We live in a fantasy world where we like to believe that making it to the NBA is a meritocracy — only the very best get there because of skill and effort, not luck.
But why should the NBA be any different than where you work? You’re telling me the hierarchy at your office is based solely on merit? Your boss is really that smart?
Sure, if you bring Kobe/LeBron/Durant skills and effort to the table you are in. But when it gets to guys 10-15 on the roster there are a lot of factors that come into play. Luck is one of them.
Case in point, we bring you Sundiata Gaines.
He has bounced around the NBA with a bunch of short-term deals — and one crazy game winner — in the past year. And he was out of work again when New Jersey called just before the team left for games in London, as the Star-Ledger reports (via Ball Don’t Lie):
When the Nets realized they needed to sign a guard to bring with them to London because of injuries to point guards Deron Williams and Jordan Farmar, Gaines happened to be home in New York, which was convenient, and he also had a valid passport, which was essential.
“I just came home — I was in Minnesota — and New Jersey happened to call me, and asked me if I had a passport and if I could go to London, and I said, ‘I have my passport,’ ’’ Gaines explained.
Gaines got the call late Sunday night, Feb. 27, he said. The Nets had a home game against Phoenix the next night, and were leaving right after the game. Time was of the essence. Orien Greene, who had been with the team for an earlier stint, wasn’t near enough to get to New Jersey in time, so the Nets called Gaines, who three weeks earlier had been released by Toronto.
Gaines has some skills — he’s played well enough for the Nets to extend his deal though next season. But luck matters in life. And in the NBA.