Congrats and good luck to recent grads prepping for big changes

  • Nick Celario

I recently ran into Kauai High School graduate Iwi Rivera at the Kauai Athletic Club in Lihue.

(Yes, I know. My gut may suggest otherwise, but I’m doing my best to be somewhat active and healthier. And you know what else? Despite the general consensus of the physical fitness community, I know that I have the look of a champion. #AndyRuiz)

We talked story for a few minutes. He talked about him going to school in Texas and that he was going to try to walk onto the school’s football team.

It’s a big move, and understandably for any young person, he said he’s a bit nervous about it. And all I told him was that he was going to be OK, and I believe that.

I wrote in last week’s column, in relation to the Golden State Warriors relocating from Oakland to San Francisco, that change though not always welcome is a lot of times necessary for growth.

It’s not the first time I’ve heard of a Kauai kid going to the mainland for school and/or for athletic pursuits. I’ve written about many Kauai Interscholastic Federation student-athletes that have gone on to the mainland on scholarships.

Most if not all of them have said something along the lines of, “I’m nervous about moving. I’ll miss home. But it’s a huge step for me, and I’m excited for the future.”

And, you should be.

It should be commended, that despite how young you are or that there’s fear of the unknown when leaving your home, that they got the guts to make the jump.

To all of you recent grads who are about to make a big move like this, congratulations and I wish you luck. I hope you all do well in your pursuits whether its school, sports, chasing your dream or just taking the next step in life wherever it takes you.

Speaking of big moves, a lot of it has happened over the last week in the NBA.

The LA Lakers have finally acquired Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans (and paid a steep price for his services), and the NBA Draft took place Thursday.

After a failed attempt to trade for Davis months ago — which after it became publicly known may have led the team’s young core of players privately turning their back to LeBron James and the front office, dashing the team’s hopes of reaching the playoffs for the first time in years, and additionally may have led to Magic Johnson abruptly resigning as the team’s president of basketball operations — the Lakers finally got their man to pair with James.

The Lakers gave up Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks to get Davis.

Of this haul, I think Ball will be the most missed piece (despite no longer having to deal with his loud-mouthed father when he talks to the media). The front office will have to find guards to play with James, Davis and Kyle Kuzma.

It seems as though the Lakers will look to make another move this summer as it was reported the other day that the front office is hustling to clear cap space, which may include changing the parameters of the Davis trade.

This upcoming year should be LeBron’s first real attempt at winning a title in LA because it seems the window opened when Golden State lost Kevin Durant (Achilles) and Klay Thompson (knee) to injury during the NBA Finals against Toronto, which will sideline them for most if not all of next season.

As far as the NBA Draft, the top-three draft picks of Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and RJ Barrett was no surprise.

But it was pretty cool to see a bit of history when the Washington Wizards selected Rui Hachimura from Gonzaga with the ninth overall pick.

It was reported that with the Wizards’ selection, Hachimura became the first Japanese-born player to be taken in the first round of the NBA Draft. He’s also the first Japanese player to be drafted at all in about the last 40 years.

It was neat to see during ESPN’s telecast a little bit of a Japanese news station’s coverage of the draft.

Then, with a smile on his face and donning a pin of the national flag of Japan, he looked into the camera and addressed his compatriots in his native tongue.

I’m Filipino-American, but as an Asian-American, I’m hopeful Hachimura makes his mark in the league. I hope he becomes the next great Asian NBA player since Yao Ming and Jeremy Lin (for a few magical weeks with the Knicks).

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Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or ncelario@thegardenisland.com.

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