Kyrie vs. David


Arani’s was just saying whatup to the long bearded wise Samson when his spirit collided with that of his college comrade, Kyrie the other week.

Before inhaling a Newport cigarette bummed off the homeless man, Arani asked,

“Yo, what’s good bruh – You know who you look like fam?”

Kyrie responded,

“Well, people be saying I look like Kyrie”.

Arani responded,

“Nah man, you look like OJ Da Juice man…….actually no. That’s not it, you look like Gucci Mane eeyyy! “

The sharing and laughter ensued and introductions were smooth-sailing. Kyrie was so chill, calm, cool, collected and most importantly – sober.

You see, when the good vibe man dem and gal dem are in honest conversation it flows like the Uber that’s a swift five minutes away. There’s nothing that needs to be forced – because real recognizes real. Interactions and first impressions are increasingly important for young people searching for a voice these days or more so because the tribe realizes it stronger than ever. This is where the #TribeofGuruve steps in.

We exist to give those African princes and princesses the voice they don’t have – except our voice is mute and written. Please remember that Jane Good-Hall said everybody is from Africa so don’t exclude yourself if you’re not physically from Africa.

Africans come in all colors and sizes and most importantly they all bleed red.

Nonetheless, in parting exchanges, Kyrie said he was going to get dunked in some water in a couple of days.

All Arani had to say was,

“Ait. Bet, I’ll be there Gucci!”

Arani, had no idea how he would make it because the Uber cost $22 according to his cracked iPhone screen. Coupled with his writing spirit, a second hand iPad and a hope to get Wi-Fi, Arani headed over to the gathering where this alleged dunking ceremony was scheduled to occur at 1130am.

Arani hadn’t been there for a long time because of the Uber cost, and buses don’t go there on Sundays, but he went anyway. He knew this day would be pivotal to building the trust and relationship with Gucci Mane or Kyrie as he likes to be referred.

This post isn’t going to be long or absorbing, but rather to touch the surface of the subject called Kyrie.

Remember when Arani introduced Nobleman’s LB? Well, this time it wasn’t him speaking, but another KDlike brother from Oklahoma. Shoutout to the old big 3 of the Thunder. Arani still wanders what would have happened if KD stayed with the bearded gentlemen now at the Rockets, but then again, everybody has to find their own path in this journey we collectively call life, right?

So Arani hopped out the Uber wearing his workout gear including a white Paris St. Germain Matuidi jersey, black shorts and some colorful shoes with a tick. Not sure what they are called, but he also had his @AfrikansUnited blood red hat.

Arani deliberately decided to ignore the stares of some Pharisees dressed in their Sunday best. The truth is he wasn’t there for them except the dunking ceremony featuring our very own Kyrie also known as David and also known as _____________.

*I leave it blank so you can figure out his name when we reveal what he said at the end, so keep reading.

Towards the end of his testimonial, Kyrie’s shrieking voice heavy and weakening lowered into a spiritual, but evident whisper. His voice regained itself brevity, became heavy again, course and everyone could tell it was the first time he uttered the words that followed.

He spoke highly and proudly of his family, his new lease on life and made an announcement. He joyfully shared breaking news about the new contract he had just signed after his former career as a free agent.

Meanwhile, Arani couldn’t hold back his warm tears because he knew in that very moment, he had been Kyrie too – a couple of years before.  He remembered when the Nobleman helped him sign a deal – just not with the devil, but quite the opposite. Arani’s life has never been same ever since, but you would have to read Anikulapo’s Tales of the Diaspora to unravel what he was like before.

Without warning to Arani (because Arani wasn’t paying attention), the slim-tee wearing man supporting Kyrie through the ceremony suddenly dunked him under water.

Under water.

Under water.

Under freaking water y’all!

Kyrie says he emerged a new man.

His tears drenched and overcome by whatever liquid was poured in there.

As written above, it was just water before you start some ungodly rumor.

Nonetheless, pause and think about what water does for the human body. Well it is 2/3s of it, right?

Think about its value as a resource to humanity, then think about African deserts where it is scarce and children perishing of thirst. Think about what it represents for one’s soul to be cleansed and reawakened overnight. That’s what happened to Kyrie. In that moment, a caterpillar that was slithering into a slow death because of its refusal to drink water surrendered and it soared into the sky and became a butterfly – stinging like a bee.

-RIP Muhammad Ali

Apparently Kyrie had just won the biggest game of his career. Forget the high school groupies, the sexy college cheer leaders, the fading identity, and the fellow service members he served with. It’s more like he had survived the most formidable challenge of his short lived, hazardous and zigzagging experience.

