SPURS STORIES: An In-Depth Look at Our Team

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SPURS STORIES: An In-Depth Look at Our Team 

Post#1 » by GREY 1769 » Fri May 4, 2018 8:58 pm

I've just started finding some interesting reads about several members of our team, about their roots, what makes them tick, how they got here. It makes you appreciate the journey and the people we support.

First, here are a couple of in-depth articles about Pop, some info about his background and what shaped him to become the mellow, media-loving, happiness-pursuing coach we know and love.

Pop, please come back! We need you, and the team and its environment is a strong source of support.

Relationship building, hard work helped Popovich rise from humble start

Valuable lessons
Popovich's values were shaped by the totality of his life experiences as a young player in basketball-mad Indiana; as a college player who had to prove himself to Spear at the U.S. Air Force Academy and his assistant, Hank Egan; on Armed Forces All-Star teams in international competitions in the 1970s; and then as a young coach, first at his alma mater and from 1979-88 at the most unlikely of proving grounds for the NBA: Pomona-Pitzer, where he accepted a job as head coach after leaving active duty as a captain in the Air Force.


“He's bright as hell and he works as hard as can be,” Brown said. “He's got a unique ability to be on guys but make them understand that he loves and cares about them, which he does.

“Doug Moe, Coach Smith, Coach (Frank) McGuire — the great coaches — can be demanding and get in your face but at the end of the day the players know you care and love them and they'll do just about anything for them. Not everybody has that ability, but Pop clearly did.

“He worked at his job and constantly wanted to learn and get better and that's rare, especially among elite coaches.”


Virtue of perseverance
The Popovich way, then and now: Play hard. Value relationships. Be loyal. Give 100 percent in everything you do. And compete ... above all, compete....

“Popo loves to compete and that's what I learned from him: competition and that's what life is,” Duque said. “That's what basketball brought to me, that you give 100 percent in everything that we do and we take care of each other in everything we do. We take care of relationships no matter where people are in the pecking order. From the custodians to the guys that clean the gym floor to the secretaries, we treat everybody the same.

“To him, everybody was equal.”

https://www.expressnews.com/sports/spurs/article/Hard-work-loyalty-5835278.php#photo-7025466


Popovich's steel roots built solid foundation for NBA success

Of sports and steel
A mill job was considered a plum gig. The money was good and a pension guaranteed.... “He didn't want that for himself,” said Max Hutchinson, who taught Popovich math for two years at Merrillville High. “He wanted to go to school.” By accepting a commission to the Air Force Academy upon graduation in 1966, Popovich became one of the first seniors in Merrillville history to attend a military academy.

But there was something else beckoning him, too. If there was anything that bound denizens of northwest Indiana as tightly than steel, it was sports. It wasn't long before basketball found its way into Popovich's blood. “He had what we called 'the basketball jones,'” said Arlie Pierce, Popovich's best friend since junior high.


Making the cut
In 1963, Metcalf cut Popovich from the basketball team. The kid who once dreamed of playing for the great Washington High School Senators in East Chicago couldn't hack it as a Merrillville Pirate. Instead of backing down, Popovich bucked up. As Pierce recalls it, Popovich collared him the next day, and the two marched to the outdoor courts at 39th and Broadway in neighboring Gary for pick-up games. “That's where he learned to be tough,” Pierce said....

By the time Popovich returned to try out for Metcalf as a junior, the coach still called him Craig. But he also called Popovich the Pirates' starting center.It was, perhaps, Popovich's first lesson in pounding the rock. “The thing I learned quickly about Gregg,” Vermillion said, “is you don't slow him down.”


He also was an honor student, admired by teachers and fellow classmates alike.... And Spurs players would do well to envision this image the next time they are confronted with a red-faced Popovich going ballistic in a timeout huddle: according to those who knew him, Popovich was a fan of Motown music, and loved to dance.

Still, even as a teenager Popovich's thoughts seldom strayed far from basketball. While his friends certainly liked the game, his was a single-minded obsession. Classmates remember Popovich wearing ankle weights in the halls of Merrillville High, in attempts to increasing leg strength. When the school bell rang at the end of the day, Popovich scurried off to find a game. “He had an unusual drive that most kids don't have,” Vermillion said.


