This is the third installment of Marshawn Hampton’s diary from China.
I’m giving this young American basketball player, who is playing professional roundball in Beijing, a chance to connect to his friends and family through this blog.
This past month Marshawn has been able to fly back home to the U.S. during China’s New Year’s celebrations.
Read on and travel with Marshawn as he “commutes” on a pair of 13-hour flights between the U.S. and Beijing!
February 5, 2015
Today I was able to catch up with my boy Quis, who is also here in China but in a different city, and we talked about life and all the politics in the game we love so dearly. We discussed how I went undrafted in the NBA D League draft and how he was waived in the D League and how it’s amazing we both ended up here in China.
So it’s 6 am and I’m on the subway headed to the airport bright and early to travel back home for the Chinese New Year. I’ll be able to check in with my family and make sure everyone is fine especially after all the untimely deaths and health issues that have taken place recently. As I arrived at the airport to check in I was given the news my flight had been delayed 4 hours – but just the thought of going home made me happy. I didn’t mind the layover as it actually gave me time to write to my readers who are following my career. After various Facetime calls from friends and family I walked around the airport which had many really cool things to look at. The highlight while I was waiting was texting my homeboys Weezy, Don, Big Mike, and CBO in a group text. We were talking about anything and everything, and if you know these guys you know how funny they are: pure laughs. We made plans for the “upcoming woman holiday” and also planning a trip out of the country when my season in China is over and when Big Mike graduates from college.
As my name was called for first class seating I sent my “pray for me – I’m boarding my flight” text to family and my homeboys and got on the plane and reclined my seat. When I woke up we were already in air! Man, you talking about a smooth flight. Well after watching basketball movies Above The Rim and He Got Game I’m going back to sleep I will holla when I touch down on USA soil.
Back in The USA
My first stop is Chicago to deal with some things. After a 13-hour flight I arrived to the cold air of Chicago. I can’t lie it’s cold as hell but I am very happy to be here. The first thing I do is eat tacos from Taco Bell then go get my hair cut. When I’m in other countries I don’t let the barbers cut my hair so I had to make a call to my barber Rickey at Louise’s Unisex and book me a spot because he is talented and he has more people like me who feels he is great at what he does. After getting my haircut my friend Weezy and I ran some errands until it was time for our boy Mike to play. Leading til 7:30pm I was eating the westside of Chicago Uncle Remus chicken which is the best chicken in Chicago hands down! Upon arrival to the Chicago state university basketball game I had no idea my boy Mike would be acknowledged for making the All-Academic team in the WAC conference. I was so proud of him because, apart from his family, only I know what he has been through in his senior year of school.I was just happy to be a part of his success.
After the game we went to Buffalo Wild Wings to catch up and share experiences from my end of the basketball spectrum. As the night ended I made plans to catch up with my sister and my nieces and nephew, as well as my biological father. I don’t have the best relationship with him but, due to the tragic events in my family recently, I just want to try to mend things because I am a man now and I feel it’s time to turn a new leaf.
Today my sister picked me up and I got to hang with her husband Ced who is a great and hilarious guy. I also got to hang with my niece Joi who is just finding her way around as an infant. Lastly there is the little genius: my nephew CJ. I know he misses me because he talks my ear off asking me about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a cartoon that I haven’t watched since I was maybe 7 years old. When we made it to my father’s home I was very anxious because I know my father was hurt because he had lost his brother. When we walked in he didn’t know it was me! hahaha He turned on the lights and was startled and then we hugged each other for a while. I could feel his heart beating real fast I asked him “Pop, you ok?” He said in a low tone “I better now son” I felt my heart get heavy but I held myself together. Once he let me go he immediately started asking questions about China. I stopped him and said we will talk China later: I wanted to know how he was doing. He paused for a second then he spoke firm and said “Son, I lost a brother like you did. It hurts, but life isn’t promised.”
Then he stared at me like he was looking into my soul and said: “That’s why you have to love your family while they’re here because when they’re gone, that’s it.” I knew exactly what he was trying to say. I made my mind up that night that I still need my father and he needs me. I erased everything and started a clean slate and I felt good about it. Also I can tell my sister was happy because she has always tried to show me the good in our father. I was just young and full of anger that was blinding me of what I needed to see and do. After leaving my father’s home I felt a lot was lifted off my shoulders as well as a piece of mind was found. The ride to the west side of Chicago was a smooth one this time around.
February 8, 2015
I’m headed to North Lawndale College Prep. This is a high school I was assistant coach for before I left for China. I got to see Coach Thorpe, the Head Basketball Coach. He’s a man who will keep you straight. Since the first day I met him he was straight forward and gave me a chance to work with his team and access to the gym for me to use. We talked about my experiences in China and he told me who on his team was having a great season and who was struggling. He called a few seniors in the office for me to have a chat with to tell them what it takes to be successful in basketball. It was a great experience passing on knowledge, especially when they are listening intently to the message. After leaving the school I went to the airport to head to Atlanta.