Life.

But hail!

Order was restored because the right team won this time. Many don’t understand what it’s like to walk in others’ basketball shoes because they don’t have the time and tend to focus on their own game. How can you understand anyone if you don’t take a moment to ask how they are, and where they’ve been? What teams they’ve played on and how they practiced that jump shot. You can’t know everything of course, but in your quest to help others, walk in their shoes even if just for a couple of hours. It’s only then that you can be understanding of the circumstances. At a minimum try your best.

Just try.

Arani knew writing this story might give people an appreciation of Kyrie’s shoes because it is full of horror, dread, guilt, violence, loss, alcohol, depression and the most rewarding of all – redemption and a story we hope to learn about in it’s full glory. Regenerate SonofGuruvé is just a mixtape.

Kyrie dried himself became luminous and wearing his new armor and new sponsorship gear, he embraced his friends, family and lastly Arani. Arani was actually hired to be the cameraman – if he showed up. Actually that’s not true. Arani assumed the position of cameraman and hopefully one day, ghostwriter for the man who either sang Twenty Four Hours (s/o to @kasedrexler for reminding us about the song) or the man that won the NBA, Championship with that pulsating three-pointer that sank the Warriors that year. If you forgot, here you go:

Kyrie and his ride-or-die squad strolled towards the special VIP court-side seats set aside for them in the gathering. A freestyling brother began to deliver some real life-changing heat for the streets to be honest.

Here are six game plan points I jotted down:

  1. If anointed, it happens in private. When Coach gives you the next play, does he announce it to his opponents? No!
  2. If anointed, you are positioned. Is it Point Guard, Bigman, Shooting guard or do you want to be on the Bench?
  3. When anointed, you are an answer to a problem. Remember the GOAT – Allen Iverson. Remember the AND1s? The Question was the Answer.
  4. Your Opportunity will be wrapped in obedience. You ever purchased some sneakers that aren’t in a box or packaging? No. If you obey and follow the instructions they will be shipped in a wrapped box or package. Just Obey. #TrustYaProcess, so special shoutout to the Sixers in Philly. We coming soon Joel and you too Gwi!
  5. You will be elevated through obstacle. You think when Kyrie won that game for the Cavs, it was easy? Heck No! He faced an unimaginable obstacle but I’m sure he’s done that in practice a hundred times. All the hard work in the gym happens when no one’s watching. You wasn’t with me shooting in the gym – Lol – I know you see what I did there.
  6. Last one. Simple – You must be YOU. Don’t conform to others. If they turn on you, you’re in good company. Does that even need explaining? If so, go back to the beginning of the post and start again until you get it. Hint. It’s CAPITALIZED for a reason.

Anyway, one day, you’ll get to read Kyrie’s Playbook or as many will call it Trevor’s Manuscript.

Have a great weekend, and if you’re still a free agent, I’m sorry but we gotta talk. You can’t be out here not knowing what team you play on.

Here’s a parting quote from Kyrie:

I want people to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Having faith and staying in accord with God will have you overcoming demons and obstacles that man couldn’t even begin to start giving you. Stay loyal, stay true and don’t sweat the 🦋 after you diss the 🐛. That’s my go to phrase lol

©️ SonofGuruvé 2018

Mabelreign


When you have a moment, reminisce about your journey thus far in this maze you call life. There are some unearthed gems that have shaped the person you are today. The people you once knew, the schools that educated you, th tragedies that occurred and the formidable recoveries that ensued.

This exercise was first instituted in my educational journey during my tertiary English 275 class where I learned the basics of American English. We were tasked to relive and dictate past experiences, good or bad, that made a lasting impact on our young, promising lives.

Dr. Lord Wills got his PhD in English from University of Florida so our paths unexpectedly crossed at Bearcat University, in the Emerald City of Greenwood, SC.  At the time it was boring homework, but only now and ten years later, I can conclude that it was one of the most rewarding exercises I appreciated about my college experience in America.

I decided to write a riveting tale related to visa chronicles I experienced during the winter of 2007.   It was a retrospective account of what many would call a traumatic experience. Long story short, mistaken identity caused me to be flown between United Kingdom and the United States in a 24 hour period.  It was mentally wounding experience that caused a deplorable, self-diagnosed dose of PTSD and paranoia, but looking back, without this experience, I would not have become vigorous, resilient and driven individual I’d like to believe I’ve become.

I’d never understood mistaken identity until it was a guilty sentence for the innocent bystander I was.  I wrote about the shame I felt for an offence I had no idea I committed at the time, but was later freed and exonerated upon my reinstatement to continue my studies.

