NBA: Gary Neal and His Bumpy Road To the NBA

Keff Ciardello@@bobcatkeffCorrespondent IFebruary 5, 2011

To say Gary Neal overcame enormous odds to become a significant part to the San Antonio Spurs bench rotation, earning a spot on the All-Star Weekend rookie team, would be close to an understatement.

After going undrafted in the 2007 draft, Neal went overseas to play for Turkey and then for FC Barcelona in 2008. Later in 2008, he signed with an Italian team where he played the entire 2008-09. Neal then left to return to Spain for the 2009-10 season before finally wowing the Spurs in Summer League 2010.

He signed a three-year deal with the Spurs in June of 2010.

This may seem like all the international play and being rejected by the NBA for so many years (he's a 26-year-old rookie) would be his hardest test, but his toughest obstacle came after an April of 2003 incident.

Neal, at the time a sophomore at La Salle University, and one of his teammates were involved in an incident where a female La Salle basketball player claimed she was sexually assaulted by them. Neal, along with his teammate, was dismissed from the La Salle basketball team.

It wasn't until 2005 when Neal was finally acquitted. The courts saying the victim was too drunk to give an accurate account of the incident.

Neal resurfaced his career at Townsend after leaving La Salle. Now, he's a staple on the Spurs bench as one of their key three-point threats. He will join fellow Spur DeJuan Blair at the Rookie-Sophomore Game, however, on separate teams.

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