Here are the highlights of the second half of the basketball season:
2/4/18: No game. Alan’s team had the week off, but a play from the prior week — where Alan caught a hot pass from a teammate (Wyatt) and scored — was talked about by Alan and me all week. After I showed Alan video of LeBron’s game-winning shot to beat the T-Wolves at the buzzer on 2/7/18, Alan commented on how Jeff Green’s pass to LeBron was just like Wyatt and Alan’s play. After Alan shared his take on the play, it will likely now go down in family lore — just like the time Alan hit a baseball off the roof of the apartment. That happened last summer, but we talk about that like it was yesterday. 🙂
2/11/18 vs Thunder: Alan is miraculously held scoreless by the all-world Thunder D, but he impacts the game in other ways – most notably with his good passing. Alan brought the ball up the court and set up the offense several times in the game.
2/18/18 vs Cavs: Alan plays his best game of the season, highlighted by 4 made baskets! He scored once in the first quarter, twice in the third quarter (including at the buzzer), and once in fourth quarter. It was an intense game due to one kid on the opposing team being both too skilled and too physical for the league. Early in the third quarter, Alan got banged into by him. But Alan shook it off, stayed in the game, and went on to score 3 of his 4 baskets after getting hurt.
2/25/18 vs Lakers:
3/4/18 vs Celtics:
All of these games were 11:30am starts (first wave of games), so Alan wanted us to arrive before the rest of the team to practice on the open court. It was fun playing 1-on-1 with him!
It’s time for a midseason update:
1/7/18 vs Cavs: In his debut contest, Alan scores 2 baskets, including the Heat’s first basket of the season on the first shot attempt of his career (and one basket in the 3rd quarter). I loved being out on the court with Alan and seeing the pride on his face after making that first shot.
1/14/18 vs Pacers: Alan again scores 2 baskets, opening both the 2nd and 4th quarters with made shots (and fist pumps). I might have to start calling him “The Microwave” because of his potential for instant offense!
1/21/18 vs Blazers: Despite getting hit by a stray ball pregame and getting kicked (inadvertently) during the game, Alan recovers to score 1 basket in the 4th quarter. Alan learned about toughing out games and playing hurt .
1/28/18 vs Knicks: In front of an audience that included Grandma Debbie, Papa, Tata, and Papa #2, Alan keeps his ‘consecutive games with a made basket’ streak alive by converting a shot near the start of the 4th quarter. Alan was back to his enthusiastic self on the court, and he was especially excited to participate in a jump ball for the first time.
According to Alan, basketball has now pulled even with baseball as his favorite sport.
Today Alan puts on his Heat jersey – and matching new shoes – for the first time in league play! I’ll update his progress after games 4 and 8 of the 8-game season.
Today Alan completed the final practice session before league play begins in 2 weeks. He’ll be playing for the Heat this winter!
Alan’s pretty proud of himself for how far he’s come already this season. He can make baskets pretty consistently in the layup line, he can jog while dribbling, and he can slide his feet on defense. The uncertainty he felt before his first practice was ancient history today when he described basketball as “a lot of fun” after his last practice.
Alan can name all the areas on a court now after we’ve been studying a diagram of a basketball court. And Alan’s coach called him the best listener he’s ever seen.
He’s got a second favorite sport to go along with baseball now!
Alan’s first season in the Mayfield LBJ basketball league is officially underway! Alan has worn his lucky Cavs Championship shirt to the first few sessions. It must be bringing him good luck because today he made his first ever shot on the big hoop!
My camera was fortunately in hand, so here’s his form on the shot:
Alan’s friends playing in the league include Noah, Grady, Anton, Joshua, and De’ Onte. Alan partnered with De’ Onte to work on bounce passes.
Alan and I put on our LeBron jerseys – circa 2008 and 2016 – and headed to the Q today to watch the Cavaliers take on the Hawks. Alan was content to buy popcorn and watch the whole first half from our seats. He cheered on LeBron — who finished with 26 points one game after becoming the youngest of seven players to reach 29,000 career points — and learned the names of the new Cavaliers.
