BILLINGS – The Big Sky State Games finished in Billings Sunday.
Rod Hamman, 65, has been playing basketball for 50 years and has participated in 27 state games.
His team, Hamman Law beat Hemi, for the Men’s Masters division title.
“Oh I love the game and I started playing organized basketball when I was 10 years old,” Hamman said. “I played high school ball but I never played college ball. I was always too short and too slow. I’m about 6-3, 190.
Hamman plays basketball at the YMCA during his lunch break.
“You got to keep on playing,” Hamman said. “Basically you compete against yourself. Do the best you can. If the other guy is better than you and scores, well as long as you did the best you could, you can move on to the next play.”
He’s been able to avoid major injuries.
“You learn how to develop contact,” he said. “You learn how not to get hurt. “
Hamman said he plays smarter as he gets older.
“I don’t think i understood basketball until I was 35,” Hamman said. “Then you start to see. It’s like the game we just got done playing, the masters game, they made good decisions. A lot of smart plays. A lot of time if you’ve played a long time, you can anticipate the play. And when you’re playing younger guys, you have to anticipate because they’re faster than you, they’re going to beat you, so you have to mentally figure out what you’re going to do and play ahead. You can only plan about five seconds ahead but always anticipate the play.”
Hamman said older players can still shoot well and find the challenge in other parts of the game.
“That’s really the hard part about being older is you can shoot,” he said. “I can play offense, that’s not the problem. It’s playing defense. It’s who can i match up with that won’t just won’t torch me.”
He has also figured out how to say fit.
“Well I’d say especially for the young guys, no tobacco, no drugs, moderate alcohol.” Hamman said. “Keep the weight off and then find your passion and keep playing. Doesn’t have to be basketball, whatever you like to do, keep doing it and do it for as long as you can.”
Hamman also served as a basketball commissioner for the Big Sky State Games.
Reporting by David Jay for MTN News