Reliving my childhood days
When I think of my childhood and where it all began, I have many fun memories. I grew up in a basketball household. We were the family that had the court in front of our house, and my dad painted free throw and 3-point lines in the driveway. Wilkie Avenue in Gardena, Calif., was the place to be on Saturday mornings.
My brother Pooh and I would get up around 8 a.m. and eat Frosted Flakes to get our day started. We'd put on some shorts and shirts, lace up the Penny Hardaways or the Jordans (or maybe even the Barkleys) and get to work in the driveway.
Other people would come over around 9 a.m. We would set up 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 pickup games. We would even have tournaments. My dad would put on a referee shirt and grab his whistle.
When it wasn't your game, you would sit and watch. When you got thirsty, you drank out of the water hose. Those were definitely the days.
During one game, a guy I liked a lot was playing with us, and when he threw the ball, it hit me in the mouth. Let's just say we ended up dating and, eventually, I went to prom with him. Torrey Rhone was his name. I guess you can say that basketball was our love connection ... LOL!
Because of my love for basketball, I enjoyed watching Jordan, Barkley, Magic and Sheryl Swoopes (check out "Swoopes" from the Nine for IX film series). But I've only been able to meet one of them, and that was Magic. He worked out at the Gold's Gym I went to, and he was a very nice guy. He always took time to talk and never acted like he was too busy. I'm also psyched to meet Robin Roberts next month because she is a rock star (we are taping an interview for espnW and ABC). She's a woman who has overcome so much. Despite all of that, she shines every time she speaks. I can't wait to see her in person and tell her that I think she's amazing.
Growing up, I spent many summers with my grandmother and grandfather, so they were my role models. They had a boat and motor home and loved to go camping. I was a master fisher at a young age -- I could bait and unhook my own fish. I even had my own pole and vest. I would stay out on the lake for hours fishing. All I needed was my cooler full of bait and my sandwiches and soda.
I remember one trip to the lake when the fish weren't biting, and I kept catching bluegills. My grandfather would make me throw them back because they were small. Well, just as I was throwing one back, I got a bite on my line, and I said, "If this is another bluegill, I'm done!" It certainly wasn't. I had a huge catfish on my line, and I couldn't control it. Just picture this skinny little girl screaming, "Papa, Papa, help, help!" The fish almost took me into the lake with it.
But Grandpa came and said, "You got it, you got it. Pull it in." I could see the head of the fish when the line broke. That would've been my biggest catch. I sat out there trying to catch that fish again until it was nighttime and my grandma made me come home. Sometimes these things aren't meant to be, but I wasn't giving in. I probably would've slept out there.