If you read just one thing today, click the link and read the profile of Adam Morrison by Sam Amick at Sports Illustrated.
Morrison has been an NBA punch line for years now, the guy who couldn’t live up to the hype in Charlotte, who won two rings with the Lakers while wearing a suit, the guy cut from the Wizards. Adam Morrison became synonymous with bust for a lot of NBA fans.
But as always, the personal story is a lot more complex. It’s more compelling. Morrison opens up to Amick about the dark days without confidence, about walking away from the game and living on his ranch for a year just to escape. He talks about slowly rediscovering his love of the game.
He has started to turn it around playing in Serbia, and what those around him talk to Amick about is that the swagger that is back in Morrison’s game. It’s not just the 17 points per game, it’s the fire that has returned. Last month we showed you the video of Morrison getting ejected from a game — that made the people around him smile. That is the Morrison they know.
Morrison said his time in Serbia has been redemptive.
“It was such an adrenaline rush and an emotional high to be out there on the court again,” Morrison said. “Everybody who has done something in their life that they’ve had a passion for or done for a long time, and then all of a sudden it’s not there anymore, and then it comes back to you in such a rush [can relate].’
“I would’ve run through a brick wall that night for anything. Goose bumps. Sweating. That whole day, I’ve never been so focused. It was a friendly game, and I was thinking, ‘All right, I’m going nuts tonight. I don’t care what happens. I was ready to fight, to do anything, just to play.”
Do yourself a favor, click the link and read the whole story. You might even start rooting for Morrison.
“…we should take it more seriously, because you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. In this movie, everything seemed nice with our team and our relationship and our country and in one second, everything went upside down. It was a lot of manipulations, a lot of politics. You can definitely learn from the experience that I had.”
—Vlade Divac, in an interview with ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Dave McMenamin.
Vlade Divac’s life in basketball — on and off the court — is a fascinating one. And maybe nobody has had the realities of politics, war and death cross the imaginary lines we set up between the “real world” and the escape that is basketball quite like Divac.
It is all chronicled in an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary that debuts tonight, Once Brothers. (Watch the trailer here.)
The movie focuses on the relationship between Divac and Drazen Petrovic, two good friends who had their relationship torn apart by the civil war, genocide and more that tore apart the country of Yugoslavia. It speaks to relationships never repaired, in this case because Petrovic died in a car crash at the age of 28.
It bothers me so much after all these years that I never had the opportunity to sit with him and go through our problems that we had. Before everything happened, we were roommates on the [Yugoslavian] national team. We had the same goals and we supported each other for the first couple years of the NBA. Basically, we opened the door for all those internationals because we had some trust as European players. Before, it was very tough to break through.
That relationship was ripped apart by the war that eventually divided Yugoslavia. Petrovic was Croatian, Divac Serbian. That left them on the opposite sides of ugly feelings and actions that were not of their creation, but a gulf they could not bridge. That may have changed eventually, had Petrovic’s life not been cut short on a German highway.
War, what is it good for?
Oklahoma City had more than just Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in Turkey for the World Championships, there was also Nenad Krstic from Serbia.
It was Serbia that sent Spain packing, lost in dramatic fashion to Turkey in the semi-finals and finished fourth after losing the bronze medal game to Lithuania.
In that final game, Krstic fractured the index finger on his shooting hand, and Monday he had surgery to repair it, according to a tweet from Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman. He will miss training camp but should be ready to go for the regular season.
Not ideal, but Krstic is not a guy the Thunder count on to score a lot. If he can rebound, defend and play some solid minutes off the bench, all will be good.