Rafter Alston was not happy about losing his starting job, but that is not why he just went AWOL from the Miami Heat last week.
It was about being told he was no longer going to play and deciding that looking after a twin sister who tried to take her life just a few days earlier was more important.
“The way I handled it was wrong,” Alston said Tuesday in his first public comments since leaving the team last Friday. “I didn’t really tell [team officials] why I was leaving.”
Alston broke his silence to Ric Bucher of ESPN. Alston story of his twin sister, Racine, puts a different face on his decision. But not how he handed it, simply texting the team, is something he understandably regrets.
Alston is one of the few players to be able to transfer his And 1 street game — Skip to my Lou — to the NBA hardwood. He bounced around but had an 11-year career.
The announcement leaves the Heat in a bit of an awkward spot — just dumping him now makes the franchise come off as calloused. While this was poorly handled, if he had requested time off to be with his sister it would have been granted. Now they have a choice to make.
The challenge for Alston is that these types of incidents and his fearless, fiery personality mean other teams are not likely to pick him up. If you’re going to take a risk, you do it with someone 24 not 34.
“It’s been a tough and long year,” he said. “I’ll be 34 in July. If I can come back and play one more season, that would be great. But if not, I’m still happy with my decision. I played 11 years and had a solid career. Maybe I didn’t leave Miami the right way. But I left for the right reason.”