Though Popovich has gone on to become a well-traveled citizen of the world, as at home in Indianapolis as Istanbul, he remains at heart a working-class kid from Merrillville. “People forget where they come from sometimes,” said Janis Qualizza, the athletic director at Merrillville High. “He's not one of those guys.” In 2005, a few months after leading the Spurs to their third title, Popovich returned to the gym at Merrillville when the school decided to retire his No. 21 jersey. The Pirates were facing rival Crown Point that night. The place was packed.... Popovich stayed for the entire game, then lingered for an hour to sign autographs and shake hands.... After the jersey retirement ceremony, Beckham says a still-grinning Popovich thanked her then added: “I can't believe you retired my jersey. I sucked.”

https://www.expressnews.com/sports/spurs/article/Popovich-s-steel-roots-built-solid-foundation-for-5848359.php#photo-7053134
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Re: SPURS STORIES: An In-Depth Look at Our Team 

Post#2 » by GREY 1769 » Fri May 4, 2018 10:19 pm

Here is a wonderful, insightful, and moving SI piece about Patty and his heritage, its influence in his life, and how he's using his experiences to positively influence others. It's a powerful read.

Story of Patty Mills: Spur, Aussie, Bala

...last June 3, as the Spurs gathered in the video room at their practice facility, an entirely different item topped coach Gregg Popovich’s agenda.

“Anybody know what today is?” Popovich asked.

Patty Mills knew, but the Australian point guard couldn’t bring himself to speak—not after the portrait of a black man in his 40s, with a beard and freckles, flashed up on the screen. The intimacy of the photograph, Mills’s familiarity with the man and his story, and the unexpectedness of what was unfolding before him combined to “make my hair stand on end,” Mills says. “It wasn’t just any practice or meeting. It was to prepare for the NBA Finals and the Miami Heat. We’re all geared up, and that’s the first thing he says.”

It was left to a fellow Aussie, center Aron Baynes, to answer, “It’s Mabo Day.” And with that, Popovich launched into the story of Australia’s Martin Luther King Jr....


On a team with more international players than domestic ones, Mills’s background is easily the most exotic, for he carries the blood of both of Australia’s indigenous peoples. His father, Benny Mills, grew up in the Torres Strait, where for centuries people of Melanesian descent, who made a living fishing, gardening and diving for pearl shell, intermixed with the Japanese, Filipinos, Indonesians, Malays and South Sea Islanders who plied the region’s trade routes. Patty’s mother, Yvonne, is the product of a liaison between a white man and an Aboriginal woman. She belongs to Australia’s so-called Stolen Generations: tens of thousands of mixed-race children, known pejoratively as “half-castes,” who were taken from their mothers and placed in group homes and missions from the late 1800s to the 1970s in a social engineering project sanctioned by both the Australian government and various churches....

As pep talks go, Popovich’s Mabo Day remarks were a tour de force. The coach often devotes a portion of team meetings to the culture or history of some member of the NBA’s most nationally diverse outfit. “Nine of our 15 are from elsewhere, and I’m always looking for ways to make them part of the story,” Popovich says. And while he is reluctant to draw a straight line from the Spurs’ recognition of Mabo Day to the star turn Mills would take in those Finals, he believes that knowing one another’s stories off the court binds the Spurs on the court. “It builds camaraderie and helps them grow as people, and all that carries over,” Popovich says. “They feel connected and engaged and do better work.”


“You represent your family, mum and dad, your school and your culture,” he told an auditorium of boys in blue blazers last September during a visit to Marist, the Canberra day school he attended for five years. “Now that I get a chance on the big stage, it’s even more important to remember where I came from.”

...Patty’s a bridge builder. And as an NBA star, he’s got the cool factor. Crazy as it sounds, there aren’t many people who are proud to be indigenous. And Patty, he’s putting it on the world stage. He knows the impact of what he’s doing, though I don’t think he really understood it until he came back for the Trophy Tour....

In Green Hill Cemetery he put Lazza between his grandparents’ tombstones. And he found the site of a beloved family photograph in which the 10-year-old Patty shoots at that basketball goal his grandfather put up. There, at the spot of that long-since removed hoop, he posed the Larry O’Brien Trophy for one last snapshot, an image to connect his past with his present.”

https://www.si.com/nba/2015/03/25/patty-mills-australia-san-antonio-spurs-bala-gregg-popovich

The article mentions a documentary about Patty entitled "For My People". Here is some background info about it:

When you talk about giving hope to kids, this is a tremendous example, he’s an indigenous kid from Canberra who worked his butt off and made it”

Patty Mills is an Indigenous Australian, NBA basketball player and Olympian, currently a guard for the San Antonio Spurs. “For My People” documents Patty’s professional and private life from traditional dancing on a tiny island in the Torres Strait to playing against the best basketball players in the world.

