Skip to main content

Just before I head out onto the court on Wednesday night, someone asks me, 'You ready for this?' And I honestly don't know.

This will go one of two ways.

I go out there, score 20 and the hype rises into a sonic range only dogs can hear.

I go out, score four and people will start with the told-you-sos.

It occurs to me at some point during the game – some frantic moment – that I'm ready for this.

Everything happens too fast, and I think, 'I'm in over my head.' I've never thought that before. Does it show?

As it ends, the team's media guy grabs me, points me toward the courtside interview. Maybe this will be the last one of these that includes the word 'Cleveland.' Probably not.

I'm going to be doing this same interview forever.

ESPN leads with me on SportsCenter.

ESPN still leads with me on SportsCenter. But in a bad way.

They don't say 'Canadian.'

They'll never stop calling me 'Canadian.'

Another trip to the airport, but no one sits beside me.

Someone sits beside me. They're worried. I'm a little worried, too.

November. December. I play 30 minutes a night. I play 30 proper minutes a night. I'm not always great, but I'm showing up to work.

I start to flinch. I can feel myself doing it, but I can't stop. I'm either thinking too much or not at all. I fade back onto the bench. They're thinking about the guy they traded for me. Nobody says it, but I know they're thinking it.

Someone asks if I've talked to LeBron. Why would I talk to him? I grin. 'Ask LeBron.'

Someone asks if I've talked to LeBron. I get angry. It shows. They're starting to pick me apart. They know I'm weak.

December 23rd. Back in Cleveland. LeBron shows me up a bit. I lean in during a timeout. 'I'm coming for you.' He doesn't look at me, just smiles. He's not scared. He should be. I'm not that far off him. Or, I won't be soon.

I am so far off LeBron I can hardly pull myself out of bed the next morning.

Ricky Rubio is a magician.

Ricky Rubio is not putting the ball in my hands in the right spots. Ricky Rubio is starting to seriously annoy me.

In the gym, working on my shot and my handle. The holes in my game are healing over.

In the gym, working on everything. Working on too much.

Am I drifting?

Am I drifting?

The team is so-so – okay, terrible – but I don't notice. I say all the right things about winning, but I know that winning doesn't matter right now. Winning is the least of my problems.

For the first time in my life, I'm not winning. And it's killing me.

January. I've got my routines down. I'm locked in.

Almost halfway done. I realize that counting is not a good sign.

I liked high school. College was a blur. But this is the life I was meant for. First-class suits me.

Why doesn't this season have a break?

February. I'm happy and tired. I'm tired all the time. I'm losing weight.

It's worse than tired. I've stopped caring.

At the beginning, there were moments when I couldn't be stopped. Now, there are whole quarters.

I give up on offence and go back to defence. I've always been a one-on-one stopper. I never thought I'd become a passer.

Football's over. I'm officially a big deal in Minnesota.

They've stopped picking on me. Now they feel sorry for me. This feels worse.

I remind myself that I am more than my father's son.

I remind myself that I am more than my father's son.

March 17. Fly to Toronto. I tell myself to stay off the phone, stay off Twitter, stay off Instagram. But I can't.

My teammates are looking forward to the clubs. I'm looking forward to a crowd that doesn't hate me.

March 18. The ACC. I grew up in this building. Life is so weird. The crowd is looking at me. I'm looking at the Raptors. I remind myself that nothing will feel as sweet as winning.

Someone asks a question about signing for the Raptors. I've dodged this one a thousand times. This time, I don't bother dodging it.

April. I'm not sure how far we are out of first. I stopped counting a long time ago.

We're 25 games behind San Antonio. Twenty-five. What the hell have I signed up for?

The season ends. My numbers don't matter. What I'm working toward is more than numbers. I'll be able to feel it when I belong. And I already belong.

God, those numbers. I've never had numbers like that.

I'm not rookie of the year, but I'm close. I tell myself, 'Better to be MVP in five years.'

I don't get a single rookie of the year vote. I wasn't expecting any, but this hurts. This is a disaster.

No need to kill myself in the summer.

I have to kill myself. I have to completely rebuild myself.

I wish for summer to end.

I want to crouch down and hide in summer forever.

Someone comes to interview me. They ask about Cleveland, about LeBron, about the trade, but it's not the whole thing. I laugh about it. For the first time, it doesn't sound totally phony.

I tell the team's media guy I'm not answering any more questions about Cleveland or LeBron or the trade. I'm not past it. I'm just angry. I'm angrier than I've ever been.

Just before I head out onto the court, someone asks me, 'You ready for this?'

Yes.

Yes.

Report an error

Editorial code of conduct