Shea Serrano was Humble Before Kendrick Lamar Rapped About It

After months of waiting for my pre-ordered copy, I finally received Shea Serrano’s latest book, Basketball (and Other Things) – a heavily awaited masterpiece by the author of The Rap Yearbook, a New York Times bestseller and frankly the greatest piece of literature to ever put on your lunch table.

Story | Sara Loretta

#BAOT is and will be a timeless treasure for all basketball fans – new and old, who stuck through the departure of LeBron James from Cleveland or cheered on Michael Jordan in the 1992-1993 finals (which Serrano considers to be the best version of Jordan during his career). The entire book, illustrated by Arturo Torres, includes a fantasy draft of fictional players like Nathan and Lucas Scott from One Tree Hill who were out-drafted by Bud the Dog from the movie Airbud. While this book doesn’t ask questions that perhaps could influence the newly begun NBA season, there are several learning objectives such as what VORP means and it’s importance to a player’s standing statistically.

The middle school teacher turned bestselling author, got his start by writing about hip hop in Houston and in turn nabbed a position at Grantland – an ESPN affiliate, before joining The Ringer team. Through all of this though, Serrano has stayed personable and humble to his followers, called the FOH ARMY, who have in turn supported Shea in more than just buying content. The loyal group have helped in donating to impactful causes (most recently with hurricane Hervey). Serrano interacts hourly with his ARMY and occasionally will offer advice to prospective writers by email.

Shea Serrano - Basketball (And Other Things) - The Lunch Table
Photo Courtesy: The Ringer

To celebrate the release of Basketball (and Other Things), Shea is currently on a book tour to meet up with the FOH ARMY, and perhaps recruit some new supporters along the way. On October 21st, Serrano rolled into Austin with not just his wingman Arturo Torres, but also his family including Baby A, Baby B and The Baby (the superstars of Shea’s Twitter account), and I had the pleasure of meeting all of them – #DayMade.

Held at Space 24 Twenty (Urban Outfitters), the event was basically a big party with free wings, a badass female DJ and ample opportunity to meet new friends. Upon meeting Shea and Arturo and other individuals of the FOH Army, I finally felt like I was apart of a true squad, like all my internet friends were not tangible people I could hang out with and talk basketball and hip hop (as we ended up doing for hours during the event). As I got my book and exclusive Michael Jordan poster signed, I stumbled through thanking Shea for tweeting my Conscious Rappers are Historians article out. Partly because I met a real life hero, but also because I finally realized my potential. It’s an incredible feeling let me tell you.

Shea Serrano - Basketball (And Other Things) - The Lunch Table
Photo Courtesy: Sara Loretta

But as I thanked him, Serrano simply said, “When you get there, you’d do the same thing for an upcoming writer.” This simple statement will resonate with me for as long as I have my memory, and I’m so thankful that my heroes are humble and their footsteps / path is attainable for me too. The moral of this story, is don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, even if it’s easier behind a computer screen. Say hello to people you admire, appreciate someone’s side hustle, and if you need a little push remember to “be humble”.

Basketball (and Other Things) is available online and at Barnes & Noble, which includes exclusive trading cards of fictional and RL players.

Writer & Visual Storyteller | I think mumble rap is like disco, a bad phase.

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