To Hong Kong with Jerry Stackhouse

10 11 2014

A weekend trip to Hong Kong doesn’t make a lot of sense.  Over 15 hours flying for just over 24 hours on the ground is tough.  But Jerry Stackhouse was the perfect candidate for the task.  When asked about 10 days prior to the event, if The Skill Factory could bring a former NBA player to Hong Kong as the Ambassador for the Hong Kong Sports Festival, it seemed unlikely.  But when I connected with Jerry, I knew it would be a great trip.  We visited hospitals, talked to kids, shook hands, took pictures and of course signed autographs.  All with smiles.  Jerry was received by one of his biggest fans in the world who owned Stackhouse jerseys and shoes that even Jerry didn’t have.  The best part about it all was that Jerry did it all with a smile and a pure heart.  Grateful and kind.  Selflessly and with a message.  It was definitely special to see such an influential athlete giving back!  Thank you to the guys in Hong Kong, Jerry, and The Skill Factory!

See the Link for a video recap! 

John Wall, James Harden & more @ TSF

3 09 2013

As a part of Ludacris’ “Luda Day Weekend,”  many celebrities were in Atlanta for Labor Day.  Some of the basketball players included James Harden, John Wall, Kenneth Fareed, Raymond Felton, Josh Powell and more.  The Skill Factory was able to provide  some of these guys with a private and professional place to workout while they were in town.  We were honored to host so many great players.   John Wall & James Hardenpictured #35 John Wall, #33 James Harden

Shout out to James Harden, John Wall, Josh Powell, Shelvin Mack, Hollis Thompson, Tony Delk, Salim Stoudamire, Richard Jeter, Robert Dozier, Ernest Scott, Yamene Coleman, Marcus Johnson, Adrien Borders, BJ Puckett, Kevin Anderson and Spencer Dixon

2 Chainz and I at 2013 Rucker Park EBC All-Star Game

22 08 2013

I had the opportunity to travel with some players from Atlanta to NYC to play at the greatest outdoor basketball court in history!  Rucker Park is where legends are made and players showcase their talents and prove themselves.


For the 2013 EBC All-Star Game, Atlanta brought some great players sponsored by 2 Chainz to play.  It was an amazing atmosphere with a fun crown, a DJ, play by play, dancers and more.  The game had 3’s dunks, crossovers and some great basketball.  The Atlanta – 2 Chainz Team was winning by 6 with 2 minutes remaining before having a few turnovers and losing the game.

All the guys played hard and earned a lot of respect.  A big thank you to Jah and the AEBL for making it happen!  There are big things in store.  Shout out to the players Wes Witherspoon, Cam Tatum, Evan Ravenel, Lil D, Marcus Johnson, Darrius Garrett.  Special shout-out to my guy Mr. Afrika who represented for the EBC team with some highlight dunks as well.

My Canon Commercial

27 10 2011

Oddly enough, when I was in Hong Kong last year, I was asked to be a part of a Canon Commercial.  I helped them in having the play make sense in basketball terms and coordinate it with a moving camera and a low basket.  All in all it was a fun day.  The celebrity in the commercial we worked with was Daniel Wu who is apparently the Brad Pitt of Asia.

Click on the link below and click to play the video.  I’m in a red jersey and am the pasty white guy who makes the pass for the dunk.  🙂

Double OT Win

22 02 2011

A pep-band got everything turned up a notch as we started the game.  The other team (Ovche Pole) came out strong and seemed to make every shot they took.  We settled down and so did their shooting percentage and we went into halftime trailing by 5.

As we did our two lines of warm-ups to get ready for the 3rd quarter I heard a loud noise; then I heard the crowd cheering.  I turned around to see what had happened and the rim had fallen off the basket. Nobody dunked, nobody grabbed the rim, it just fell completely out of the backboard to the ground…pure ridiculousness.

Finally an hour later, it was replaced and the game went on.  We continued to play hard and fight our way into the game, and as the 4th quarter came to the last moments, we found ourselves taking the ball out of bounds at half-court with the score all tied up.  There was 3.5 seconds left and coach drew up a play for me to get the ball.  I felt good.  I hadn’t been making shots, but I felt good.

I caught the ball at the top of the key, about 5 feet behind the 3-point line.  I took 2 dribbles to my left and went up for a shot, but the defender fouled me on the way up.  Naturally I think, game over. I’ll make at least 1 of the 3 free-throws and we’ll go home.
The referee decided the foul was on the floor and I wasn’t shooting.  So we got the ball back with .5 seconds and couldn’t get a shot off.  Overtime carried on much the same.

This time down 2 with 15 seconds I had the ball for a pick and roll.  I drove hard down the lane and went up for a short shot.  With some contact the shot went of the back of the rim.  But a hustling teammate (Marcus Neal) grabbed the rebound and layed it in.  To double OT it went where center John Chappell continued to handle business and we took the win.  It was another very positive victory for our team.

