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Wow, I cannot believe it! God recently blessed me to celebrate 35 years of life. My birthday was last Tuesday. It is amazing how fast time flies.
I can remember 15 years ago like it was yesterday. Back then, I was playing basketball in college at Georgia Tech. I left GT after my freshman year to realize my dream of playing in the NBA.
It puzzles me now when I sometimes hear guys that I play with say, "I can remember watching you when I was 10 years old".
I don't ask, but I think to myself, "Really? Am I that old?" I sure hope I don't look like I have lived for three decades and half.
Maybe it's my bald head. I haven't had hair since I was in my early 20s, which is when I started losing it.
Back then, my teammates Terry Porter and Sam Mitchell were the vets and I was in my rookie year at Minnesota. I called those guys old, and they used to always say to me, "If you keep playing, you will be old one day doing what you love to do".
Yes, I am blessed to still be able to do what I love and that is play basketball.
Honestly, I feel age is just a number, and the media has got me hyped thinking I can move on the basketball court just like the younger guys; and I believe them!
Truthfully, though, I feel that I can hold my own against anyone regardless of my age. I am still able to play at a high level because of the hard work I have put into training and taking care of myself during my basketball career. I train so much because I am constantly reminding myself that hard work on and off the court will eventually net great results.
I admit, mentally, I view things differently than when I had just begun my professional basketball career, which is when I would try almost anything.
Now, I always try to conserve energy by making efficient moves - especially the ones that I practice. Chances are I will have a better result playing that way. My motto today is just stick to what I know and do it well.
As far as celebrating my birthday, I did not do anything extra special.
Still, it was nice. I enjoyed a quiet dinner with my trainer and friend at a nice Italian restaurant in Hangzhou. The atmosphere was very relaxing and the food was good.
They say if you leave the United States to live in China, your life is shortened by one day because of the change in time. China is 13 hours ahead of New York City.
Well, because most of my relatives are living in and near New York City, I got to celebrate my birthday twice. First, here in China, then with my family back at home via Skype, phone calls and e-mails.
I am so thankful for all that has been given to me in this life. I have a great family and some really good friends around the globe, and they are such an important part of my life.
I am also thankful for seeing another birthday and still being able to do something that I love in a country where I have grown so much, and I have adopted as my new home.
If you keep celebrating birthdays, just be thankful that you are growing older and, hopefully, wiser.
I am quite sure we all know people who did not make it to see their 35th birthday.
Bald head and all, I am feeling good at 35! I like my age and my life right now, both on and off the basketball court.
I am healthy. I am happy. I'm at peace, and, to me, that is what matters most. Yes, I am blessed.
As far as basketball news, this 35-year-old helped his team, the Beijing Ducks, sweep the Zhejiang Lions 3-0 in the first round of the CBA playoffs.
Age is truly just a number. Believe it!