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NBA players will probably be the first to tell you that playing basketball professionally in the best league in the world is a pretty good gig. Once you’ve made it, large paycheques, comfortable flights and fine dining is your reality.
The key phrase in that sentence is “once you’ve made it.” While development leagues have come a long way since they were working towards their NBA dreams, Jeremy Lin and Danny Green of the Toronto Raptors had it pretty tough while playing D-League ball together about a decade ago.
“Everything,” said Jeremy Lin when asked what the worst part of playing one tier below the NBA was. “It was tough because… at that time it wasn’t nice like it is now.”
The long bus rides, buying your own gear and part-time jobs weren’t the toughest part, though. While trying to make it to the show, there were plenty of times when the two had their egos thrown into an incinerator.
Lin recalled one particular day where his team arrived to the gym to find out that their practice had been pushed back by 30 minutes. When they asked why, they were told that they’d have to wait because a seventh-grade volleyball team wanted to use the court for a little longer.
“I’m like, man, my pride, I had no pride left,” he said about the situation while Green had himself a good laugh. “My ego is completely gone.”
That’s just the type of pill Lin and Green had to be willing to swallow while playing for the now-defunct Reno Bighorns. Thankfully for the pair, who have both gone on to put together fruitful NBA careers, it was all worth it.
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