Chris Young's Air West: Baller's Paradise Part 2
Air West.....that spot where the best ballers meet up on Wednesday in LA, secret locale, no cameras, video, or writers (usually).
Air West lets elite players just play without the media scrutiny of hearing how they got crossed up, ankles broken, or posterized.
It's where NBA guys get run in the off season, elite NBA prospects get to show they have game in a relaxed setting that features refs and uniforms. It’s just that structure that simulates the L, in the NBA offseason.
Chris says, "Air West is something I'm very proud of. Being able to provide a safe and compatible environment for basketball players of all levels right in the neighborhood I grew up in!"
Air West has all kinds of great ballers playing in it year round, like Davon Jefferson, I love that guy 100%.
I met Davon when he was a freshman at Lynwood high in 2001 when Lynwood came to ball up Oxnard high. Davon became so talented and skilled as a senior that went on to play for USC, that I titled the name of my Davon story: D-Jefferson- "Enter the Dragon" because he reminded me of Bruce Lee.
Keion Kindred is Davon's guy, Keion traveled to Korea just to make sure Davon was doing well, being taken care of, because when you're Keion's guy, you become "fam for life."
I've been to the Air West games, seen the passion. It's professional, frenetic in a cool way, guys are getting dunked on, dudes are blocking dunks at the rim, but what's the exciting thing?
Getting the chance to show you're good enough to dunk on and smack down with the best, because Air West is merit based, as in you have to be an elite level pro, you have to bring it, show why you belong. There are no free passes, GO BIG or step off partner.
Chris's dunks are so insane that he would be looking down at rims, and imagine him do work at the SLAM BALL hoop league where he was the leading scorer one season.
Your humble writer even has cred as a dunker. Me and former NBA star Cedric Ceballos, we went at it in a dunk contest at Ventura College in ‘91. You guessed it, I came in 2nd behind Ced, but Chris and the players have so much lift that they could just jump over Ced and I, even if we were standing middle of the key!
Chris and Keion work as a team to make their project work for the guys at Air West. Keion says of true LA ballers, "Players from LA are silent killers with a touch of flare. We just play the game at a high level and take no prisoners.”
That's real talk. What does Keion tell the guys he trains? He tells them, "First question I ask all my players is: who is your NBA replica? Reason I ask is because their answer will let me know how realistic they are about their skill set.
“For example, if someone told me they were like Lebron but only 6’1 then I wouldn’t work with that player because they don’t know themselves.
“My training and coaching style is paying close attention to detail, the smaller aspects of the game. Footwork, balance, how you breathe, when to be fast and when to slow down. I try to make my players see the game in slow motion while playing at 100 miles per hour."
Air West is love for the game. The grown men that play there have a special bond; it's pure brotherhood. Chris and Keion encourage that respect, a shared admiration for the game, for themselves, and for each other.
Keion is the guy at the scorers table, verbally lighting the match on the court during games by talking at the guys. Keion pours in a little kerosene to set the court on fire, he watches the flames take hold in a guy’s eyes.
That's why Air West is dope, Keion is constantly talking, challenging his players, "Don't be half stepping, you want to run next game, don't you? What are you made of, stop playing small, you'll get nowhere, if you can't even play harder."
Yep, constant energy, his motor has no kill switch.
Me personally, why do I like Keion and Chris? These partners are humble dudes, real ones to the ballers of Air West, who is sponsored by Nike. They just gave out like 10 pairs of kicks last week to aspiring professional overseas ballers. Not the players that already got fat contracts, but to guys like Hesslick Smith.
To these guys that are ballin in Mongolia, El Salvador, Keion and Chris break em off dope Kyrie Irving LE's kicks so they can step up their game. Keion takes the lead in training, he takes care of NBA All Stars, but he also takes care of 100s of ballers at all levels because he cares.
Keion and Chris just want to see them all live out their dream, provide for their family, feature their game. I love Keion's mantra and creed: Consistency leads to Currency – CLC.
Example: Adijat Adams is the 24 year old, younger sister of Hassan "hot sauce" Adams. Hassan is my fav baller ever, he's in the Erik Woods HOF!
Adijat and I were both watching Air West on a recent Wednesday. She's being trained by Keion to play on that next level, this girl lights up the room she's so joyful. We both are watching the game, she calls Keion "big bro." Adijat is his "lil sis", it's in that moment you realize the power Keion has.
His relationships with players isn't solely as a trainer, a line blurs, they seem like they've been brother and sister their whole lives because Keion would go to the wall for Adijat who is balling professionally in Australia.
Adijat, an accomplished artist who was an art major at Biola, she'd go to the wall for Keion.
That's Air West, it isn't a place, or a game, it's LOVE. Sometimes tough love to step up your game, sometimes it's a "yeah you did great job, here's a pat on the back."
That's why I picked my fav rap tune, KRS 1, Rapper's Delight, because Air West is the ultimate BALLERS DELIGHT, the song EA Sports actually used for the official soundtrack for NBA's 2K.
Air West is the dopest of runs, dopest of relationships. Basketball becomes family, love for hoop and each other...melt into one.