His journey into the NBA is extremely unique & will inspire not only basketball fans around the globe but anybody who has a dream.

http://formypeople.com.au/#about

Trailer:


Check out the documentary's website for more details: http://formypeople.com.au/#intro
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Re: SPURS STORIES: An In-Depth Look at Our Team 

Post#3 » by GREY 1769 » Fri May 4, 2018 11:56 pm

Humble, hard working, persevering, belonging: a look into Danny and how he finally found a place to call home.

The making of Danny Green

Green was a prolific sixth man in 2008 and a starter in 2009, the heart and soul of arguably the most prolific championship squad in UNC’s history. He’s been the most successful NBA player of the bunch, with nine seasons and a championship ring to his name. Only two other Tar Heels have ever won an NCAA and NBA title: Michael Jordan and James Worthy.

Green’s ascension was as taxing as it was surprising, even if his demeanor belies his true emotion. And as the 6-foot-6 shooting guard walked side by side with Williams, the 67-year-old coach dragging a rolling bag with another on top, the irony coaxed a smile from Green.


“He and his dad were identical,” says Darren Duncan, a childhood friend. “They were the same type of guy.”
It was always about the challenge for Green, then the oldest of three boys. His father pitted him against competition two years older than he was, and he blocked their shots all the same, relying on impeccable timing when his athleticism couldn’t match. When his son was a freshman in high school, Green Sr. brought him into his adult men’s league to teach him a new level of physicality. He never complained.

“He did everything you’d ask him to do,” Green Sr. said.

As a ninth grader, Green was a reserve when his Panthers took on LeBron James, Sebastian Telfair and the Brooklyn Bridge AAU team in the prestigious iS8 championship in Queens. Just over two years later, in the ABCD Camp All-Star game, Green was senior class co-MVP with Monta Ellis, who went straight from high school to the NBA a year later.
“(Long Islanders) don’t get a lot of respect from the city guys,” Green said after that game in 2004. “We have to do a lot to get some respect.”

He earned it from Roy Williams, who was sitting in the stands in his first full offseason as the Tar Heels’ coach. Later that year, he extended an offer to Green, then a senior at St. Mary’s. It was an easy decision for Green: his dad idolized Carolina, and so did he. Chapel Hill was the ultimate goal from the beginning, one made clearer when the Tar Heels won a championship later that season.


First, it was Hansbrough. Then, it was Lawson. Then Ellington. Then, it was disappointment.

Green expected to go late in the first round or early in the second round of the 2009 NBA Draft. Experts had him falling. He watched his teammates’ names flash across the screen before a litany of guys he’d played, and bested, in college. After four years at North Carolina, he’d have to earn respect yet again.... Finally, at pick No. 48, the Cleveland Cavaliers took a chance.... In October 2010, a week before the regular season, the Cavaliers cut Green. A month later, after two workouts, he signed with the Spurs. Six days later, they cut him, too....

His agent insisted his best option was to play overseas. Charles said the same. But Green was determined to stay stateside. He knew he belonged in the NBA — he just didn’t know how. He signed with the Reno Bighorns of the developmental league in January 2011 and put on a clinic, averaging 20.1 points and 7.5 points in 16 games. Control what he can control, do what he does best.

He had learned it all before: success, adversity, overcoming the odds. Now, he had to actually believe it for himself.

Everyone has a different story of what happened next: Green says he called Spurs coach Gregg Popovich in March and begged for another chance via voicemail. Williams says Popovich, a close friend of his, called him with a laundry list of things he wanted to see before giving Green another chance. Popovich says both coaches called Green with a dose of reality.


He’s never one to turn down an autograph or a photo opportunity. He wants to teach this game he loves to the kids who crave it, in the way his father taught him decades ago. His own story is reflected in the campers, a mirror to Green’s days as an eager kid in North Babylon.

This is what it’s all for. This is how Danny Green wants to be remembered.

