The Joy of Hooping

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I have always loved watching basketball as I love the game. I started watching NBA basketball around 1994/1995 as a kid who was intrigued by my fellow countryman Hakeem Olajuwon leading the Houston Rockets to back-to-back NBA championships. I followed Michael Jordan’s second run of winning his last three rings with the Chicago Bulls and I had some late nights watching the Bulls play Malone-led Utah Jazz team in the 1997/1998 season. Watching the Netflix miniseries, the last dance during the COVID-19 pandemic brought back some childhood memories as I was following some of the events in the series as a kid.

Basketball is one sport I wish I played as a kid, I did not get to play it much but I loved watching it. Fast forward to 2019, I just recently moved to Toronto and the Toronto Raptors were on their run of winning their first NBA championship in franchise history. I watched my first live NBA game at the Scotiabank Arena in 2019 and it was a spectacle to behold. Kawhi Leonard was in the building and it was a great feeling watching him and the Raptors lift the spirit of a whole nation. Since that first live NBA game, I have been hooked on the sport of basketball and am on a journey learning to become great at playing the game.

Learning to Play the Game.

I think Winston Churchill was referring to the sport of basketball when he said “Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm”. In October 2022, I set a goal of learning to play basketball, and I committed to practicing at least 5 hours every week. I have been able to follow through on the goal as I habit-stacked the basketball practice by listening to French podcasts daily. I am presently working on speaking impeccable French and one of the strategies for doing that is to be able to understand spoken French. I start my daily exercise routine daily with a daily basketball shooting routine. Shooting basketball is one of the great ways I have found to experiment with failing continuously. Shooting basketball can be extremely frustrating before you get the cadence, mechanics, and rhythm right.

As Basketball legend Micheal Jordan once said “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” As good as Jordan was on the basketball court, he missed over 9000 shots in his career. Imagine the number of shots he had to take in practice. Getting good at anything, especially a sport like basketball requires shooting drills, reps, more reps, and consistency. I start my exercise routine daily with basketball as it helps build my confidence for conquering the day. By missing lots of shots daily, I have a bigger outlook on the challenges that I would face during the day.

I am not yet a very proficient basketball player or shooter, but the daily practice and the daily opportunity to improve my basketball skills make going to the court for a workout worth it. The shooting drills can be draining, and not losing enthusiasm because of the challenges can be tough. But as Churchill quipped, you have to keep shooting, leaving everything on the floor, and keep getting better daily. In a typical one-hour session, I am usually working on a particular spot shooting and I don’t leave that spot until I make 5 successful shots repeatedly. Sometimes, it takes me 45 minutes to achieve and some other times it takes five minutes to make the 5-bucket goal. By working on this 5 shots per drill goal, I am getting better incrementally. As Bruce Lee once said

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.

In his memoir, My Life: Earvin “Magic” Johnson, former NBA player and five-time champion Magic Johnson writes about his love for hooping and his illustrious career in the NBA.

My Father’s favorite player was Wilt Chamberlain, but we used to watch all the greats: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson from Milwaukee, Bill Russell and John Havlicek from the Celtics, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West from the Lakers. During the games, my father would point out the subtleties of the pick-and-roll play, and explain the various defensive strategies.

We’d play one-on-one, and he always beat me. He was really good, but he also played tough. He taught me to win against the odds, and never to quit.

I wanted to be good, so I practiced and played constantly. As hard as my father worked on his jobs, I worked on the basketball court. But I always found a way to make it fun. When I was alone, I’d play fantasy full-court games between Philadephia and Detroit. These always boiled down to a one-on-one confrontation between my two favorites, Wilt Chamberlain and Dave Bing. I’d be Chamberlain going one way and Big the other.


  • Daily Calm with Tamara Levitt – Monkeys
  • Sometimes when we stop to practice, what we notice is our active monkey mind, it jumps around from thought to thought like a monkey jumping from tree to tree, branch to branch; our mind hardly seat still for a moment. Don’t worry about the clock, our goal is to observe whatever is happening not to judge it.
  • If you have a monkey mind, just notice the business and when you are swapped away by thoughts, pull yourself back, and do so gently without any frustration. When we learn to observe our experience without making it right or wrong, that is when we are mastering practice.

“The ocean doesn’t complain about the dance of ten million waves; so don’t be concerned with the rise and fall of thoughts. – Papaji

  • Daily Jay with Jay Shetty – Temptation Bundling
  • Temptation bundling works like this: You take something you enjoy doing like playing a video game, or a guilty pleasure such as watching a TV series, and you tie that activity to a new habit that you want to build.


  • Guy Laliberté, Founder of Cirque du Soleil | The Tim Ferriss Show

All the best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

Lifelong Learner | Entrepreneur | Digital Strategist at Reputiva LLC | Marathoner | Bibliophile |

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