Gary Forbes: Working His Way Up The Ladder

Gary Forbes
Dick Carlson/NBAE/Getty Images
by Matthew Brennan,

January 8, 2009: Sioux Falls Skyforce forward Gary Forbes has been of the most impressive performers at this year's NBA D-League Showcase. The 6-7 Forbes kicked off the Showcase by scoring 30 points on 12-17 shooting in a loss to Albuquerque, and returned to score 16 points off the bench in Sioux Falls' win over Rio Grande Valley on Monday. For the Showcase Forbes finished with 23.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists. He shot 16-24 from the field and connected on 9 of his 15 attempts from three-point range.

"I'm just trying to well. It's the Showcase, the title is self-explanatory, you want to showcase your talents so you can reach the next level", said Forbes on Wednesday. "I'm just trying to play as hard as possible and show what I can do on the court."

Forbes has been no stranger to accolades in his young career, but he has always had to prove himself to reach the next level. He enjoyed a very successful tenure in college at UMass, where he was named Atlantic-10 Player of the Year as a senior in 2007-08. Forbes then went on to the NBA pre-draft circuit, where he impressed the scouts at the Porstmouth Camp and was named to the All-Tournament team. Despite his outstanding play, Forbes was not selected in the NBA Draft and reached another bump on his road to the NBA.

"You have to go out there with a chip on your side," said Forbes. "I've never had politics on my side or the easy road to where I've gotten. It's always been the hard way, and that's something that I am used to."

Forbes took the next step in his career when he signed a contract with the NBA D-League and entered the 2008 Draft. Forbes' potential made him in demand, and the Sioux Falls Skyforce made him the fourth overall choice in the draft. So far his tenure as a rookie has been a succesful one, with Forbes scoring 17.5 points over his first 16 games for the Skyforce. He was one of the D-League's top three-point marksmen with 36 heading into Wednesday's game. Despite a slight culture adjustment for the Brookyln resident, Forbes is tight with his teammates and enjoying life in the NBA D-League.

"Besides the cold weather, everything has been great," said Forbes. "It's kind of like college to me, this is my first year in the pros but it's basically the same way. We are all together, we have great camraderie. In practice we have fun and Nate Tibbetts is a great coach to play for."

Judging by his play, Forbes is making a great adjustment to the pro game in his rookie season. He is happy with taking the NBA D-League route to reach his dream of becoming an NBA player, because the competition and the exposure is the best way to reach his goals. "It's good competition," said Forbes about playing in the league. "There are a lot of guys who have already played in the NBA, and there are a lot more guys who are good enough to play there. You can't take any nights off because there is always somebody watching."

"I think the D-League is the quickest way to get to the NBA," continued Forbes. "I'm just trying as hard as possible. Hopefully I impressed some people this week with my play and I am going to keep trying hard to make it happen."

Forbes knows that his numbers can get the attention of NBA teams, but he feels that his attitude can also endear him to scouts and front-office personnel. His versatility (he can play guard or forward) and ability to make shots could be what gets him to the next level. He is confident that the hard work in the NBA D-League will pay off eventually.

"I think I am a great team guy, a great person to be around," said Forbes. "I can bring a lot of energy, knock down open shots, and play as hard as I can on the defensive game."

"I want to be the best player possible that I can be," he continued. "My idols are Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, so everyday I'm trying to get there. When people are working hard you just want to be that player that works harder than everyone else."