I am not in the NBA. I have not played competitive organized basketball since 1998 when i was a senior in highschool at Friends Select in center city Philadelphia. I attempt to play basketball a few times a week but alas, over the years i have had numerous injuries ranging from tendinitis in my knee and shoulders, torn ligaments in my ankles, broken ribs etc etc… The older i get the more my body seems to reject the notion of consistently playing basketball. Thus all i have left to indulge my dreams of NBA superstardom (or even a 12th man on the bench) is fantasy basketball.

Mid October every year. The oppressive heat of the summer gives way to the cool kiss of the fall winds. The shake off their green hue and display a technicolor dream coat that leaves even Joseph in awe. Basketball players lace up their sneaks, rubber soles sqeaking on hard wood as they break up and down the court. And the common fan can have a part of it in the fantasy world. At this time every year i gather with a group of friends to draft our teams. The weeks leading up to the draft are spent talking about the upcoming season. We talk about projections, about players, about teams, about how awesome it is that the boredom of summer sports gives way to the fastest growing sport in the world. We wonder if basketball will take over soccer as the number one sport worldwide one day and whether or not it can be a conduit to peace between warring countries. We worship at the alter of basketball and the fantasy draft is our form of prayer.

I am in three fantasy basketball leagues this year and last night was my first draft. This is by far the most important of the three drafts as there is a $100 buy in and in April if you stand at the top of the 12 teams that are registered you can win $1000. The day was spent doing massive research online instead of doing the research that we should have done for our actual places of employment. Dozens of text messages were sent back and forth between all of us. Phone calls were placed, the excitement was brewing.

The draft is like Christmas. Its something you look forward to for months. Its not only a sign that the season is upon us but its also your own personal stake in the NBA. Not only will you cheer for your favorite team but now you will also cheer for players on your fantasy team. Its okay if a player on my fantasy team like Kobe Bryant scores 50 points against my real favorite team, the Philadelphia 76ers as long as the Sixers win. But i need Kobe to score those points, and also pick up some assists, steals, threes, and shoot high percentages. But please dont beat the 76ers on the court in reality.

So if the draft is like Xmas, then when Yahoo Sports system goes down and doesnt allow anyone to enter your live online draft – that must be like finding out Santa Claus is not real. Last night 12 of us were signed online eagerly awaiting the draft when the “enter live draft now” button never appeared. Text messages sent, phone calls placed, as most of us panicked at the thought that one of us would miss the draft. Nay, it was all of us. None of us would be able to draft our team as the system would go ahead and draft for us automatically. We all sent angry emails to Yahoo and shortly there after received emails from the server host apologizing and saying it would be remedied and we would be able to draft again on Sunday afternoon. Sunday afternoon, a time when we are asured to be home watching our favorite football teams and cheering for our fantasy football players to score 3 touchdowns. As long as they dont score the winning touchdown against our favorite teams.

Its All Fantasy.