DURHAM — For Josh Powell, basketball is universal. It doesn't matter if it is the NBA Finals, summer league or an individual workout, it is all about one thing - fun.
"I have been fortunate to be on a successful team, and it is just a big blessing, so I am enjoying the moment," Powell said. "It's always just about having fun on the court."
After winning two NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, it is easy for the former N.C. State star to enjoy himself. On Thursday night, Powell, wearing a backward blue hat, a black Nike T-shirt and black N.C. State sweatpants, danced and signed autographs as he watched the S.J.G. Greater NC Pro Am summer league at N.C. Central.
But he doesn't plan on being a spectator for long. Powell said he plans on lacing it up at N.C. Central in few weeks. The summer league is an opportunity, he said, to stay in shape against top competition while focusing on improving his game.
"I just love playing the game, so it doesn't matter where I'm playing," Powell said. "This league is a great thing because there are a lot of good guys that compete hard and the atmosphere is great."
It was an atmosphere that was abuzz minutes after Powell entered the McLendon-McDougald Gymnasium midway through the night's second game. As Duke players Seth Curry and Miles Plumlee drew oohs and ahhs on the court, Powell was creating energy on the sideline as fans surrounded him to pose for pictures.
In a professional career that began in the NBA Development League then bounced the power forward to five teams in seven seasons, Powell still cannot believe all that has happened.
"I have been fortunate to be on a successful team and play with some of the greatest ever in the game with the greatest coach in the game," Powell said. "I can't put it into words. I would never imagine I would be where I am."
After expressing relief that all the hype surrounding LeBron James would end in an hour so "the rest of the NBA can continue," Powell also weighed in on what he views as one of the top recruiting classes at N.C. State.
But then, Powell went right back to what is foremost on his mind.
"I am a part of history," Powell said. "No matter what, no one can ever take that away that I have two titles. It is definitely a blessing."
A blessing that has been prosperous and, of course, fun along the way.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-829-8949