All my life I've loved those crazy, hard, committed players, men who gave their everything and even what they did not have.
I love Larry Bird, I love Kevin Garnett, and I love Allen Iverson. They gave their heart in all their games.
Now I find myself loving what I hate: a wunderkind, a brat, and an overhyped player.
The first time I saw him was in Adam Yauch's documentary's trailer. I saw Lance Stephenson barreling his way to the hoop on the right side, he did a jump hop past, and through his man, and completed an easy layup. I was smitten. I, for the first time, was in deep smit over a brat.
The courtship proceeded, and I watched highlight videos, seeing a slow, selfish guard, who peaked early and bullied his way through the competition. But I saw potential, I saw a lethal crossover, a dangerous pull-up jump shot, a dangerous handle, and fantastic vision. I saw the potential love child of Ron Artest and Joe Johnson, with a hard crossover.
I willed him to do well in college, knowing that it would be bad, in the short term, that all the hot air his ego would generate could fuel a mid-to-large economy. Luckily for me, he had teething troubles. "Born Ready" was premature, and as a player, and a person, he had hope yet.
Lance was determined though. He wanted to make the NBA, he needed the money, and he wanted to play. He went for the draft. He probably won't go high and will be lucky to make the first round.
Good luck to you, Lance Stephenson. We all know college is a fraud and that the NCAA is using you, but we hoped you would take more time to mature. You got attitude though, and to be the best you have got to keep that attitude, that desire to destroy every other player. You need to be Allen Iverson, you need to be Larry Bird, you need to be Kevin Garnett, because you have the potential.
To paraphrase every Adam Sandler movie made, "You can do it!" I, for one, hope you can.