Updated: Oct 19, 2021
This piece was written by Jamal Clay, a frequent contributor of Globally Ballin and the founder of "The Athletes Forum"
Before Covid-19 came around to mess up everyone's lives, my life was already messed up. In October 2019, I tore my ACL and meniscus in my knee, so I was unable to play basketball causing me to feel lost in the world and jobless. However, I was intrigued to see what the real world is like. What would Melita look like working a 9-5 and living in London! On the other hand, I was excited to work on my "stop the violence basketball campaign" making the event 100x better than it was and add some more events and programs to it. It actually brings me joy to help the local community and learn about the game.
When Covid-19 hit London, it changed everything for me because I was unable to have my knee surgery to give myself time to recover in time for the 2020-2021 season. I actually started to feel depressed because people do not typically take 2 years out of their sporting career so I felt like my career was over.
When I first injured my knee, I think I was in shock for a few months because I never thought I would have a big injury. However, I thought it was a great opportunity to work on my fundamentals, a way to get back to basic basketball to get rid of any bad habits I picked up. The thought of returning currently plays on my mind a lot. However, I try to stay in the present and work as hard as I can now so when I do return, I am just as good if not better than I was before.
Being injured has been the hardest thing I have had to deal with mentally. Months before my surgery I had to go into my rehab sessions and work as hard as I could even though I did not know when my surgery date would be (until 2 weeks before). It almost felt like I was working out for no reason because, after the surgery, I would have to do it all over again. But, being a part of a gym where other athletes are working towards their sporting goals helped me to stay motivated. Regardless, though, I am extremely motivated to get back to the court and the only way that can happen is if I kill it in the gym.
I have been out the game so long that I am currently unsigned to a team. I have some thoughts about where I would like to play next, however, as any athlete will say, it all depends on what contracts are being proposed. Anyway, I am not worried about where I will be playing just yet; I am more focused on getting fit to play.
2 weeks ago, was the first time in over a year since I had a full individual basketball session. The feeling of being back onto the court is amazing. It felt like the missing piece to my heart has been filled.
There are some positives to all of this. I have learned a lot about myself during my time away from basketball. Firstly, a 9-5 job is not for me! So, I need to play basketball for as long as possible. I have also learned that I love my city! During the lockdown, I did some adventuring around London and there is still so much to see.
My time on the basketball court is not over. I might be knocked down right now, but I will get back up. I will return.