67RIEFNS No. 53: James Young representing Flint


The NBA is full of talent, personality and suspense. During the offseason, It’s easy to forget how wonderful the league can be. So, I’ve assembled 67 Reasons I’m Excited For Next Season (67RIEFNS). They’ll be presented in no particular order.

For the most part, I’ve focused on reasons for excitement we can all share. But in the name of honestly listing what excites me – the name of the series is “67 Reasons I’m Excited For Next Season, after all – please allow me to indulge in one reason that might not have widespread appeal.

My hometown – Flint, Mich. – has a proud basketball tradition. Most notably, three players from the city – Mateen Cleaves, Morris Peterson and Charlie Bell, dubbed the Flintstones (along with Antonio Smith, who departed the year prior after helping the trio reach the Final Four) – led Michigan State to the 2000 NCAA championship.

Flint has also produced more than its fair share of NBA players since Justus Thigpen debuted for the Pistons in 1973. The best of the bunch is Glen Rice, who starred for the Heat and Hornets.

But Flint’s NBA fortunes have fallen on hard times. The last three years, only JaVale McGee has represented the city, which yeah.

Prior, Flint had multiple NBA players in 22 of the previous 23 seasons, with the 1999 lockout-shortened season the lone exception. The city’s NBA presence peaked in 2002 with Rice, Peterson, Bell, Cleaves and Eddie Robinson.


Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining about McGee, who was born in Flint but played high school basketball elsewhere. He has done well for the community.

I’m just excited for Celtics rookie James Young, who was also born in Flint and left before high school, to fortify Flint’s NBA presence. Young often returns to Flint, where he still has family, and has expressed his pride in being from the city.

Young probably won’t crack Boston’s rotation immediately, but that’s OK. The Flint product by way of Rochester Hills, Mich., and the University of Kentucky is making his city proud.