shaped ball is just as valuable as sitting on the couch with Dr. Phil.
Zeke's Legend Still Remains in Chicago
Isiah Thomas is often viewed as a forgotten legend. Thomas played in an era dominated by Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, so there are times where his accomplishments get overlooked. Though, his accomplishments are somewhat casted over, he is one of few NBA players to say that he has defeated each of the three aforementioned players in a playoff series. Although, he played the villain role towards the Chicago Bulls in the 80's and 90's, the hard feelings did not intersect in a negative fashion. As seen in the video, it is evident how the residents of his home town adore Zeke.