How Much Is A Basketball Worth?

Back in 1988, when I was just twenty years old, I was working for a rental store in my hometown. Every day after school was out, Randy and Daryl could be seen walking down the sidewalk on Main Street as they took turns dribbling an old basketball that had obviously seen its’ better days. Randy, 11, and Daryl, 10, were brothers from a very poor family that lived in a run down house in the worst section of town.

old basketballWithout fail, they would stop at the store to see if there was any work they could do to earn some extra money. We usually tried to find something for them to do, whether it was sweeping or just taking out the trash. After they finished we would give them a dollar or two and they would take their worn out basketball and start dribbling down the sidewalk toward the town park.

I tried to spend time with Randy and Daryl when I could. I was coaching a church team and would sometimes stop by and pick them up so they could practice with us. Although they were too young to play on the team, they enjoyed playing in the gym on goals that actually had nets. 

After I took a new job the following year I didn’t see Randy and Daryl very often. After marrying my wife in 1992 we bought a house that just happened to be on the route that Randy and Daryl would take on their way to the park every afternoon. Now in their mid teens, their daily routine had not changed. Every afternoon they would pass by the house, dribbling the same old basketball. I was amazed it had survived the past four years.

One afternoon I was outside as they were making their way to the park. But something wasn’t right. I saw something I had not seen in the four years that I had known Randy and Daryl. They had no basketball.

I walked out to the street to speak since we hadn’t talked in a while. I asked what had happened to their basketball and they said it had leaks and wouldn’t hold air. They were just headed to the park hoping they could find someone with a ball that would let them shoot.

Basketballs are one thing that I’ve never had a shortage of. I had them wait there while I went inside to grab a basketball. When I returned I tossed the basketball to them. They both had the biggest smiles on their faces. They couldn’t believe I was just giving them a basketball. It was obvious that no one had just given them a gift for no reason.

For the next few years, every time I saw Randy and Daryl, they were dribbling that basketball. I haven’t seen either of them in years. They would be in their 30′s by now. While I may never know how the time I spent with them eventually impacted their lives, they realized someone cared about them and they treasured that basketball.

How much is a basketball worth? A cheap rubber basketball might go for $6. You can get a good outdoor basketball for $20 and a good leather basketball for $70. But any basketball that changes the life of a child is priceless.

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