“I think he identifies himself with the kids,” Spann said. “Danny wants to be that guy that he once looked up to.”

http://mediahub.unc.edu/danny-green-tough-minded-new-york-kid-nba-star/
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Re: SPURS STORIES: An In-Depth Look at Our Team 

Post#4 » by BombsquadSammy » Sun May 13, 2018 3:04 pm

These are excellent pieces to read and ruminate on.
Posted on 24 May 2019:
(Screen-name redacted) wrote:It's been clear to me that Spurs fans are out to lunch on their characterizations of "Uncle Dennis". All indications (here) in Toronto are that he's a good guy.
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Re: SPURS STORIES: An In-Depth Look at Our Team 

Post#5 » by GREY 1769 » Tue Jun 5, 2018 4:24 am

Fresh off being named to his first NBA All-Defense Second Team, Dejounte Murray, the youngest player ever to make an All-Defense Team, is just beginning to show what kind of a player he can be. His accelerated rise may be a surprise for some, but for Dejounte, he's right on track in his quest for greatness.

Dejounte Murray Won’t Settle For Anything But Greatness

Consider the task.

Dejounte Murray is 21-years-old and has been summoned to replace a future Hall of Famer in Tony Parker as the starting point guard for the San Antonio Spurs. Parker held the job when healthy from November 6, 2001 until January 21, 2018....

The burden now falls on players like Murray to ensure the torch remains lit as it is passed – To prolong the success of one of the most dominant empires in not just basketball, but all of sports history.

Yes, the task is daunting, especially for someone who graduated high school only a few years ago. But Murray isn’t afraid of it.

And Spurs fans worried about the future can find comfort in this: Dejounte Murray is all in.


Murray’s intense focus and commitment to the game is something his teammates have observed.

“He’s always super locked in, always in the gym, doing what he has to do,” forward Kyle Anderson says. “He’s so levelheaded, you don’t see that often.”

“He’s doing everything he can to achieve the highest level possible for him,” sharpshooter Davis Bertans adds.

Coming from the perilous south side of Seattle, Washington, Murray is extra wary not to let anything stand in the way of his ambitions. That means no distractions. No showing up late. No partying. And if you’re as obsessive as Murray, few other hobbies.

“I really just watch basketball, sleep basketball, wake up and go do basketball,” he tells SLAM.


Following in the footsteps of NBAers like Jamal Crawford, Doug Christie, and Nate Robinson, Murray went on to attend Rainier Beach High School, situated in an area permeated by violence and negative influences. Basketball was a refuge. The impressive guard won three state championships before earning a scholarship to the University of Washington – an accomplishment that, given his surroundings, Murray refers to as “making it out.”...

Projected as a lottery pick in several mocks, he fell to the Spurs at No. 29, much to the joy of general manager R.C. Buford and the rest of the San Antonio front office. Landing with a successful, well-regarded organization renowned for its winning culture and player development was also an advantage.

“I talked to coach [Popovich] that day and the biggest thing he told me was, You didn’t fall in this draft, somebody fell in love with you, and you fell in love with us,” Murray recalls.

Yet the real reason Dejounte didn’t dwell on draft night is because it wasn’t worth the energy. It would have served as a distraction on the path towards a greater goal – one relayed to him by none other than LeBron James as Murray made the transition to the NBA.

Don’t settle for anything but greatness,” James told him.


But reaching greatness for Murray is about more than that. It’s about more than just having a solid work ethic and picking the brains of legends like Parker, Ginobili, and James. It also means playing with no fear and feeling no pressure, even if the position he finds himself in more than warrants those responses....

“He’s fearless,” Pop told reporters after Murray put up 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 steals in a win over LeBron’s Cavaliers back in January. “He’s not impressed. He’s learning how to play the game and doing a fine job.”

When you combine all of those factors, you’re left struggling to pinpoint just how high the ceiling is for Parker’s successor....

“I haven’t done anything,” he assures SLAM. “I got a long way to go to where I want to be when it’s all said and done.”

http://www.slamonline.com/the-magazine/dejounte-murray-wont-settle-for-anything-but-greatness/
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Re: SPURS STORIES: An In-Depth Look at Our Team 

Post#6 » by GREY 1769 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 5:05 am

Behind the banners and spotlight is the unassuming visionary who has been putting together the right pieces that fit the right way. Here’s a closer look at R.C. Buford, Yin to Pop’s Yang, and the integral role he plays in helping to realize the Spurs’ vision, cohesion, and culture.