“You escaped exhile!” as my Zulu friend and fellow camp counselor, Thabo, when I recounted the story. I was later inspired to graduate with honors and become an auditor in the financial services industry.  I later learned a list called OFAC which in my case, contained an error resulting in mistaken identity. Perhaps that’s why, today as an auditor I make every effort to ensure mistaken identity doesn’t occur.

When it was all said and done, my gratitude was solely to the folks who administered the Mufuka scholarship at Bearcat University. They fought tooth and nail to get my visa reinstated after working with the Office of South Carolina Senator, Lindsey Graham and the Bureau of African Affairs in Washington DC.

To take nothing for granted was the major lesson after this twisted experience.  Life, education, health and safety are invaluable gifts we mortals often take for granted. I learned to appreciate the simplicity of the invaluable gifts we attain everyday.
I hope to pen a piece called “Alien” in the coming months to share and recount how this experience shaped me and how it might help your journey.

So as I digress a little, let me return to the whole point of this post.

Once upon a time my so-called trail blazing exploits took me to Dorchester Avenue in Mabelreign, Harare, Zimbabwe. Mabelrighn was our middle class neighborhood  for 5 years and one of the many reasons I am extremely proud of my Zimbabwean identity.   Mabelreign wasn’t the suburbs, and neither was it the high density urban area. It was a community of hardworking middle class  folks mostly self made and raising close-knit families. My father planted his tribe there after transitioning industries and this is where the adventure began for my brother RazzleDazzle and I. Read about him in my Little-Big-Brother post here.

Mabelreign or affectionately known as Mebhazz is in the northwest part of Harare, Zimbabwe.   Harare Drive and Sherwood Drive meandered through the middle-class, sweaty streets of Cotswold Hills, Sentosa, Ashdown Park, Haig Park which were all boroughs of the Mabelrighn district.

Alfred Beit primary school, Haig Park primary, Mabelreighn Girls high, Ellis Robbins high (Fush) are some of the schools in the area.  Ma’shops’ were the local conurbation where Indian or Greek owned shops rested.  If you’ve been to Mebhazz on a Harare-Ashdown-Park bound combi, mashops is where your journey to and from the city began.

Folks from this neighborhood were not flimsy but tough, streetwise characters constantly searching for their next opportunity in Harare, the sunshine city. Difficult to impress and extremely aware of their surroundings, Mabelreign natives were always conscious of their surroundings, neighborhood folktales and even the local political discourse.  We lived on Dorchester Avenue in the Haig Park sector where ten homes were planted on a humble street.

You had to be aware of the neighborhood politics, so consequently you had to know your constituents including your supporters, team members and enemies.

It was seldom violent and relatively safe due to the local neighborhood watch which rotated ever so often.  The enemies I write about were just mere rivals in informally organized soccer games, coke soccer tournaments and bastketball games at the community basketball courts. A piece of land was undeveloped for some time, so the city managers erected a basketball court to keep the local youth entertained and out of trouble.

My brother and I regularly recount the dramatic events that occurred ‘kumaCourts’ as we called them. We had self-proclaimed players vying for the provincial and national teams.  We supposedy had one talented player called Leo on his way to the “NBA”.  Looking back, our creative storytelling and recalling of neighborhood myths really had no limits. At least we believed in any athletic or artistic possibility.  While Leo never made it to the NBA,  Carlprit or “Rudy” as we called him back then later made it the European top charts sitting on a humble 5 million views on YouTube as of yesterday. Check out his song here:

In my post about my “Little-Big-Brother” you’ll notice I talk about being on a commercial.   I can reveal in this post that I was good at basketball and selected for this spot as Flavor Ravor because the Mebbaz basketball playground was where Allen Iverson, Vince Carter and Ray Allen were considered gods while god’s shoes had to be knockoff AND1 or Air Jordans of course.

Our charred rims had no nets or chains. The grim tar paved the court which was last painted the day the court was opened – ten years before. A faded half line court dissected the young and the old.  Senior League was a spectacle every evening when hardworking middle-class men returned from work in the heart of the city.  When my friends and I completed our curtain-raisers in the junior league we sat on some dusty earth to witness life changing dunks that Dikembe Mutombo himself could not block.

I wonder how the courts are today and if it continues to produce legends like we knew back then.

So hashtag #squadgoals is affectionately used on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook nowadays.  My day one friends were and are from Mabelreighn. We were all characters that had young adolescent adventures of climbing trees, hunting doves, and seeing who could land their first kiss from Samantha.  Samantha was the fair-skinned slim girl who we only saw when her driver dropped her off at home. The rumor was that her dad was a senior government official. The luck of the draw for horny little Africa adolescents was Sam. Samantha tested the intrigue of smitten little boys just roaming the African urban streets with hopes of catching a glimpse of the neighborhood’s princess.

