Miami Heat All-Star Chris Bosh has decided to enhance his already sterling internet reputation, and that is not a snarky joke, by appearing in a video sponsored by
Code.org, pitched in hopes of inspiring schools to offer more lessons on how to learn computer code. The video, which also features Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Facebook impresario Mark Zuckerberg (as well as, ugh, Will.I.Am), introduces Bosh at the 1:15 mark. Via The Basketball Jones, here’s the clip:
Yes, Chris Bosh was in an after-school computing club called “The Whiz Kids,” which definitely should have been a computer-based crime-solving kids show from 1987. Lark Voorhies’ first job, probably before ‘Saved by the Bell.’
On a personal note? Yeah, this stuff can change a life. Even for a guy like yours truly, who by 2013 is admittedly a computer dummy in comparison to most of my contemporaries in terms of age.
I’ve been lucky enough to have a PC in my house since I was four years old, and though we weren’t always on the best financial terms my mother’s work in the information realm meant that we had good personal computers well ahead of the curve, and I was encouraged (in the days when kids could be trusted to get on a computer and not back into, y’know,
certain images) to poke around. By the time I was in junior high, I typed at a faster word per minute rate than my computer teacher.
By 1997 I was writing for a basketball site called OnHoops.com, one of six or seven sites that would pop up when you searched “NBA” into this new yahoo dot com thing. The founders of the site originally posted my columns on their own, but after I began to teach myself basic HTML (back then I had to actually type in all of the code including each bracketed paragraph tag, the pictures, the actual links, etc; there was no system to cut and paste easily into) and work the magic myself.
To write a column – not a message board rant or email or chat roll – on the internet yourself? Without needing the guidance of a newspaper or magazine to get your word out? It’s hard, all these years later, to express how significant that was. The basketball end had been forged through years of watching and attempting to write – and now this newfound (slight, in terms relative to 2013) bit of computer know-how opened up entire worlds for me.
Just getting in and figuring out my way around HTML? Determining how to make these 1997-era, very rudimentary pages do things for the columns I had been writing? It made me feel like I had just published my own sports section. Mock it all you want, but it was a significant breakthrough that came at an age – just 17 at the time – where you need all the gallons’ worth of self-esteem injections that you can get.
I’m not one to talk, in terms of coding knowledge, in the years since. My knowledge of HTML and all the other various aspects that go into working with and writing for a website remains at a base level, and I’m lucky enough to have a fantastic team around me that helps this dumb-dumb not set all of Yahoo! ablaze with his latest mistake. But that foot in the door, in 1997, put my foot in the door. I wouldn’t even hear of the word “blog” for another half-decade, and it would be a full decade before I was allowed to work on my own blog full time for a major website, but it was a start that I needed in a profession that used to demand years and years of creativity-killing work from its prospective employees before something resembling the dream job was bestowed.
So, yes, all you crazy kids with your Tumblrs and Vines and webwork and application creation and computer know how and various interests – keep at it.
Just take it from Chris Bosh,
the internet’s reigning king of the Photobomb.