Every high school basketball player dreams of becoming a professional in the NBA. Ironically, the more you improve and the closer you get to the league, the more you realize how long and difficult the road ahead will be. Those 360 players lucky enough to find a spot on an NBA team soon realize that the only thing tougher than getting in the league is staying in the league. And considering the average NBA career lasts only six years (two less than a decade ago), a player always has to be ready to seize his opportunity – even when the only way to stay mentally and physically
ready is to play competitive ball against other professionals just as hungry and dedicated as you are…overseas.
Few players can relate to this scenario more than 28-year-old Bobby Brown, who has played with 4 NBA teams, despite being undrafted, and has also had stints in Germany, Poland, Greece and Italy. During Brown’s international travels, his Berlin team won the German National League title, his Italian team also won a title and he himself received many individual accolades including the 2013 Alphonso Ford Trophy, given to the Euroleague’s best scorer.
Brown returned to his home state of California (where he once scored 47 points in a game on 11 3-pointers at King Drew Middle School) to lead his Summer Pro-Am team in the Drew League to another championship against a long list of active NBA players, including Brandon Jennings, James Harden, DeMar DeRozan and Jordan Crawford.
His strong, competitive and inspirational play once again had NBA teams calling, including the New York Knicks. In the end, though, it would be China that offered Brown a new challenge that he accepted without doubt or regret.
“Yes, I’m very happy with my decision to go to China, it will be a new challenge and experience for me and I’m ready
for it. I expect to go there and try to win a championship – that’s my goal on any team I’m on. I expect to go there and
be vocal and lead by example. It will be different as far as the culture there, but I’m able to adjust to anything as long
as I’m playing basketball.”
The basketball should come easy for Brown, but it’s his adaptability that is so impressive, because of his strong mental focus. Credit goes to his mother who keeps him humble, and to his father-friend whom he talks to on a daily basis about basketball and life, and who helps keep him positive and motivated despite all the naysayers, challenges and detours.
“I will always be motivated to prove people wrong because it’s something I’ve been doing my whole career, but I want
to play at the highest level and compete. I will stay hungry and motivated to make it back in the NBA, and when my
opportunity comes, I will try and take advantage of it.”
“We start each day with a new opportunity. A chance to be better than the day before. For me, it wasn’t easy – I didn’t follow the crowd, didn’t try to be like everyone else. I was just me and that’s when my journey began.”
“When you’re on this journey you’ll have failures but you’ll also have successes. What matters most is you’re willing to work harder, think bigger, be yourself, only better everyday. So there are two ways to think about this, there’s the world around you and how it affects you then there’s how you affect the world because when each of us gets better we all get better.”
“So forget about the competition. Forget about the circumstances. We can’t control those things. What you can control is: You. You can challenge yourself, push yourself, best yourself. And at the end of the day, the only question left to ask yourself is: What are you going to do next?” – Nick Cannon
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Grayson “The Professor” Boucher is arguably the most recognizable face in streetball. He first made a name for himself on the popular And1 Mixtapes and ESPN show “Streetball” in 2004 and in the past 9 years he’s been on the cover of Sports Illustrated, the lead actor in a film with Ludacris and Academy Award winner Melisa Leo, appeared in numerous commercials, played in international exhibition games alongside NBA legends like Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady, and most recently been the star of a series of viral videos and travelled around the nation as part of the Ballup Streetball Tour.
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Bobby Brown is a 28 year old professional basketball player that has played for the Kings, Timberwolves, Hornets and Clippers. He also played overseas and earlier this year he won the Euroleague Alphonso Ford Trophy, an award given to the league’s Best Scorer. Not just a scorer, the former California State University player also was 3rd in the Euroleague in assists and 9th in blocks even though he’s only 6’2!
Nicknamed “The Dunk Inventor” and known to most of the dunk and Youtube community as “the best contest dunker in the world,” Kenny Dobb’s videos have accumulated millions of online views and built a fanbase that even includes many NBA players. He even had LeBron James and Kobe Bryant congratulate him after his see-it-to-believe-it performance at the 2012 Sprite Showdown contest that took place during NBA All-Star weekend. When he’s not putting on international dunk exhibitions or appearing in commercials, Dobbs is conducting basketball clinics and visiting high schools to talk to kids about the importance of hard work, education and staying out of trouble.
They call Myree Bowden “Reemix” because of his ability to remix and liven up events. Starting with his memorable appearance in the 2003 NCAA Slam Dunk Contest, Reemix has been showing off his talents with everybody from The Harlem Globetrotters to the TV show SlamBall to the NBA Nation tour where he serves as an All-Star judge and host of the Sprite Slam Dunk Showdown tour. Not just a performer, Mr Bowden, as his school students call him, spends time as physical trainer and teacher when he’s not on a basketball tour.
6’10” Shawn Kemp and Blake Griffin are known as 2 of the best NBA dunkers of all-time. The other thing they have in common is 5’10 Haneef “Young Hollywood” Munir performed a between the legs dunk OVER both of them this past summer. Staying true to his name, aside from his Sportscenter appearances, Hollywood has also been casted in a lot of national TV commercials and ad campaigns and is the co-owner of basketball talent agency. Next stop for the half-time human highlight will probably be full length Hollywood films.