Into the sunset

Ten years ago on New Year’s Eve, I stood in a hotel room in the Mirage preparing for a night of Las Vegas revelry, a process that consisted for me at age 23 of putting on a flamboyant cream and gold Jordan Brand button-down and drinking Tanqueray out of a water glass. My friends and I had a hip-hop station on the clock radio, and right before we departed for the Strip, Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” came on. That was incredibly meaningful for me at that moment, because I felt I was on the verge of something I hadn’t quite figured out yet. 

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School of thought

Shabazz at the line

Make no mistake, I’m used to being in weird environments. Last year, I helped set the Guinness Record for participating in the largest gathering of zombies. But from a sports perspective, sitting at the Hoophall Classic last week, I couldn’t help but think the whole thing was pretty perverse.

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Nostalgia, ultra

Hang ten

Right before Christmas, I flew down to North Carolina to visit Duke, something I’d previously done five times since I graduated in 2001. Though a lot remains unchanged in my life since my last trip three years ago – same job, same apartment, same obsessive sneaker collection – I’ve since met my future wife, which qualifies as a very significant positive change.

When we stopped for a snack at the general store adjacent to my freshman year dorm, a couple of wide-eyed freshmen, still shell-shocked from their first final exams, asked me what had changed about Duke in the thousand years since I’d been a student, and it got me to thinking.

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