When the Nets offered an open tryout for Long Island Nets last month, the cast turned out to be what you might expect in terms of former NBA and D-League players, itinerant lovers of the game who fill their passports with stamps, and just kids hoping for a miracle.
But, as Scott Cacciola of the Times writes Sunday, the individual stories are what makes each D-League workout (and there are 22 of them) unique.
There was Smush Parker, the now 35-year-old Brooklyn native and resident, trying to get back into the NBA after playing eight years in ... in order ... China, Russia, Greece, Iran, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Croatia, Greece again, Venezuela again and last but perhaps most memorable, Mongolia.
There was Marc Alvarez, a 5’5” guard from Haskell, N.J., who works as a dishwasher but thought he could impress with quickness and determination.
There was Carlos Valdez, a 6’7” forward who played last season in Puerto Rico but now works for a tech seminar company who brought along a cheering section: his boss and his boss’s kids.
As Trajan Langdon, the Long Island Nets GM, said when asked how he expected to separate prospects from projects from false promises, “you tell me.” At the most, said Langdon, four of the more than 100 who worked out will join the Long Island Nets training camp as they prepare for a November 11 opener vs. the Canton Charge in Ohio.
The road is long.