Which NBA Player Had it Worst as a Child?

Jason OSenior Analyst IMay 6, 2008

It seems that not all players in the NBA had stress-free childhoods, nor did they have the option of walking into the NBA by just being a former great player's son.

I've spent a lot of time researching and writing about players who had nothing as a child, and now earn millions of dollars playing the game they love.

I'm curious to know, which player has had the toughest childhood?

There are some amazing, and often hard to find stories out there. Reading them is inspiring, it proves that no matter how bad life is, there is always hope.

Caron Butler is a player who was in prison just five years before he declared himself for the draft.

Butler was recognised as a talented player and future NBA prospect, but problems at home and at school made it look as though he would never make it. He had been arrested 15 times for minor offenses before his 15th birthday. As he got older he commited more crimes and was sentenced to one year in prison for firearms and cocaine possession. Now he has made a name for himself and is only getting better.

Allen Iverson, is known for his killer cross-overs and his ability to get to the rim. But the thing a lot of people don't know is his lack of a father figure and the poor living conditons in which he grew up in. Iverson's house would sometimes be engulfed in sewage after the sewage line blew under his house. His mother couldn't always work and the family would go without water, heating and lighting for days. When asked what he wanted to do after he left school, Iverson often referred to “the Plan”. The plan was to make it through high school, go to college and earn a place in the NBA. He stuck to the plan and become one of the best basketball players ever.

Dj Mbenga lived in the Congo and had what I think to be the most difficult road to the NBA. He was on death row as a teenager, but managed to escape and flee overseas. Most of his family was killed, but he and his mother found a home in Belgium. He had never seen a basketball until he was 19, now he is a reliable back-up center for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Its never easy to make it to the NBA, but these three in particular had a road rougher than most players out there.