December 10, 2007
"I want you guys to know that what we have here is a family. It doesn't just begin with you guys. It's the people in this room. It's the staff of this arena. It's the fans and people of this town.
"You guys are privileged to play in a place like this with the fans that we have. No, it's not the hip-hop capital of the world, but it's the minor league capital of the world. There should be no place you'd rather be."
Coach Duane Ticknor's words still ring through my head weeks after our first game. I mean, heck, it's my second season out here in North Dakota so I already knew for coddamn sure that Bismarck ain't the hip-hop capital of the world. It wouldn't even qualify as the hip-hop capital of Greenland. I also already knew that Bismarck is not only the capital of North Dakota, but also the minor league basketball capital of the world. So true.
Let's take a time out, because I know you're a little confused as to what's going on here. You're looking around the screen for blogger names. Kelly Dwyer, NBA expert. Johnny Ludden, NBA expert. Adrian Wojnarowski, NBA expert. Rod Benson ... who?
I'm not a Mike Jones wannabe and I'm certainly not an NBA expert. I'm more of an expert in fields such as Madden, nightclubs, North Dakota living and, most importantly, the NBA Development League.
See, that little pre-game speech was given right before the first game of my second season as a Dakota Wizard. Yep, my second season. I've experienced the highs and lows of D-League basketball as well as the highs and lows of being a 23 year-old San Diego native living in a place that my friends refer to as being "like living on the moon". Still, I do my best to have fun in a place where it's so cold that you can't leave your iPod in the car overnight or it won't work the next day (I know from experience).
What you are reading right now is the introduction of Rod Benson, but even more so it's a precursor to all the ridiculousness that I call my life. I'm not just another athlete blogger. I'm not that big time, but I'm on the brink. I'm not at all cynical about my situation after being released by the New Jersey Nets. I don't consider myself to be chasing a dream. I consider my dream to have already been successfully chased down. I woke up long ago and realized that playing a sport professionally is awesome and thus, I act accordingly. The NBA is another step in my development and I feel I will make it sooner rather than later.
I've spent the last year and a half maintaining my own blog -- TooMuchRodBenson.com -- which has grown through word of mouth and links and eventually led me to Yahoo! Sports. I don't want people to think that I'm not serious about my game because I blog in my spare time. Nothing could be further from the truth, although I do make the occasional YouTube music video and am the father of the Boom Tho! Movement.
No, I'm not Kelly Dwyer (by the way I too was wondering why Paul Davis would agree to get dunked on), but I still have a lot to say about North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Idaho and all the other places I will be frequenting this season as I attempt get called up ... or win my second consecutive NBA D-League title.