Raw Hoops

There’s a way to play basketball that involves a love and respect for the game. That’s all joy and smiles. That’s the Magic Johnson approach.

But there are other people who need the game. Really. Like, either the game is going to save their lives, or they’re going to get involved in something bad and likely die.

For a lot of people in Flint, Michigan, that’s how basketball is, and you can tell by the way they play. That’s angry, desperate basketball. That’s adrenaline. That’s hard. As Mateen Cleaves says, it’s a grind, grind, grind.

And it’s amazing to watch. Six year olds who can dribble between their legs and hit a fadeaway. Dribble penetration followed by vicious alley-oop dunks. Flagrant fouls that will make you bark out loud as you’re watching the DVD in bed next to your sleeping wife.