Granizo family photo

Paul Granizo in Brooklyn at a Nets game. While he maintains his love for the sport and his team, he has found other interests during quarantine.

With the NBA on Pause, Finding New Interests

I have played soccer ever since the age of five and have always loved the sport. However, in recent years, the stress of fighting for minutes on the field and for the coaches’ attention has turned it into something else. Basketball, whether it was playing or watching, became an escape for me. I didn’t play it competitively so it was just for fun. Watching NBA basketball games and cheering for a team was a way for me to relieve some stress and I quickly immersed myself into the NBA fanboy culture. 

What is a diehard fan of the NBA supposed to do in these pandemic times?

It’s hard. That, I can say. With the NBA postponing all games until further notice, due to concerns over the coronavirus, it is like there is a hole in my life.

I have been a fan of the NBA for as long as I can remember, and especially a fan of the Brooklyn Nets.

 I have watched almost all of their games that have been played live on the YES network. The only reason I have for missing a game is if I have a prior commitment or if something really important presents itself.

For example, a few months back, my younger sister needed a ride to her basketball game on a day that the Nets played. I missed watching the game to drive my sister to her game so that she would not miss it.

In addition to watching the team play live on television, I have also attended three games at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. I also saw a game at the Prudential Center in Newark when the team was still known as the New Jersey Nets. 

I have been stubbornly loyal. I have stuck with the team through five different head coaches and many many roster changes.

Part of the draw is the talent of the team. A couple of years ago the best players on the team were Deron Williams and Brook Lopez. They were very good players but now the two headliners in Brooklyn are NBA champions Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.

Paul Granizo
Granizo follows several NBA players closely and has purchased jerseys representing their current and past teams.

Irving is a New Jersey native who has been one of my favorite players to watch since he was drafted  in 2011. When I heard the news that Irving, one of my favorite players, was going to play for my team, the Brooklyn Nets, I went out to get his Nets jersey to go along with the St. Patrick’s High School’s jersey I have with his name on it. St. Patrick’s in Elizabeth, which closed in 2012 and then re-emerged as The Patrick School, is where he played while he was in high school.

Durant is an NBA most valuable player and a game-changing player who could be the best player on a championship team. 

When watching these live games, it felt as though I were a part of the team and I was on the bench cheering and celebrating with the players, copying their dances and hand gestures.

When the team lost a game, I would feel gloomy the rest of the night. When the team won a game, I would be happy and would recite our best player’s stats to my Dad and brother, through Facetime, until they got annoyed and eventually hung up on me. 

To make up for the absence of live NBA games, I have decided to do two things. 

First, instead of watching cartoons and sitcoms as a replacement, I now monitor Fox News in the morning to stay informed about what is going on with the current global pandemic.

Second, I have decided to watch YouTube videos and read articles on how general managers of the thirty NBA teams made it to their positions. The job of a general manager for a professional sports team is a career that greatly interests me. So learning about how professionals like Pat Riley of the Miami Heat and Danny Ainge of the Boston Celtics have made their success in the league keeps me motivated and entertained while I am stuck in quarantine. 

Times are tough right now for NBA fans all around the world but it is important that we do not rush back into the regular season where thousands of fans gather together in a stadium to cheer on their team. This extended break from basketball shows me just how much love I have for the game.

This is part of a continuing blog tracking the highs and lows of life in the St. Benedict’s community as its members weather the effects of a worldwide coronavirus outbreak.

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