Monta Ellis the Boxer?

Jaime IrvineCorrespondent IAugust 19, 2008

I can hear the Rocky theme music blasting in a Northern California gym. “Dahna nah dahna nah…” Punching and speed bags being and '80s—slightly homo-erotic—jump roping drills. Who is in the gym? Is it Apollo Creed? Mr. T? Ivan Drago?

Nope, it is the new starting point guard for the Golden St. Warriors. According to the Contra Costa Times, Ellis has been working out with Virgil Hunter, who is the boxing coach of undefeated Andre Ward of Oakland. In between his ball-handling workouts, Ellis has decided that boxing training is the best way to strengthen his endurance.

I commend Monta for taking a different approach to his offseason workout regimen. As long as he is still practicing fundamental basketball skills, and it seems like he is, then I don’t see how the boxing workout can hurt him.

I think parents and kids should take notice of what Ellis is doing. These days, too many people think they need to “specialize” in a sport at a young age.

We watch the Olympics and see how girls by the age of three have their gymnastic career already decided, and we think we need to do the same with our kids.

Maybe this has to be the case in gymnastics—I do not know, I am not a gymnast. However, in basketball, development takes place later in a kid’s life. Some even argue that a player develops more between his freshman and senior year of college than he does between his freshman and senior year of high school.

I believe kids should enjoy a number of different sports, rather than just concentrating on one. There is plenty of time to get the work in on basketball skills and drills, and overwhelming a child with one sport may cause the kid to “burn out."

Other sports can help kids grow and mature physically as well.

For example, football can make a kid stronger and tougher and track may improve speed and endurance. Do not pigeonhole a kid. Let them explore the other sport options. This will make him a better all-around athlete in the long run.

Of course, Monta Ellis may be doing this whole boxing routine for a completely different reason. Maybe he is doing it as protection against some of his teammates.

Monta, word of advice, don’t bring a right hook to a Stephen “Guns” Jackson fight.