opinionBy John Vianney Nsimbe
At the start of the basketball semifinal playoffs, I predicted that the winner of the UCU Canons/Kyambogo Warriors fixture would prevail over any team that emerged from the Falcons/KIU Titans clash.
But at the moment, I would like to congratulate Kyambogo Warriors for that 4-2 series win. You fought a good fight, something that you showed right from the 3-2 gruelling win over UCU Canons in the semi-final. Now, the stage shifts to who will be voted the Most Valuable Player of the season.
While this is always a contentious issue, I have chosen to ignore it because often, it doesn't add up. For example, the 2010 MVP was Norman Blick, yet general consensus believed that it was Isaac Afidra's gong. The choice from the Fuba technical committee was embarrassing.
In fact, not only did it water-down the awards ceremony held at Imperial Royale hotel, but it left almost the entire Dmark Power team where both Afidra and Blick played at the time in utter shock and disappointment. To make matters worse, Blick wasn't present to pick the award because, according to his teammates, he didn't think he would be considered for the MVP award.
He, among all people, also believed it was Afidra's award, perhaps the reason even after the award was delivered to his home, he kept a low profile. However, one thing that has defined the person of Blick has been humility and the winning mentality. And his shortcomings notwithstanding, Blick is the best basketball player that I have seen in this country.
The fact that last Sunday he was part of the winning Warriors team that brought his haul of league championships to five titles only emphasizes the legacy he has built. Of course one could argue that he doesn't hold this record alone. True, his brother Donald Blick, with whom he has played at different clubs, and the Malinga brothers Henry and Eric, whose title winning streak dates back from 2002 with the indomitable Falcons, have a record to match.
But these don't exhibit the class and grace with which Norman has played the game. Not one position on the basketball court failed him. He can handle the ball as a point-guard, shoot on the three point-line and also dribble with exceptional panache. Even within the paint, his versatility showed when called on to play as a big-man.
That said, Norman has often been teased by friends for his love for the bottle. But one thing about him is his great personality and love for others. A real good human being that has been a journalist's ideal, the ladies' man and above all, the fans craving from Sky-Jammers (2001), Nkumba Marines (2005 and 2006), Dmark Power (2010) and Kyambogo Warriors (2012).
If it weren't for Norman Blick, Nkumba Marines wouldn't have been an issue in Ugandan basketball. But because of his undying endeavour, the team rode on his talent and outwitted much stronger teams like Falcons, Charging Rhinos and Power that had the likes of Wilbrod Okecho, Moses Wasswa, Paul Ndamagye and Sam Obol.
Norman Blick has made a tremendous contribution wherever he has played and it's not by accident that when push came to shove last Sunday, he grabbed the bull by the horns, took matters into his hands and led Warriors to the finish line with that decisive late three-point shot.