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An Open Letter To Josh Smith

Posted by HawkRock1123 , 21 February 2012 · 294 views

all star josh smith dunk
Dear Mr. Smith,

…and I certainly do mean Mr. Smith, because you have come into your own. Nobody knows that better than longtime Hawks fans.

If a man came across the Grand Canyon for the first time, knowing nothing about the way that such a marvel could come into existence, he may just assume that it had been that way since the beginning of time. But we know better. We know that creating the Grand Canyon took an enormous amount of time and energy, little by little carving out what is now a wonder to embrace. Only the Good Lord knows what this piece of land looked like at the beginning of time. Only He watched it grow.

But with you, basketball fans in Atlanta were more privileged.

Those of us who have been with the team since before we were relevant remember what we thought the first time you put on your hometown team’s uniform. They told us you were an 18 year old kid, and we had to take them at their word. But to my college buddies and myself, you looked more like a super-charged cyborg sent from the future with a single objective: dunk.

And you did. You dunked on everybody. You went to the rim every time. You were fearless, a warrior bringing inspiration to an otherwise lifeless team. The only thing you seemed to care about as much as dunking was thwarting the feeble attempts of those less worthy. Dunk belonged only to you. It was your birthright, a blessing which you graciously shared with those who wore the same jersey. All others were denied for their blasphemies.

And we loved you for it. You gave us something to cheer for back when the postseason was a pipe dream, a time of the year when we had to find another team to root for because our beloved Hawks were on early vacation. We left a lot of empty space in the win column that season, but you gave us a reason to check Sportscenter every morning. “I wonder what Josh did last night….”

Last week, you were once again overlooked by the invisible powers-that-be for the NBA All-Star game. I thought NBA coaches did the voting, but given the results, I have to think that the voters are a collection of angry individuals who sit in an undisclosed dark room not watching basketball. Given your performance in this grueling shortened season, I can only assume that their methods for choosing All-Stars consists solely of staring ignorantly at each other and saying “Let’s just pick the same guys from last year.

But we see you.

We the fans have watched you grow from a young dunk-Jedi with a world of potential into a complete (and remarkably unique) NBA star. Season after season, you have done the dirty work on a team that needed your energy to weather the storms of roster changes, injuries, and indifference from the rest of the league.

Let’s be honest, Mr. Smith. You don’t fit into their mold. They haven’t watched you like we have. They don’t understand. And here’s what is perhaps most important about your game – you know it.

And I know you know it, because I have watched you play, Mr. Smith. I have watched you play since you were Josh the 18 year-old kid. They overlooked you then too, and you used it as a motivation. You had something to prove, knowing that your unique skill set made you an invaluable piece of a winning team. Like any good warrior, you used their negligence of the obvious to fuel your fire. Why sugar coat this? You play with a chip on your shoulder. It makes you who you are, a volatile player who has learned to focus their negative energy where it belongs – at the rim.

We’re with you. They overlook us too. In that way, you embody the spirit of this franchise. The Hawks are a team that nobody takes seriously, even when we beat the best. We eliminate the Magic in the first round like it’s strictly business, and the media cites their failure rather than our success. We take the Bulls to the limit, and still we’re regarded as “lucky to have it made it that far.”

But we know better, and we know better about you, Mr. Smith. We know the player that was the turning point for this franchise. We know the difference-maker, the secret weapon, the gladiator. We know because we have spent time in your arena. We have seen the victims who lay in your wake.

So I hope that you will understand that “NBA All-Star” is an arbitrary distinction, a popularity contest decided by the people you spent the last 8 years dunking on.

Let’s be honest. You didn’t want to play for them anyway.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Scott Hall
The (Local) Rockstar Devotional

  • AHawks89 likes this



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