The whirling winds are finally dying down for a moment. First, three basketball games in three days at three different cities. Then, the dunk contest.
Now weariness is catching up with me; even at parties, I'm lacking freshness.
But I wish to acknowledge the many ideas given to me for dunking. Among them was this image from Victor Vicente Garcia Querol. He suggested a tribute to pop star Rodolfo Chikilicuatre: A dunk with dance moves!
(If you are not familiar with Rodolfo, be viewing the following.)
Also, honoring Fernando Martín (mar-TEEN) with my retro "10" jersey was a source of pride. Martín joined the Portland Trail Blazers in 1986 as the pioneering Spaniard in the NBA. Fernando also played for Real Madrid, from 1981-1986 and 1987-89. Martín got a silver medal in the 1984 Olympics with the Spanish National Team.
Martín returned to Spain before his tragic death in twenty years ago. Honoring my countryman was my honor as well. Highlights of Martín's follow.
As stated, I am a George Karl appreciator. (He puts me in mind of the knife-fighting fisherman of Majorca!) Karl was coaching Real Madrid the year that Fernando Martín died. This 2001 article explains what Karl saw:Martín hadn't only been the best Spanish player ever. He was also a charismatic figure. "He was like James Dean," Karl recalls. The next evening the body was placed in the arena, and the fans trooped by, late into the night, viewing it...
Real Madrid had a game... At the arena Martín's jersey was draped over his chair. Roses were everywhere. Near the top of the stands... sat the dead man's mother, weeping. Martín's kid brother, Antonio, another player on the team, showed up minutes before tip-off and tearfully assured Karl that he was ready to play. Real Madrid—coach and players and fans [were] shivering with sorrow. The team played abysmally.
Early in the second half, Real Madrid trailed by 19 points. Suddenly Karl's players came alive...In seven minutes they turned the game around... from 19 down to 19 up. Real Madrid coasted from there.
Señora Martín was waving from on high, like Evita from the balcony at the Casa Rosada. In unison the stands cried, "Fernando está aquí." Fernando is here. When the buzzer sounded, Karl collapsed in his seat as the players dashed through the crowd to embrace their dead teammate's mother. "Fernando está aquí. Fernando está aquí." Karl cried. "It was an incredible moment," he says. "There has been nothing like it in my life except the births of my children."
He is sitting in his [Milwaukee] office... Peering out, he seems instead to be looking back to that court in Madrid. Listening. "Fernando está aquí" Karl says softly, shaking his head, marveling at the memory.A last thing: I played with Fernando's son, Jan, who now plays for the Illescas LEB Oro. (He is a year older than me.) I have his father's jersey with me in Portland and I would like to send it to his family to have this memory of mine.