When I arrived to Atlanta I went straight to my Mother’s house and hung out with my sisters and brothers. All we did was talk trash to one another about the past when we were coming up along with embarrassing moments. As the day came to an end I was off to my bedroom to lay there and think about all the things I have accomplished and how I am not even close to where I want to be, as I woke up I had a dentist appointment with Keishawn’s he needed braces so that’s what my day consisted of. He was excited and scared but he didn’t want to say he was scared, that’s my boy show no fear haha. After school hours I seen the little diva Ki’Aja and all my nieces and nephews as they danced in my mom living room. Watching them get they jam on reminded me of when me and my siblings danced all the time I swear I seen us in them what a great feeling! Everything made today a good one for me. I decided to get up with one of my best friends Bryan who plays basketball for The Morehouse College for a shooting session at the gym we grew up playing in called Lucky Shoals. We got a great two hours in on fine tuning our game. The following day he had a game so it was perfect for him.
Today my boy Aaron came back to Atlanta for his birthday. He’s been living in Pennsylvania for the last two or three years now. We decided to hit the mall and catch up shop a little then decided to hit the bowling lanes with my second family. Now when it comes to bowling I’m not the best but I was the best tonight lol. The Combest family is the family my babies Keishawn and Ki’Aja that I love like my own flesh and blood, from Granny on down to baby Kayden. I have known this family since I was 14 years old. As for the girls let’s see if I can name them all there’s Kenyatta, Fatin, Keisha, Ashley, Nawzha, Qwanna, Qwala,and the youngest sister I can’t spell her name. The boys are just Aaron and Alex, but they are family to me just like the rest.
Today is Sunday and my brothers have asked me to play in this league game they play in every Sunday. I agreed to play because I know it’s great competition because I have played with them before. When we arrived, the rival high school team from Bergman pulls up and I see faces that I haven’t seen in years. There’s trash talking and plenty more which reminded me why I miss home so much. As we entered the gym I recognized my big homie/mentor Wynton ‘Spoon’ Witherspoon, formerly of Virginia Tech and also a professional player. We caught up and talked about craziest experiences while playing basketball in different countries. After a while it was time for me to play. Of course ‘Spoon’ stayed to watch. My brothers’ teammates weren’t welcoming to me at least the guys who didn’t know me or weren’t from the area, but throughout the game they would find out who I was. Of course, as the game drew to a close, once the ball was in my hands, I’m used to earning respect. Even though we made big plays happen we ended up losing a close one. When the game was over one of the referees stopped me asking where I played. He said he played in Spain 20 years ago and would love to tell his old coaches about me. He asked for my info and I got his and told him please tell them I would greatly appreciate it. After I left the gym I had to rush home to shower and get ready for Keishawn’s basketball game which was cancelled. With the rest of the day I just wanted to relax because I knew it was back to China in 48 hours.
Today I leave for China but I woke up feeling sick. This was odd because I ate well while I was home and everything. I did not have time to sit and figure it out so I said my goodbyes and wiped tears from my littles ones’ faces as well as mine and headed to the airport. Upon boarding the plane I felt weird but I shook it off and plugged my beats up to get my mind right for this 13-hour flight. Halfway through the flight I realized I had a fever and a headache. These symptoms weren’t new to me; I knew I had the flu. I automatically got upset because I had 7 days to play 4 games. Once I got off the flight I went to the pharmacy and got medal then back to my apartment and went to sleep. Next day I had an 8 hour train ride to South China.
When I woke up to head to the train I felt horrible. I slept the whole way to Quzhou. Once we got there we checked into a nice hotel and relaxed because the next day we had a game against the #4 team in the league there. When I woke up it was game day but I was also drenched in sweat and had the chills. After I ate a banana I showered and changed and took a nap til 12pm then it was time to go to the stadium for shoot around. Man I was so tired at shoot around I knew the game would be tough. 6pm rolled around it was time to head back to the arena for the game tipoff was at 7pm. Right before the game started I felt drained. I played the first half and sat out the other half but we won the game by 27 and I had 17 points and 12 assists. When I got back to the hotel I passed out right away! Woke up the next day drenched with sweat again. Today we played the #2 team because the #3 team backed out so we beat them too by 31. I had 15 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds.
The next day we went to climb a mountain and saw some really nice waterfalls also got the chance to zip line and we also went on an art display on sculptures made by the root of a tree which was an amazing showcase of skill and detail by the artists. You can tell it was a task because to take a huge tree root and turn it into art of the magnitude it was. After our day of sightseeing.
The next day was game day for us again but we played the #1 team. This time I had energy because I realized I was not replacing the electrolytes I was losing so I went to the market and bought Gatorade to replenish and give my body energy to release while I was playing in this game versus the top team with the top point guard in this city. I was prepared today. We ended up blowing them out by 57 points! I ended up with 21 points 11 assists and 7 rebounds and sat out half the third quarter and all the fourth.
The next day we went sightseeing to see an underground city that was made by nature but the art was man made. This was another thing that I was very amazed by.
I was told it was one of the wonders of the world I wasn’t too sure about it but I did not get that from world history growing up but I could be wrong. After the visit underground we went to lunch and talked about all the things we have done while here in South China. We all shared our favorite part and why for me it was the air and the mountains because the air was clean and the mountains because this is the first and last time you will see me in the mountains hahaha.
Tomorrow we head back to Beijing on an early flight so this is the end of this entry.
Til next month be safe and pray for those all over the world even the enemies. Amen!
God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1 ASV)