1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.
2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.
A lot happens on the basketball court that you don’t see. Players can say things or gives little pushes and shoves and the fans and referee won’t see it. But what you will always see is Juwan Howard standing up for his teammates if they need him.
Juwan Howard is a basketball legend. In the early ‘90s, he was part of the University of Michigan’s Fab Five, a very famous and successful group of college players, most of whom went on to play in the NBA. Juwan became an All-Star, and currently plays for the Miami Heat.
From his experiences in college to his current role alongside LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, Juwan knows a lot about teamwork, and he is the best teammate any player could ask for. Anytime there is a disagreement on the court, Juwan steps up to defend his teammates. “I got your back” is common expression on the basketball court, but no one knows it better than Juwan. When it comes to his teammates, he’s got their backs and would do anything to support them. We met with Juwan at a recent practice to talk about what it means to get someone’s back.
3. Watch - Watch the video without reading the dialog.
1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.
2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.
Jason: Welcome to English, baby! I am Jason, here with Juwan Howard of the Miami Heat! How are you today?
Juwan: I’m doing fine! Good morning!
Jason: And so…You know, I’ve been watching you play for a long time, and it seems like that you always have your players’ back. Like, if something is going down on the court, you always kinda run over there, and make sure everyone knows you support them. So I was wondering if you could tell us what does it mean to have someone’s back?
Juwan: I’m just a guy, of course, who believes in playing the game the right way. And I feel that whenever there’s an opportunity when I think an opponent is not playing the game the right way then, of course, any type of reaction…you’re always gonna see me try to defend my teammates because I feel they would do the same for me too. That’s the way I was brought up, to play the game the right way.
Jason: It’s just about sportsmanship, having your team’s back is part of that?
Juwan: Sportsmanship. That’s what it’s all about, baby.
Jason: You were part of the Fab Five, one of the most famous squads of college basketball players. And I’ve heard that you guys originated the current style of baggy shorts in basketball. Is that true?
Juwan: Well, we had something to do with it, but I wouldn’t take full credit. I think we first noticed a guy like Michael Jordan coming into the NBA. And his shorts were longer than the typical Utah Jazz shorts. And so we wanted our shorts to be like Mike’s, but a little bit longer, and that’s why we took it to the knee caps. And fortunately enough, I think there are a lot of other people that have jumped on the wagon.
Jason: Back in those days, did you learn a lot about having each others’ backs?
Juwan: Well, you know, we were a team. No matter what, I feel every team, no matter if it’s basketball, baseball, football, and other team sports, you support your teammates. And that’s what it’s all about. You guys, of course, you know, work hard together and practice. In a game situation, you try to win. And in any type of situation like that when you form that camaraderie, that’s what the team concept is all about.
Jason: Thanks, Juwan! Can I get you to give me a high five and say “English, baby!” in the air? Alright, “English, baby!”
Juwan says that having someone’s back is about sportsmanship and making sure that the game is being played fairly. He will not sit there and watch one of his teammates be mistreated. He will help in any way he can because he has their backs.
You can say you got someone’s back or that you have their back. Either is acceptable and both are very informal.
Jason also asks Juwan about his contribution to basketball fashion: baggy shorts. Juwan says he and his college teammates got the idea from Michael Jordan and he’s glad it has become the style for all players.
Are you part of a team? Who has your back?