Drafted #32 general by the Seattle SuperSonics out of highschool in 1998 (lockout yr), Rashard Lewis needed to grind it out for an NBA contract, and he did simply that.
(through Orlando Magic):
Ryan Anderson: “Man, I can’t think about the expertise of leaping from highschool straight into the NBA. I wished to the touch into what that have is like. I had two years in faculty, however I had a crew round me, even with the selections of the place to go to varsity, when to leap into the NBA, to get an agent. There’s a whole lot of choices that go into that. How was that call for you and did you could have a crew round you to assist with that?”
Lewis: “Effectively again then, you couldn’t have an agent. There have been sure guidelines you needed to comply with by; or I wouldn’t be capable of go to varsity. And my complete factor once I was a senior enjoying in highschool, I heard the rumors that I had an opportunity to enter the draft; however you didn’t consider it as a result of it was only a rumor. Till I had one highschool sport enjoying in opposition to our rivals. Don Nelson, who was teaching for the Dallas Mavericks, was standing proper underneath the basket. I didn’t actually know him on the time. We had been warming up, large tall man, I didn’t know him. I’m going to the bench earlier than we get to play and so they’re like, ‘Don Nelson is right here.’ I’m like ‘Who’s Don Nelson?’ They’re like, ‘The coach for the Mavericks. Look, he’s underneath the basket.’ So I’m wanting underneath the basket, large tall man simply standing there. In order that’s once I discovered that the rumor was true that I could have an opportunity to leap to the NBA. However it was undoubtedly a tricky transition. I believed I’d get picked within the lottery, ended up falling to the second spherical, which you’re not assured a contract; it’s a must to make the crew. Again then while you declare your title for the draft; there’s no going again to varsity. So it’s both make the crew or go abroad and play. And as a highschool child, I’ve by no means been in a foreign country. So it was a really powerful transition for me. We had a lockout that yr. The season locks out proper after the draft and I’m going within the second spherical, so I’m nervous.
“I’m going residence and simply work out and practice my tail off with a whole lot of Rockets, native NBA gamers. And I feel that actually helped me, helped my sport, and my confidence degree as a result of the draft truthfully broke me down. If we had a coaching camp after that; I don’t know if I’d have made the crew. I needed to kinda rebuild myself up throughout that lockout, work my tail off. As soon as the lockout was over with, went right down to Seattle every week earlier than the draft began, was enjoying pickup basketball. I went on the market, the primary day I performed a pickup sport, simply being very athletic, hustling, doing the little issues. Earlier than camp began that following week, I’m going again to play pickup the subsequent day, the final supervisor calls me upstairs and offers me a two-year. I really feel I’m bringing again the recollections, however he provides a two-year deal for the minimal. It introduced tears to my eyes as a result of I’m an 18-year-old child that desires to be drafted into the NBA, went within the second spherical, now I’ve to make the crew, I can’t return to varsity. So I didn’t know the place my life was headed. Once they gave me that two-year deal, I referred to as my mother, let her know I signed a deal, and I felt like that is the place I labored myself off for this two-year deal to make myself stick within the league. I used to be glad to get that two-year deal as a result of I couldn’t go to varsity and I didn’t know the place I used to be headed. So I used to be simply excited, placing that work in actually does repay sooner or later. I commend you guys to proceed to maintain placing within the work.”
Ryan Anderson: “So loopy to me to think about a 17-year-old having to cope with all these pressures and getting cash like that and calling your mother like, ‘Yeah, I can just about present for myself. I feel I’m OK now.”
Lewis: “However that first telephone name to mother, I used to be crying as a result of I’m drafted within the second spherical popping out of highschool, I didn’t know what was going to occur. After which when he gave me that assured deal, I didn’t wish to go to coaching camp attempting to make the crew, you’re going in opposition to grown males as an adolescent. So I didn’t know what that have was going to be like for me, however I used to be fortunate that they gave me a two-year deal for the minimal, and I labored off that. So I used to be blessed.”
Ryan Anderson: “That’s unbelievable.”