So who were the characters?

Simba was the annoying little brother who rarely left his house probably due to parental control. His talent was drumming his tins and plastic containers for four hour sessions at a time. His estranged sister, Grace would come home for the Summer. I’d like to believe she liked SonofGuruve, but sadly the distance didn’t make the heart fonder as she was in boarding school in Bulawayo.  I bet Simba is a drummer now, for a band somewhere in the diaspora if not, at a Church in Harare picking up where my imagination left off.

Sarikosi University classes were held at number four.  Check out the Sarikosi Post here.  FatherofGuruve planted his tribe there. He allowed my brother and I to go on limited adventures because of our curfew. Without him we would live a simple, insulated lives without getting to experience the harsh realities Mabelreign could offer.

Looking back, I guess he understood that you couldn’t be part of a community without participating in it.  Our participation was more mischief rather than productive, but then again we were just curious characters innocently enjoying our free time before the sunset.

My man Mabasa lived in the house across from ours. “MaJob”, as we called him, was the creator and founder of the coke soccer tournaments I mentioned above.

What is coke soccer?

Take 11 bottle tops, furnish the inside with a uniform kit or pattern using the color of your choice. A ball bearing served as the football while you as the manger, used your index finger to traject the ball, carried inside the bottle top.  A flick of the ball would go back and forth, until a goal was scored on a chalk drawn soccer pitch.

The surface was the drainage ledge which was known in my whole Mabelreighn life as a “bridge”. Teenager board meetings and sun bathing discussions were held on the bridge except during the coke soccer tournaments. MaJob was a fan of Gianfrancco Zola, the Chelsea legend who later coached Watford when my favorite goal of all time was scored in a promotion playoff. It’s hilarious that when I see some footage of Zola, it’s MaJob who comes to mind.  MaJob was kind enough to make us home-cooked sandwiches and will go down as a coke soccer legend.

Ronald, Timmy and Dhivha where the core of our street football team. Ronald was the first person I ever met in Mabelreighn and I still chuckle to this very day when I realize he misled my family when we were strangers in the neighborhood.  Ronald Macheke decided his name was Ronald Williams. I’m sure my Dad wondered, how he’d got his family name Wiliams, because it was incredible.  Nonetheless, we later learned his true last name and perhaps he was taught from an early age to never give up his identity to strangers.  Timmy , Ronald’s older brother thought he was better than he actually was, but every football team needs that one character.  Tommy was always there when a fight erupted so he was always welcome.

Dhivha was our player manager and the oldest one on the block.  His management and planning skills led us to beat the Policemen’s kids in a heavily anticipated fixture, I recount regularly. Gabriel who was our left back later played for the best Harare boys team, Prince Edward.  Many of you don’t realize he first started playing on our squad, CYD before the glory days at Prince Edward. Chikweshe Young Dodas was our street name and tryouts were hotly contested. We had a green and white kit which resembled the Caps United, a local Harare Ciy team.  I anchored the right wing, while my brother was a left mid.  Ronnie and Mabasa were defensive stalwarts while Trust was our prized midfielder.

Our winnings were $6.80 Zimbabwe dollars and we bought frozen penny cools and a loaf of bread. In Mebbhaz those were eloquently known as “freezits” that we bought from the Mozambican-owned tuck shop.  Thomas, a Mozambican native used the bread knife to split the frozen bricks so the CYD squad could share.  Of all the soccer teams I’ve played for in Zimbabwe, England and the United States I can categorically state that CYD was my favorite.  We rarely lost because of our raw talent.  Who knew where we would’ve ended up if there was more grassroots development and funding  in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe Warriors. Allow our imagination to roam.

Maybe we just weren’t good enough, but maybe we would have won a city tournament against the kids from other suburbs, counties or countries.  One thing for sure is Gabriel and Trust would have become professionals, but sadly it didn’t materialize.

There’s a lot more I could recite including the fact that our home ground was called Ebola, that we built a tree house and the trauma we experienced when Flynn passed away, but this is just a blogpost, right? Rest In Peace Flynn. We live for you. You are part of our journey

I later played football for a boys school in the heart of the city and cannot get over the fact that I missed a simple penalty against Ellis Robbins. Ellis Robbins is located in my beloved Mabelreighn, Harare Zimbabwe.  Perhaps it’s good thing I missed the penalty.  It would have treasonous had I scored. Maybe I did my neighborhood a favor?

We’ll never know.

SonofGuruve ©️