In a powerful piece for the The Players’ Tribune, former NBA player Steve Francis opens up about his life before stardom, growing up in the streets of Washington D.C., where his mother died when Francis was only 18 years old and his father was locked up in federal prison for a robbery conviction.
“Four years before I was on that plane with Hakeem telling me we’re going shopping for cashmere suits together — four years before I was about to go play against Gary Payton — I was on the corner of Maple Ave in Takoma Park, Maryland, selling drugs outside the Chinese joint.”
“My mother had passed away. My father was in a federal penitentiary. We had 18 people living in one apartment. I had dropped out of high school. No scholarships. No GED. No nothing.”
From his respect for legend Hakeem Olajuwon to his interactions with Sam Cassell and Payton, Francis opens up about life beyond basketball as well as the lessons he took away from his time in the NBA and the unlikely route he took to get there.
Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- The Slovenian Basketball Federation, via Emiliano Carchia of Sportando, is reporting that top 2018 NBA Draft prospect Luka Doncic is expected to miss two weeks of action with a thigh injury.
- In another moving piece, Jackie MacMullan of ESPN writes that former All-Star and NBA champion Chris Bosh is still hoping for a return to the NBA and, perhaps more importantly, searching for the feeling he once had when he was playing the game he loved. “I would love,” Bosh says, “to experience that feeling one more time.”
- The NBA still has some ground to cover in its efforts to make the G League a true “minor league” alternative to college basketball, opines Sean Deveney of Sporting News.
- Despite ongoing efforts to mend the ever-widening gap between players and officials, at least one NBA player feels the tensions are still an issue, reports Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. “Honestly the game is not about the players and the refs,” said Wizards forward Markieff Morris.“We’re playing for the fans, so we’re trying to clean up a whole lot. It’s at an all-time high right now.”
- LeBron James‘ free agency destination list is reportedly down to four teams. Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today take a look at the best situations for James from a pure basketball perspective, concentrating on the four aforementioned teams – the Cavaliers, Lakers, Rockets, and Sixers – as well as two others – the Clippers and Spurs.