Antonio Russell, D’Angelo’s dad, remembers the aftermath of the Lakers conclusion to not only trade him, but unceremoniously dump on him as he exited. As Greg Logan writes Saturday, it could be boiled down to “immature, not a leader, doesn’t make his teammates greater.”
Was it criticism … or information?
“D’Angelo and I had the discussion,” stated Antonio. “I stated, ‘You’ve received to recognize this is Magic Johnson. We’re speaking of a basketball icon, a Corridor of Famer saying you may not be elite. You require to just take that as a lesson.’
“I could have stated, ‘Magic shouldn’t have stated it,’ but it was, really don’t just take it as a unfavorable. Take it as a Corridor of Famer supplying him some constructive criticism. Which is specifically how we took it.”
“Turning a unfavorable into a positive” is evidently a Russell household slogan. They also have a code for Johnson’s criticism: “The Magic Text.”
Russell, then scarcely 21, was completely ready. He wished to fly from L.A. to Brooklyn quickly immediately after the trade. Sean Marks had to convey to him to just take his time. And in spite of some setbacks listed here and there, together with knee surgical procedure, Russell is starting to be (or maybe exceeding) what the Nets predicted when they took him on.
“I seemed at it like exactly where Steve Nash took his job when he left Dallas, how Chauncey Billups received drafted to Boston and designed something in Detroit],” Russell instructed Logan. “I seemed at it as a greater possibility, not a rejection or nearly anything.
“My confidence is slowly growing every activity,” Russell stated. “With us acquiring accidents, it forces me to glimpse in the mirror and replicate on who I can be in this league. I have the confidence to be that human being, to be one of the top elite guards. I want to be in that group.”
His dad suggests the Nets furnished structure that he craved. Following his job with Monteverde Academy, Ohio Point out and AAU ball, he arrived in La-La Land at 19 a long time aged, there to rejoice Kobe Bryant’s farewell tour and whatsoever else was heading on.
A little something else, way too…
“Once he understands that you’re for him and you’re pushing him mainly because you see the possible in him and it’s for the suitable reason, he’s all in for it,” the elder Russell stated. “It’s all about the method. He understands about constructing the foundation.”
What ever reputation DLo left powering in L.A., whatsoever Magic Johnson may possibly have stated about him, he had a blank room with Kenny Atkinson. There’d be no star treatment method, just work and corrective actions when required. Following Atkinson pulled him a couple of situations, one would have assumed, dependent on his reputation, DLo would complain.
“Never. Hardly ever, in no way. Not one single time,” Atkinson instructed Logan. “He took it mainly because I believe he understood he hadn’t arrived nonetheless. Which is also obtaining into the team philosophy.”
Now, with his All-Star nod, the team’s results and his growing reputation and graphic, he’s, if not “arrived,” arriving.
He and Antonio give a good deal of credit history to the Nets … both equally in the Logan job interview and the interviews DLo is supplying in Charlotte. “Lot of excitement about Brooklyn,” he stated in one job interview Saturday.
“Kenny does a excellent task of generating it make feeling,” the more youthful Russell stated. “He puts it in a context exactly where you can really see it statistically with the figures and with your perform. It provides you the confidence to just take these pictures.”
“I could not inquire for a greater circumstance.” stated the elder Russell. “I guess the greatest matter is understanding what this is doing for his confidence, for his self-esteem, his mentality. It would make me happy mainly because I see the joy in him.”