A portrait of R.C. Buford
Buford and his staff eliminate all of the guesswork early. They look at players and how they respond to their coaches. How they respond to their teammates. What they do after losses. [Pop] does not want to deal with head cases and problem children.
-David Aldridge

The way Buford works -- always behind the scenes and content with the underling role, while Pop is the one labeled the genius and the nerve center of the organization -- is an anachronism in a sport where it's increasingly becoming a GM's league, with coaches hired specifically to execute the general managers' vision based on five-man player combinations, shot charts and various other analytic minutiae. It's clear that Buford works for the coach rather than the other way around, yet he's never had issue with this arrangement or sought the opportunity to build his own program elsewhere, to consolidate the considerable network of contacts he's developed over the years and stake out with another team, working for an owner eager to give him whatever he wants.

Few know or understand the extent of Buford's expertise. He understands the game as well as a coach does because he used to be one, as an assistant for Larry Brown at Kansas for a number of years in the 80's, including the championship-winning team in 1988. He followed Brown to San Antonio and was on the bench for four more years there before becoming Brown's lead assistant with the Clippers in 1992-93. (Buford wasn't quite the player Popovich was at Air Force but he was good enough to ride the pine at Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.)

Buford simply doesn't care about recognition. In a team of unassuming grinders who are over themselves, he's the humblest of all, even though it can be argued that he's been better than anyone in the league over the past two decades. Besides Duncan, Buford is responsible for finding every Spur, from every little corner of the world.

https://www.poundingtherock.com/2014/8/14/5995487/a-portrait-of-r-c-buford


The Buford Way: Spurs' architect stays in shadows
R.C. Buford knew the first time he saw Tony Parker play that he was going to be a star. Convincing Gregg Popovich was another matter. Popovich, head coach of the San Antonio Spurs and the team's general manager at the time, was not impressed after watching the French teenager get manhandled in a private workout in 2001, calling him "just another little skinny guy." Buford, serving as Popovich's assistant general manager, believed in Parker and wouldn't take no for an answer. He had a second-year intern, Sam Presti, make a tape of Parker.

"Once Pop watched it and saw Tony could do all of the things he thought he couldn't do, it opened his eyes a bit," Buford says. "And the second time Tony came through, five minutes into the workout, Pop grabbed everybody to the side and said, 'This guy will start for us 10 games into his rookie year.' "

As a result of Buford's persistence, the Spurs selected Parker with the 28th and last first-round pick in the 2001 draft. Parker was starting by the fifth game....

"I trust him implicitly," Spurs owner Peter Holt said of Buford. "He is always looking at the big picture and long term. So we never get ourselves in too awkward a position in terms of contracts or dollars so that we have flexibility, which is so hard to do these days. We have the main three (Tim Duncan, Parker and Ginobili), but we've always managed to bring the right players in around them."

Buford not only finds them and gets them to San Antonio, he also takes a personal interest.
"He doesn't make any promises that he doesn't keep," Parker said. "You know from the very beginning what is expected of you, what you have to do to play here, and they do everything they can to help you."

A basketball education
Buford, 47, had a limited collegiate career at Texas A&M and Oklahoma State, and readily admits: "I was terrible." But coaching, scouting and administration was another thing. He could have followed his father, a successful businessman in Wichita. He took the long road instead.

"He kind of created this career for himself, and he did so because he was unyielding," said Doran Gentry, a high-school classmate of Buford. "He was true to his passion, true to his heart — that's been the key to his success...."

"We built this thing together," Buford said. "My role in the whole deal is I am very process oriented. I function better if it is a step-by-step process. It works because we've had good players. The system has helped us not screw it up."

"We know what we are looking for (hard-working, high-character, team-oriented, mentally tough, coachable and unselfish players), and the important component of it is knowing what works and what doesn't work — and that qualifies your risk," Buford said. "There are NBA players who aren't necessarily Spurs, and there are Spurs who may not fit someplace else.

"(Buford's) got a unique eye for talent because he has a great imagination," Presti said. "He can look at guys and ask the right questions and be creative as to where and how they will fit into things down the road. He envisions the developmental paths they should take that would best benefit them and the team. He just takes a broader perspective on this whole thing than most people in similar positions...."