Finish with a WIN!

24 12 2010

Our game last night was actually supposed to be played on Wednesday.  But apparently the other team heard that our Americans had travel plans on the 23rd and decided to change the game.  Another crazy rule here is that the home team can change the date of the game by 24 hours in either direction.  Needless to say, we were unhappy with the change.  I had to cancel my trip to Milan 😦 and others had to re-book flights which wasn’t easy because of the holiday travel, fog and snow delays over here.

So we gave them a good lesson by winning 86-64.  The win moved us into 5th place and we should continue to be solid when we return from our break.  I am very happy to be flying home to see family and friends a few days after Christmas!

Here is a link to a brief article about the game.  It’s in Macedonian but if some computers will translate it.


Tough 3-Point Loss against MZT

19 12 2010

Playing on TV and at home, we had high hopes coming into the game.  We started slow but got things going and had chances win down the stretch.  It just wasn’t meant to happen this time.  They made two free throws to go up by 4 with 5 seconds remaining in the game and took the win 72-75.

We are scheduled to  have 1 more game before the holiday break but there is a chance the game will be moved to January.

I still can’t do everything like before but my knee is improving everyday.

Great Win

14 12 2010

I just experienced one of the craziest games I’ve ever been a part of.  We won 90-78 but it was interesting.  First of all, it decided to finally get cold here (photo below) and as we walked into the gym, it was about 35-40 degrees!
After a thorough warm-up, it was time to go. I was happy to be sitting on the bench in a jersey instead of street clothes (my knee is getting better). The rowdy crowd of about 4,000 were right on top of us and making their presence felt with jeers throughout.  But from the tip we played beautiful basketball. We played great defense, shared the ball and made shots. We had a 35 point lead and went in to halftime perhaps shocked at how good we were playing.
The 2nd half wasn’t as easy as the game became very physical and dirty, and they cut into the lead.  Fans in Eastern Europe are very rowdy and they proved it by throwing bottle tops and anything else they could at us. They also shared their saliva with anyone near enough. And unfortunately the refs didn’t seem to care that the other team was actually kicking, holding and shoving.
One of my teammates was elbowed in the head. He was hit so hard that it probably broke his nose and a bone over his eye in his forehead. He had to go directly to the hospital and may need surgery. Another teammate left the game with a sprained wrist.  And our center, Big Chapp, got kicked in the back of the leg, shoved in the back multiple times, pulled, held and punched. Though these aren’t the best basketball techniques, when the ref allows, they’re pretty affective.
I got to play down the stretch of the game. And though I could not really drive hard or jump well, I think I was able to help the team on both ends of the court in other ways.  But the bottom line was we won!
To top it off, after the game when we were showering in the locker room, the boiler/hot water exploded. Not only did it prevent showers, but created a fog throughout.

First Macedonian Snow


Injury Update

13 11 2010

Needless to say, the last 3 weeks has been eventful.  Thankfully, I think everything is settling down now.  3 weeks ago, I hyperextended my knee in a game.  It felt pretty bad but I hobbled around and played a few more minutes in the game.  When I went to see the local doctor, he just poked and prodded and said, “rest for a week.”

A week later I tried to play and still had significant pain with jumping and running fast.  So I asked to see a different doctor.  This led me to Skopje and the best sports doctor in Macedonia.  He did the standard procedures and took an MRI.  He then told me I should have arthroscopic surgery that would include micro-fracture surgery.  I never imagined my knee was bad enough for surgery but based on the MRI he felt I should. The findings from the MRI were an intense bone contusion, a lesion on the bone, some fluid in the knee and some retracted ACL Fibers.

That’s when I contacted doctors in America.  All 3 doctors told me not to have surgery!  So now, I am doing rehab according to their plan and hope to be back in action soon.  Thank you for all of the prayers and support.

A Unique Team and GM

28 10 2010

I have an inchoate feeling that there is a bright future for ABA Strumica.  Part of the reason for that is our General Manager.  It is very rare that you come across an American GM in European basketball, especially in Macedonia. But what is truly unique about our GM, Ryan Smith, is that he is a Christian.
The reason Ryan and his wife Jyl are in Macedonia is to share the love of Christ and positively impact Macedonians.  That sure doesn’t sound like most basketball clubs, but it is working.  From top to bottom there is a Christian community supporting the team and doing big things in the lives of the people.
The team regularly takes part in community projects and also works with kids.  Below is a photo of our first workday cleaning up some trash in the community.  The vision for ABA is big and Godly, and I am excited to share a piece of what is taking place.

The Team at Work in Macedonia

If you are interested in giving to the ABA Sports Ministry you can visit and give to ABA Basketball- Balkans Ministry.

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