A moment that changed me: I played professional basketball, until I broke my eye socket – and came to my senses

I was putting off adulthood by trying my luck as an athlete. But when I was hit in the face I had a realisation

I was chasing Johnny around a screen – a blocking position – on the left nail, a throwing point. Yao had set it. He was maybe my only friend on the team – from Ivory Coast, he had been adopted by Germans and raised in Munich, about an hour’s drive away. (One night, we caught the train into the city and he took me around.) Yao was guarded by a 6ft 9in centre, whose elbow caught me in the delicate patch of skull just under the eye socket.

It was like somebody had unplugged my cheek. For the rest of practice, I sat with my back against the wall, wondering how I had ended up here.

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