The tragic story of Bryce Dejean-Jones

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Bryce Dejean-Jones, who’d just finished his rookie year with the Pelicans, was fatally shot last year when he broke into a Dallas apartment he apparently mistook for the one he was staying in.

His story was told in haunting detail by Jeff Pearlman of Bleacher Report. An excerpt:

Bryce Dejean-Jones should never have gone to Dallas. A year later, it’s the part that still gets people.

He didn’t like to talk about her, but Dejean-Jones had what he considered to be an on-again, off-again girlfriend. Her name is Chrystal Graves. She was a native of Camden, Arkansas, whom he met while attending UNLV. Graves graduated cum laude from Southern Arkansas University in 2014, then took a job as an elementary school teacher. She was bright and pretty and energetic.

And, in the later months of 2014, she was also pregnant.

Dejean-Jones, who was busy trying to go pro, did not receive the news warmly. Though Graves declined to speak with B/R Mag, friends of Dejean-Jones say the two had a tempestuous relationship, marked by frequent arguments. “He complained about her a lot,” a former Iowa State confidant says. “It wasn’t a healthy pairing.”

Yet having been raised largely without his biological father around, Bryce committed himself to being an involved dad to their daughter, who was born May 28, 2015. That’s why he decided to fly to Dallas, where Chrystal now worked as a teacher: to be with their daughter for her first birthday.

People familiar with Bryce and Chrystal’s difficult relationship insist they discouraged the trip. Shabazz Muhammad, the Minnesota Timberwolves forward who trained under Jamerson with Dejean-Jones in the offseason, says he urged his friend to skip Dallas and take a trek with him to Las Vegas. “He worked so hard, I wanted him to come along, have fun, relax,” Muhammad recalls. “But he wasn’t changing his plans.”

Jamerson, meanwhile, hated the idea of Dejean-James going to Dallas. “He’d never been there; he didn’t know the city,” Jamerson says. “I was worried, and I told him I’d fly his girlfriend and daughter out to California for him. He didn’t want that, but I should have insisted. I really should have. It’s my greatest regret.”

I highly suggest reading Pearlman’s piece in full.