Gerald Henderson hasn’t played in an NBA game since April of 2017, injuries sidelining the previously reliable two guard.
For a guy who grew up in basketball — his father was a 13-year NBA veteran and three-time champion with the Bad Boy Pistons — walking away from the sport was not easy. He did not want to give up, but his body betrayed him.
The big thing is my injuries. I’ve had six surgeries since 2008. Wrist surgery. Hip surgeries. Achilles surgery. They piled up, among other injuries that haven’t needed surgery. They just kind of accumulated and made it very difficult to play and to play healthy, to put everything into actual basketball.
It became more just making sure that I could get out there on the court, as opposed to really working on my game, spending time on my game and developing myself. I’ve spent years working on my body—which, as an athlete, you have to do. It became less about maintenance. Instead, the game became rehab and physical therapy.
For a lot of players, figuring out what’s next is hard. Their job has been basketball, it’s all they’ve known since middle school. It provided a social life, it provided a schedule, it provided a living, and it provided an identity. Without that some players struggle to figure out who they are.
Henderson is not one of those guys.
He’s busy being a dad. Playing golf. Helping charities. He knows there will be more.
It’s worth checking out his entire story. Hearing a player open up about not being able to do what he loves anymore, about finding a new path, is fascinating.