Getting to the NBA is not easy. Of the millions of kids playing basketball around the world today, only a very small percentage will make it to the Association. Along the way, there will be highs and lows, ups and downs.
As they prepare for the 2007-08 season, 30 current players reflect back on their journey to the NBA and some of the things they went through to fulfill their dream of playing basketball for a living.
Finish this sentence: "Growing up, the basketball court was my..."
LJ: Home away from home.
To what lengths would you go for a chance to play basketball, even if it were just a shoot around?
LJ: Any length, I leave my family everyday to come to the basketball court. So that definitely shows how much I love the game of basketball.
Who was your basketball hero and why?
LJ: Michael Jordan. For the simple fact of how he was able to fly through the air and make big shots and win championships, and just the competitive nature that he had on the basketball court. He always believed he was the best.
What is your favorite childhood basketball memory?
LJ: Just going to city to city playing AAU national tournaments; Memphis, Tennessee; Coco Beach, Florida; Orlando, Florida; Kingsport, Tennessee; just going all over the United States to play the game of basketball.
Best piece of basketball advice I received was...
LJ: Play every minute like it's your last.
What advice would you give to someone who aspires to play in the NBA?
LJ: When you go on the basketball court, you never know if you're going to have tomorrow to play on the basketball court. So you should cherish it, but at the same time, take advantage of the opportunities you have from playing this game.
How old were you when you received your first basketball and what did it feel like to have your very own?
LJ: I think I was about three or four years old and I got a Little Tikes basketball court at home and I always wanted to dunk. So I just dunked on the hoop before I even shot the basketball. So it felt great.
When did you realize you had serious game?
LJ: I don't think I had serious game until I was 11 or 12 and really started to love the game of basketball and really started to take it seriously.
I entertained thoughts of playing in the NBA at age ...
LJ: At age 8 when I first started playing the game of basketball.
Did it ever strike you in the middle of a game in front of a packed house, "Man, I can't believe I'm here"?
How proud is your family that you made it to the NBA?
LJ: My family is really proud of me, and they express that every time after a game or after practice, saying how much they love seeing me play the game of basketball. When I am out there, I represent my family. So it is more pressure on me to keep carrying the legacy on for my family.