It’s by Bryan Curtis, and it’s up today at ESPN’s new Grantland site. (And it even makes you like Skip Bayless, a little bit, somehow.) The lede:
When I was 11 years old, my dad died – killed himself, in fact, while sitting in a van in our driveway. Our home in Texas filled with sympathy gifts. Mom got flowers and a new microwave. A few months later, an uncle arrived from Albuquerque and built me a basketball hoop on the opposite end of the driveway. The hoop’s backboard was made of fiberglass. There was an NBA logo in the lower left-hand corner. Over the next five years, that fiberglass backboard and I became fabulous teammates, like Ro Blackman and Derek Harper, and partners in a fierce existential struggle. If I’m picking a sports hero from childhood who deserves a profile … Jim Jackson … Alvin Harper … nope, I’ll go with the backboard.