Why do you run? Why does Michael Phelps swim? Introducing “Why I…” In this new series, we explore the passion of athletes — from all walks of life, at different levels and with diverse interests — in their own words. Finding your passion is key to staying motivated to live a healthy lifestyle.
“The run is sacred.” It’s a saying we have in the Saturday morning pickup game I’ve played in here in New York since summer 2001. No matter what’s happening at home or work, I always prioritize making it to that run.
It’s partly about commitment. Everything in New York is difficult, and basketball is no exception. This run has been around since 1985, and there’s a big legacy to it. Most people won’t play pickup with random people, so you have to be organized and get the people you want to play with at the court at the right time.
But mostly it’s about camaraderie. I love the exercise and the competition, but hanging with the guys is the best part.
Though technically, I spend the better part of my day hanging with guys and talking sports, that’s work. Spending day after day with professional athletes reminds me of my place in the pecking order. Former New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison once sacked me for fun, and it felt like I’d been hit by a Mack truck. It was nothing to him and humbling for me. I’ll never reach that level of athleticism in my life.
“No matter what’s happening at home or work, I always prioritize making it to that run.”
But what I have, I plan to protect. My fitness goal is to play pickup basketball into my early 60s, so I jog twice a week and lift light weights to keep my shoulder, which is prone to tendinitis, healthy. If it were up to me, I’d play basketball for three hours, then go play pickup football. Instead I’m trying to be smart about my knees and lower body to get as much mileage out of them as I can on the court.
I wouldn’t feel like myself if I couldn’t play basketball.
Height: 6 feet, 4 inches
Kids: Two girls, 4 and 6
Main run: Along the water in Brooklyn, around the tip of the island, from Dumbo to Red Hook
Out the door by: 5:45 a.m.
Nickname: Pearl (high school); McLovin’ (work)
— As told to Danny Bonvissuto
GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT PICKUP GAME