Marshawn Hampton: For The Love of Basketball – Episode 6: From ‘The Nawf’

This is the sixth 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.

Read on to find out what he’s been up to and where he’s been….
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This past month of May has been an interesting one. I have been here in China now for six months. With all the chaos surrounding this basketball season, my personal life, and issues with my immediate family life, I want to start this entry with something I should have talked about earlier.

I am blessed to be a product of Chicago, Illinois, where I was born, but my ball career started in North Atlanta, which we affectionately call “The Nawf”. Gwinnett County Singleton Road, Boggs Road, and Jimmy Carter are the areas where I grew up and I have many fond memories from these places. I am from off Singleton Road and I lived on Boggs Road. No matter where I go I will represent both Chicago’s west side and North Atlanta. It’s extremely important to always be proud of the place where you are from and to remain humble, regardless of the amount of success you attain.

Always remember those who pushed you to become successful whether it’s your family or not. Your family will support you regardless, but to have someone outside your family who prays for your success: now that is truly an MVP. I have one and would not trade her support for anything in this world.

If support was based solely on wins and losses or successes and failures, I’d be alone at my times of deepest needs. As the games come to an end and the playoffs finish, the excitement of a good five to seven-month long season slowly fades. Other leagues and teams have to wait until the following season; my main season is ongoing and my commitment to my main teammate – my life partner – is a year-round season within a season.

That’s why unconditional love and trust is so important. Having equality while understanding sacrifice and valuing each others’ opinion. To always be there – either at home or on the road – the backbone of our family. The one who is always there despite not knowing my next destination or in reality not knowing if I will have another chance to have another season. Throughout all the adversities, the triumphs, the high and the low points, always holding down the home headquarters while I’m away. The strong and self motivated boss, the caring and compassionate mother, the brutal yet honest voice that’s truly appreciated. At the end of the day, through it all, no matter what I do on the court I’m still a part of something special off the court.
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So here’s to my real hero, my MVP, the one who accepts what I do and who I am while pushing me to achieve goals which seemed beyond my reach.
Thank you Ashley.

A lot has happened in the month of May, a lot of things that have changed my views of the world. Losing my best friend and cousin Stoney hit me hard. But my nieces and nephews graduating from kindergarten, and my prince and princess winning championships in flag football and softball, as well as making all star teams, helped raise my spirits up to new high levels. I want you guys to know I love you and I am extremely proud of you.
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It’s amazing how these kids grow up so fast, they are making me feel old. Speaking of old, I had a birthday that I didn’t really get to celebrate because I’m was still coping with Stoney’s death and I was not in the mood for fun. However, I did get some piece of mind and was able to reflect on my life, thinking about the end of life’s spectrum.
All the love and birthday wishes from my family, friends, and also my fans have been greatly appreciated. It’s not everyday that people are happy to see you grow into a new age or reach a new milestone. For the most part I did feel extremely blessed to see another birthday because some people don’t make it to see theirs.
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Talking about basketball, our team clinched a playoff spot, which begins June 4th. I am always excited about the playoffs because I get to play for what I worked all off-season for.
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In national news I’m sure you have read or have seen the news about the earthquake in Nepal. Those citizens are suffering from losing homes and schools closing. I was invited to play in a street ball tour to three cities to raise money for Nepal. I have never been part of something so special in my life. I always try to give back but this was on another scale. The event was televised and I’m sure a lot of money was raised.
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By far the best experience and the fulfillment knowing that I was a part of the rebuilding in Nepal. It makes me feel good as a person. To top it all, in Jingdezhen I was voted “MOP” for most outstanding player and was honored to present the money raised to the Nepal relief people who were in attendance.
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It’s a good overall feeling that just playing the sport I love can help a country rebuild. I met some amazing fans while on this tour and have also seen some pretty odd things as well. For example, having to be escorted to the court in Jingdezhen and escorted off the court in Guangzhou – the fans here really love basketball.
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Also I noticed the way they prepare food, hahaha so crazy.
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Now I’m back in Beijing and preparing for the post season, which is where I excel. The playoffs is the ultimate goal for our team as a unit: PERIOD, POINT BLANK. You have to make it to the post season in order to chase the championship. The Big Game is the most prestigious accomplishment you’re going to get when playing basketball. Our team is the #2 seed so we face a pretty easy first round opponent. We;re not going to take them lightly, though, because they’ve worked just as hard for the post season as us. But we will play like we always do: for the life of our season. At this point all the teams are playing for their playoff lives.
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Today, some of us scrimmaged against some university teams to stay sharp during the time off. It went well as we won. But these kids have some great talent, I must admit.
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I’m focused and locked in on two things: winning a championship and making sure I get home safely to my family.
We’re going to celebrate my cousin Stoney’s birthday. He was one of the millions who didn’t make it to see his birthday, so on July 11, 2015, there will be a block party in his memory.
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Lately my life has been a blur. But I do want to tell the readers this: the host site of these diary entries asked, in the previous entry, how I manage to find the strength to keep playing basketball knowing that tragedy and other negative situations are unfolding at home.
All I can say is God and my mother help me push and make it through the hard times. I honestly sometimes wonder why, but I never question God’s plan because it was written before I existed. If you do not remember anything else from these entries, remember this: NO MATTER WHAT you’re dealing with or going through in your life, GOD MAKES NO MISTAKES!
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Til next month be safe and pray for those all over the world, even the enemies. Amen!

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