When I Grow Up

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(Image via Vadim Lavrusik)
 
Do you remember the first time you picked up your first basketball? What about your first game? The first three pointer you made? How about the first time that time seemed to slow down, and you knew the game was yours? Sometimes a game can go so well that you know you have to keep playing forever. After all, every NBA stalwart had to start somewhere. BALLnROLL caught up with a few NBA superheroes and got the details on their origin stories. This is how they got their start.

BALLnROLL: Do you remember the first time you picked up a basketball and you knew this would be your game?

Glen Davis: Yeah. Everybody wanted me to play football, but I knew there was something special about basketball. And I enjoyed playing the game, all the good moments that I shared—all the good moments that I had when I was playing. I knew I was a basketball fan.

Al Harrington: In highschool, sophomore year perhaps.

Corey Maggette: I picked it up when I was in sixth grade so I was a little different than most kids. They pick it up young, younger than sixth grade. I tried it out at the Boys And Girls’ Club. I was a baseball player, but I tried basketball. It was the first time, so it was a new experience for me.

Jameer Nelson: Actually I was a three sport player, so I felt I could be an athlete and successful in any sport.

J.J Redick: Probably when I was twelve years old. Probably had an AE tournament or something like that. The first time I realized I was pretty good was about that time.

Ty Lawson: Probably in highschool. First, I used to play around; I wasn’t really serious—but when I came up and started on my varsity team—on my first game I had about 30-something points. So that’s when I knew that basketball would be my profession.


Was there a moment when you knew you had a special talent and this might be more than a game for you?

Glen Davis: Yeah, I know exactly what time. I was young, I was playing basketball a lot, I was playing it year round, and my love for football kind of just went down. It was something that I knew was gonna happen.

Al Harrington: I guess maybe in my senior year of highschool, when I had the opportunity to go pro.

Corey Maggette: Not really, it was more I was kind of tired of baseball. I was playing traveling baseball, all my life, since I was like five, and ended up switching.


Jameer Nelson: Probably my junior year in college. My work ethic picked up and I allowed my game to develop.


J.J Redick: Probably not until the summer between my junior and senior year of college. I’d never really imagined playing in the NBA. In fact, when I was in school, in my junior year, I started taking Italian, because I thought I would go overseas and wanted to go to Italy. So the NBA wasn’t really on my radar until my senior year of college.

Ty Lawson: Before, you just play around, you play, you’re not taking it seriously; you’re just a kid. But then, in that game, I was like, “I can actually do something with this basketball thing.” My dad used to have me up at eight o’clock in the morning shooting threes before the day of games. Stuff like that I appreciate because I knew what he had in mind. He was thinking ahead.


If you can be a pro in a sport other than basketball, what would it be?


Glen Davis: Football. It’s my second love.


Al Harrington: Probably football.

Corey Maggette: Baseball would have been that. For sure, I would have played professionally in baseball.

Jameer Nelson: I was a great baseball player, and a pretty good football player as well.

J.J Redick: Oh baseball. Baseball, for sure. That was my first love growing up. My dad made me make a decision when I was thirteen; you know, he didn’t have the time or money for me to do both, so—that’s the age when you start travelling nationally for both, and I had just hit a growth spurt, so I chose basketball. I have no regrets for that.

Ty Lawson: I played soccer. I was good at soccer, but I really wanted to be on Wall Street. A Wall Street stockbroker.

Taking away sports, what career would you see yourself in? Your dream job – your passion?

Glen Davis: I’d probably say car dealership. It feels like I’m more of a talker kind of guy. Selling things, relating to people. Persuasion. Stuff like that.

Al Harrington: President. [laughs]

Cory Maggette: It’s hard to say. I imagine designer, architect, which I studied in school. That was always my first love: building. Constructing.

Jameer Nelson: Anything I could do with kids. Not necessarily as a school teacher but as a service planner or social worker. I was a sociology major and had to do a lot of service planning. I still do a lot in the community, so that helps me prepare myself for what I’ll do after this.

J.J Redick: I’ve thought about teaching. I’ve thought about going back to school, and getting my masters in history and becoming a professor. But I think the world of academia, at times, would be frustrating. I think I’d like to be a politician. In an ideal world, I’d like to be a politician and help create change.


Ty Lawson: Definitely a stockbroker.

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