In Maryland We Trust
Does that sound like Steve Blake’s backup to you?
If you missed “Through the Fire,” the documentary of New York basketball star Sebastian Telfair’s final season at Abraham Lincoln High School, you missed one of the best ESPN originals in a long time. You don’t have to be a basketball fan to appreciate the Hollywood-worthy story of a poverty-stricken youth from Coney Island, playing his senior season in the shadow of LeBron James’s $90 million shoe contract. He, along with seven other 2004 high school All-Americans, decided to skip college and go directly to the NBA.
The movie depicts Telfair’s “struggle” with deciding whether he should attend Louisville, with whom he’d already signed a letter of commitment, or go straight to the NBA. As previously mentioned, the seventeen year old chooses to go pro, but at what cost?
Even just one year under Head Coach Rick Pitino would have improved Telfair’s game immensely. Not only that, but imagine him on the 2005 Louisville team that advanced to the Final Four, playing alongside Taquan Dean, Francisco Garcia, and Larry O’Bannon. We might not have been able to celebrate North Carolina Coach Roy Williams’s first NCAA Championship, but instead we would have had it gift-wrapped and delivered to Pitino. Instead, the kid from NYC spends most of his time on the bench these days, nibbling at the bits of playing time he can manage to pilfer on a struggling Portland Trail Blazers team (20-42 as of 3/14).
One thing Sebastian Telfair won’t have to nibble on, however, is food. At least, not until his 6 year, $15 million contract with Adidas runs out. So I'll ask again: Does that sound like Steve Blake’s backup to you? Yeah, me neither.
And that makes us both very, very wrong.