J.M. Tyree has an interesting piece in Slate about the hottest young coach in college basketball, VCU’s Shaka Smart. He knows a lot about Smart: though they don’t share the same last name, or the same father, they’re brothers.
With different dads, different last names, and different ethnic backgrounds, most people wouldn’t assume we’re related. Certainly not when it comes to sports. My younger brother had many great sports mentors. I am not one of them. No, I was the kid who got beaned in the back of the head because he was watching the clouds during baseball practice. I bombed out of high-school basketball as a benchwarmer on the freshman “B” team. The last time I played a serious pickup game I broke three bones in my foot. Yet when I visited VCU’s basketball arena recently, I couldn’t resist shooting around. Shaka, ever the motivator, told me, “You’re improving!” Very funny, coach.
The only example I might have set for Shaka remains pretty dubious: I turned down the University of Chicago to attend Middlebury College. Four years later, Shaka turned down Harvard to study and play basketball at Kenyon. It is possible, though, that the shared love in our family for the documentary Hoop Dreams—a VHS tape worn down by many viewings—may well have played a subliminal role in my becoming a film critic and Shaka becoming a coach. There’s obviously some kind of genetic predisposition in our family for obsessively watching tape. (And since every factoid about Shaka is now of great interest, let me add this: He also likes nature documentaries featuring big cats.)
Read the whole thing at Slate