By: Otha Nevels
If you’re Drew faithful or just a casual fan, you know the impact The Game has on the Drew. With 6.3 million Instagram followers and another 1.1 on Twitter it’s safe to say he brings the entertainment part to the Drew. If he tweets out or posts that he’ll be playing, expect to see a crowd and something exciting. For example, in Week 1 he debuted cheerleaders dressed in all black jumpers and Flu game J’s. By the way the whole team had on Flu games.
After a year off to, as he put it, “tend to his rap duties,” The Game is back with a renewed focus and a more refined game than in past years.
“After being in the Drew four consecutive years and not get a championship [it’s] been a little frustrating, so I took a year off. I did a little more scouting, put together a little more pieces. Added some big men and key acquisitions to go around Frank [Session]. We got Bugatti running point now. We got bigs playing big.”
Aside from the key acquisitions The Game notes the most important thing was the approach of this years team.
“The most important thing to me that we got on this team, the thing that I love, that keeps me motivated and keeps me happy is the fact that we all homies. We all teammates.”
Teammates wouldn’t be the word one would use to describe a typical Game team. Those teams were usually a bunch of talented players playing alongside each other but not as a team per-say. With his industry connects, he generally had no problem stock piling on talent but his past teams lacked cohesiveness. The Game has put together squads that have included some of the top pros in the world, but have resulted in no ‘ships.
“This year I’m really looking forward to playing with my homies the whole season. I’ve had pros on my teams, but that didn’t get me a championship. It didn’t make me a champion, so this year I’m playing with my solid homies. We eat together, we do other things together, but we’re a team.”
Seeing him play this season, you could tell The Game has evolved as a player. Speaking with him, you can hear the focus. Make no mistakes about it, this isn’t his day job, but he takes it serious. After the first game you saw a different player than we’ve seen in years past. He’s not out there just jacking shots like some have been accustomed to seeing him do. He’s playing within a system that doesn’t necessarily center around him. He’s matured as player and attributes that to life’s natural progression of maturity.
“Just wisdom as you get older. You get a little smarter. We’re not making the same basketball mistakes we were making 2 years ago. Now I’m 36, so it’s just veteran [stuff]. Knowing the Drew, knowing the refs. What they’ll call, what they won’t, what you can get away with and what you can’t.”
Birdies Revenge got off to an impressive start with a 84-72 win over Salvatori’s Spirit week 1. Followed by narrow 6 point OT win over Hank’s Panthers in week 2. Lead by their marquee player Franklin “Nitty” Session. Session was the go to guy for last squad The Game had in the Drew, La Familia. In that season, Session opened the season with two consecutive Player of the Week awards. This year he’s off to a solid start (15 points, 8 boards, 4 dimes, and 3 steals week 1 and 18 points, 8 dimes and 4 boards week 2), but knows he must do more for this team to go far.
“We played well, but I have to pick it up. I have to be more efficient. I need to not turnover the ball so much. I had four assists and four turnovers,” said Session after their week 1 victory. He later added “we’re expecting a ‘ship at the end, of course, but it’s a long road until we get there.” With their star player and owner/player as focused as Nitty and The Game are, they just might seek revenge for Birdie after all and bring home that coveted Drew championship. Unless Kyle Watson goes off and Shep comes out of retirement again.
Come check out Birdies Revenge 6/18/16, as they get set to play Sango Niang and No Shnacks at 12:30 pm live from the Drew.
This is Otha’s third season with the Drew. The Compton native is a proud product of Howard university and can be reached at @tharealO on Twitter and HowardCompton on the Gram. Good hoop and good fun is what the summers are made for. Yee!