This is a phrase that was popularized by some of the best players in the world a few years ago during the NBA lockout. We all remember how the likes of LeBron, KD, CP3 and others went on tour to play the game while the grey-heads and administration deliberated and tried to find common ground which would see the end of the lockout.
The phrase has since found different interpretations around the world. Perhaps in South Africa, it has found more dangerous interpretations which have seen the game’s growth delayed by the sadness of us seemingly growing further apart instead of solely being about the good (and future) of the game. Basketball has 1 heirarchy, but there are unfortunately too many people who are pulling towards their own direction which has lead to key stake holders to lose track of the bigger picture; the beauty of Basketball.
Perhaps 2016 was the biggest illustration of how bad things can really be. While there were a number of great leagues and tournaments that happened in certain cities; it was at the highest level that the game was most unstable. The 2016 season of the Basketball National League will be mainly remembered for controversies, which included the exclusion of the Duzi Royals from action. Basketball South Africa, also did not help their own cause when there was no communication and very little activity taking place at all National Team levels.
Even with all that happening, Basketball Never Stopped. Leagues such as the Inner City Super League (ICSL), Sebokeng Basketball League (SBL), Soweto Basketball League (SBL), Friday Night Lights (FNL), Bethusile Summer League, Cape Town Super League, eThekwini Basketball League and others; all continued and featured some great quality basketball. Even the BNL, despite player strikes and countless suspensions, continued. Though in the process we were introduced to some great young talent which re-inforced a number of rosters who had lost players; it took away from the whole experience and some of the young players were not appreciated as they would have under normal circumstances. Though Egoli Magic went on to defend their title in a 13-0 season; their victory was depreciated by all events prior, and the part that it all happened without their swingman who also happens to be the best player in the country at the moment.
NOW. We can talk, write, flex our ego’s and be as arrogant as we want about this. OR. We can go back to being about Basketball and start paving the right administrative fundamentals which will see us put the game where it needs to be in South Africa. We can hit the reset button back to where basketball was the fastest growing sport in South Africa. We can appreciate those who have devoted their lives to the game and dedicate the future success of the game to them. We can remember those who have since passed. We can think about those who are yet to come. We can talk about how absurd it is that our Senior Men are ranked 71 in the World and 16th in Africa and our Women are 66. Surely somebody at the BSA office is concerned about this?
Let us each knuckle up and start putting in the right level of work for the game. That is not an order, it is a definitive prayer. For the kid that is yet to discover the game and for the young girl who will oneday represent her country at the olympics.
Until that day, may the game Never Stop.