by Lang Whitaker | @langwhitaker

Got an email the other day that I thought was worth sharing with you guys. We have a lot of great commenters on SLAMonline. And I know there are some inter-commenter beefs and some people who don’t like other people, or whatever. But I look at SLAMonline as a family — maybe a dysfunctional family, but a family. Not everyone gets along, but at the end of the day we’re still a family.

Anyway, I got an email the other day from our longtime commenter who goes by the handle “James the Balla.” I’ve seen him post hundreds of times on SLAMonline, probably even interacted with him from time to time, but I had no understanding of him as a person until I got this email. I asked him if I could run it here on The Links and he said he was cool with it. To me, this email was a great reminder that even though we might not even really know each other, we’re all real people with real lives and things we have to face…

Hey Lang,

“James the Balla” here. I have been very busy and not on the site much recently, the main reason being I am about to deploy to Afghanistan. I am actually writing this letter inside of a tent, LOL. But to get to my main point, I wanted to shoot an e-mail off for a couple reasons.
 
The first being that since I won’t be able to watch many games, if any at all, my Lakers will be without my fan support. And if I do get any games, they will all be in French (I am going with a French Battle Group and Brigade). And there is something like an 18-hour time difference between Ontario and Afghanistan. So the only place to catch up on everything will be your site, which I look forward to.

Second, the site is awesome, even in the long, boring months of summer. I have been reading for a long time now and have almost every SLAM, from number one to the most recent. So that is where this e-mail became something I wanted to write.

Two months back I found myself writing letters to people (family and friends) who are close to me so that if something ever happened to me they would know how I truly felt about them and could share some memories. I haven’t gotten that far with them; I will finish them when I get back from my last bit of training here in Alberta.

But something that has been a big part of me since I was roughly 13 or 14 years old has been SLAM. It’s when I started ballin’, started hanging with my friends who are now my brothers, and it’s when I started reading every article in SLAM instead of just looking at pictures. So one thing I am writing out in my journal that my Mother will get if the worst happens to me over there (it won’t, but sh*t happens), is the small section I am writing about SLAM. In the event of my untimely demise (I have always wanted to say that lol … and I think that is how you say it? lol) I figured that I enjoyed my SLAM’s so much that it would be cool to hand them back to SLAM and let someone like Moose or someone who doesn’t have a lot of SLAM’s get the chance at having them. Win them in a contest or whatnot. They would only be going to waste in one of my family members basements if I didn’t figure out what to do with them anyways.

So that is it, nothing crazy. But if you get any e-mails from a Susan S., she is a very nice woman lol!

James S.

James, thanks so much for your email. Whenever you get a chance, please hit me up and let us know how it’s going, and I’ll share it with folks here on the site. Good luck and stay safe, and we’ll be thinking about you.

Oh, and while I and everyone looking to collect back issues of SLAM are all grateful for your offer, I think everyone will agree with me when I say I hope we never get to see your SLAM collection.