"He's very intelligent and can look at things from outside the box, and ... do it without an ego," Ferry said. "He gives all of those who work with him the opportunity to do things and make contributions — and he listens to you."

Added Popovich: "A lot of guys can't judge competitiveness, but R.C. can. He knows who is going to be able to take a hit and who is going to stick their nose in there, who can be criticized and who can't, and who can handle adversity and those kinds of things...."

"He's too self-deprecating," the owner said. "What's interesting is he looks at things differently than Pop and I do. In other words, we'll be talking about something one way and he always comes from a different angle, and then we all end up where we should be."

https://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/spurs/2007-05-21-cover-buford_N.htm
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Re: SPURS STORIES: An In-Depth Look at Our Team 

Post#7 » by GREY 1769 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:34 am

With most of the Spurs covered so far, we know their successes, and the articles have provided insights into the work and experiences that brought them here. With rookies like Lonnie, we’re witnessing their development from the draft through to the hope of what’s to come.

Lonnie’s been open about the challenges and hardships of growing up in Reading, Pennsylvania. But familiar facts tend to fade in the background. Jeff McDonald (who also wrote the second, expansive article about Pop above) traveled to Lonnie’s home town to gather new details in this excellent in-depth look at what he went through and how he rose above it, bringing to the forefront what so many young men overcome just to get a chance to realize their dream.

‘Just a kid from Reading’
Lonnie Walker IV was in sixth grade the first time he saw a man shot in the head....

“You just start running,” he recalled. “You have to. You don’t want to be seen as a witness or something. Your mind just starts going through all these scenarios.”

It says something about the chaos engulfing Walker’s childhood that he was forced to put that lesson into action more than once.... Walker saw violence. He saw drugs. He saw crime and gang activity. Often, on the way to school each morning.... Along the way, as he navigated pitfalls that snagged so many of his peers and predecessors, Walker has sought to reclaim what it means to be “just a kid from Reading.”

Survival of the fittest
...People in Reading speak of Walker with a zeal that extends beyond basketball and belies his callow age. To them, Walker is nothing short of Moses with a jump shot, a veritable apostle who showed an entire city a path out of darkness.... By the time Walker was born Dec. 14, 1998 — at Reading Hospital, son of Tamica Wall and Lonnie Walker III — his hometown had become a forgotten and forlorn place.... For Walker, being “just a kid from Reading” meant a life marked by poverty, hunger and instability.

As a middle schooler, it wasn’t difficult for Walker to pick out clothes each morning. He had one pair of pants, and could choose between either the blue shirt or the red one. At school, Walker would often scan the floor of the cafeteria for loose change. A couple of stray quarters constituted quite a score — it meant he could buy a snack for the way home.

Walker said he witnessed at least three shootings before he entered high school. He was still in elementary school the day his older brother burst into the house at 2 a.m., bleeding from a gunshot wound to the stomach.

“There were a lot of people who just didn’t know what to do,” Walker said. “They didn’t have a high school diploma. There were no jobs. So they’d go back to what they’d seen their entire life, and that’s gangs and drugs. As much as we want to make them seem like the bad guy, when you’re in that situation, you get very desperate. You do what you have to do to survive.”

A star is born
...In high school, Walker’s days were as regimented as an infantryman’s. After school let out each afternoon, Walker’s father — who worked as a cook and took other odd jobs around Reading — demanded his son read for an hour, then write for an hour. After that, Walker would hit nearby basketball courts to work out with his dad. Only when all that was accomplished was Walker allowed to enjoy some free time — at least until the streetlights came on at 7 p.m. His father was determined that he wasn’t going to be like his two older brothers, who were both in and out of gangs....

Heart of the city
...Walker's rise meant a wish renewed in Reading.

“Our basketball program is the heart of the city,” Perez said. “It’s always been that way. That’s the one place people are going to go to get the hope....”

As the Red Knights started their run to the 2017 state championship, their leader became a matinee idol in Berks County....

“He was getting stuff from China and all over,” Lacey said. “But he just wanted to go to class and be normal. He had this calmness, this inner peace all the time.”

The return of hope
When Mumin arrived in Reading as superintendent in 2014, many of his peers wondered if he had lost his mind. At the time, the district was underperforming to such a degree the state had threatened to take over operations. The first task for Mumin and his staff was to break what he viewed as a defeatist mentality.... Mumin does not deny that what he calls “the Lonnie Walker effect” has made his job easier as Reading’s superintendent.