We also explored the concourse and stopped over at the Wine & Gold United Headquarters. Alan found his name on the hardwood floor (all by himself) within the first “A” in the “All For One and One for All.” Only one name can be listed for each season ticket holder group, and after using my name last year, this year we used Alan’s!
With the Cavs being in the NBA Finals annually, we’re able to track Alan’s growth in relation to Finals signage. One of the perks of growing up an NBA fan in Northeast Ohio!
Alan and I watched the Cavaliers beat the 76ers at the Q tonight! It was our 1st game of the regular season together and Alan’s second overall. He went to the Feb. 25th game vs the Bulls with Mom as well.
Alan watched a good portion of the second quarter from our seats and cheered every time that LeBron, Kyrie, or Love — his favorites — scored points or grabbed rebounds. Before that, he was busy taking pictures with them. 🙂
Other highlights of the night included taking in the sights around the concourse and stopping by the Wine & Gold United Membership area for stickers and photos. Alan loved wearing his LeBron jersey, which I bought him after he became a member of the Cavs Kids Club this year!
This afternoon, thanks to Alan, we got to take a photo with the Larry O’Brien trophy! The photo opp was made available to members of the Cavs Kids Club (NOT Wine & Gold Members like me ha) following the Cavs’ annual Wine & Gold Scrimmage at the Q.
During the scrimmage, which we watched from the Club level, Alan cheered every time Kyrie touched the ball, Love made a 3-pointer, or LeBron (DNP) was shown on the scoreboard. Those three players are easily the three most recognizable athletes to Alan, since he saw them on TV quite frequently last season.
Overall, it was a great trip to the Q for Alan – his first since January 2013. The sound was a bit too loud for Alan’s liking, but he did have his favorite salt-free soft pretzel that made him quite happy. The best moment was when Alan saw the court for the first time. He described it as “Awesome” in his most excited voice. 🙂
LeBron has a running mate on Alan’s bedroom wall now: Alan’s second favorite player, Kyrie Irving!
Today Alan and I showed off our Cavs gear at the Unity Days parade. So many people were decked out in Cavs gear! This whole weekend it’s been hard to find anyone not supporting the World Champs. What a time to be a Clevelander!
It really happened, and Alan has the evidence to prove it: The Cavaliers are the 2016 NBA Champions!!
I’m glad I set my game-watching plans to be at home with Alan. It was definitely worth it, as he was great company for the occasion. And the cars driving on Mayfield road that honked their horns until about 1am did give Mayfield Heights a downtown feel!
Earlier in the series Alan also watched Game 3 with me (another Cavaliers win), making us 2-0 together for the series. He watched part of the 1st quarter at Debbie and Papa’s house during Games 1, 4, and 6 too. He regularly tuned in to see his favorite player, LeBron James, before going on his nightly adventures with Lulu.
Alan’s interest in sports continues to grow and I love it. I really hope that as time goes on Alan will retain memories of watching Game 7 with me. I certainly won’t forget watching with him. Sharing that championship with him at my side is one of the greatest moments of my life.
I still cannot believe how perfectly yesterday played out. What an amazing day. I hope the partying in Cleveland never stops!
6/22/16 Update: The partying has not, in fact, stopped yet. Robbie, David, and I joined approximately 1.3 million others in attending the Championship parade today! It sure was not easy getting there. After finding RTA was delayed by at least four hours by 8am, we took a bus from Cedar and Green to E. 110th, then walked the final four miles to downtown. But it was worth it. We stood at E. 9th and Lakeside across from the Jones Day building for the whole parade, which lasted about 4 hours – mainly because the cars had trouble maneuvering through the encroaching crowds of people! Below is one photo I took of LeBron riding by (he’s in the upper left, with the backwards yellow hat).
For the first time Alan is able to recognize a professional athlete: LeBron James. Alan likes to listen for LeBron’s name when I listen to sports radio in the car. So we decided to stick the LeBron “Fathead” pictured above on Alan’s bedroom wall. Go Cavs!