“I can get into any room in the county with a Lonnie Walker story,” he said. “And probably leave with a promise of support for our kids....”

Walker, too, has noticed a shift in attitudes back home. One of his proudest moments came when he returned to Reading in July to donate 300 pairs of Adidas shoes to local grade-schoolers. Afterward, one of the mothers approached Walker and told him her son had decided to become an astronaut. Dreams, at last, have returned to Reading....

A blessing and a curse
...Looking back, Walker calls growing up in Reading “both a blessing and a curse....” A few months after the state championship, as Walker prepared to leave Reading for college at Miami, he wrote a heartfelt farewell letter to his hometown. The text of the “Letter from Lonnie” has been reprinted on posters that hang in every elementary school in Reading.

“Are you going to spend your time wasting your potential?” Walker wrote. “Or are you going to work hard every day to achieve your dreams? The choice is yours. Be true to yourself because anything is possible.

“Look at me. I’m just a kid from Reading.”

https://www.expressnews.com/spurs-nation/article/Just-a-kid-from-Reading-13250233.php#photo-16213275
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Re: SPURS STORIES: An In-Depth Look at Our Team 

Post#8 » by GREY 1769 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:53 pm

The Spurs have a great idea here!:
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Can't wait for the series.
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Re: SPURS STORIES: An In-Depth Look at Our Team 

Post#9 » by GREY 1769 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:04 pm

First in the Spurs series is Dejounte. There's a lot of telling quotes in both, especially about handling things the right way on and off the court. I love watching Dejounte grow and mature. Gratitude, a balance of his hard work with appreciation for the team, family:
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Also, the article above fills out some more details about Dejounte.
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Re: SPURS STORIES: An In-Depth Look at Our Team 

Post#10 » by GREY 1769 » Fri Aug 30, 2019 4:34 am

An unlikely, winding road led to Derrick's rise from an unheralded DII player to Spurs starter to Team USA member. He is making the most of his opportunities and carving a unique path with a solid work effort, great character, and a loving support group. Such a Spursy guy:
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Re: SPURS STORIES: An In-Depth Look at Our Team 

Post#11 » by GREY 1769 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:45 am

Already a legend in his hometown of Reading, PA., the rest of NBA and beyond will soon know what makes Lonnie so special. An inside look into where he's come from, how it shaped who he is today, and why it fuels who he aims to be.
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The article above fleshes out more details about Lonnie's upbringing and what helped guide and inspire him.
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Re: SPURS STORIES: An In-Depth Look at Our Team 

Post#12 » by Baphomet » Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:58 pm

What a good group of guys we have at this team. Thanks for posting these, Grey.

Lonnie Walker in particular has to be one of my favourite human beings in the league. Even if he wasn't a Spur, I'd still be rooting for an inspirational young man like that to succeed in this league, but of course we're all the luckier to have him. Ineffable amounts of determination and heart.
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Re: SPURS STORIES: An In-Depth Look at Our Team 

Post#13 » by GREY 1769 » Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:30 am

Baphomet wrote:What a good group of guys we have at this team. Thanks for posting these, Grey.

Lonnie Walker in particular has to be one of my favourite human beings in the league. Even if he wasn't a Spur, I'd still be rooting for an inspirational young man like that to succeed in this league, but of course we're all the luckier to have him. Ineffable amounts of determination and heart.

I agree about Lonnie, and thanks! It's interesting to get a look into the people beyond the players, and Dejounte and Lonnie in particular are so far the most intriguing from our up and coming young guys. With Lonnie being so introspective and mature, I sometimes forget that he's only 21. So sometimes when he makes rookie mistakes on the court I have to remind myself he's yet to play meaningful minutes in the NBA.

This is a great series by the Spurs.
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Re: SPURS STORIES: An In-Depth Look at Our Team 

Post#14 » by GREY 1769 » Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:43 am

Next in the Spurs Story series is Bryn whose outer transformation to endure the physical grind of the season and game that expanded beyond a great 3 show how far he's come and how strong his will is in getting to this point. Last year he was thrown into the fire and stepped up to be one of our most consistent players.
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Re: SPURS STORIES: An In-Depth Look at Our Team 

Post#15 » by GREY 1769 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:39 pm

A slightly different take on the Spurs Stories, with a focus on the team itself; more on this later. An important day in Spurs history:
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