“There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.” - Malcolm X.
DeMarre Carroll has made a living off proving people wrong. From tough times as a kid up to the grown man he is today, adversity has failed to knock him down. Rather, it’s lifted him up and served as fuel to fire his motivation.
He recalls the day he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets and was called a “salary dump” after two seasons with Toronto.
“Salary dump. I got that actual article printed out and it sits on the side of my bed. It’s one of those things that I hold onto. All of it,” Carroll told NetsDaily with a big grin.
This was nothing more than just another motivating factor in his life after facing hard times. When he was five years old, he lost his nine-year old brother Delonte to a brain tumor. In college, he was shot in the ankle which nearly severed his Achilles tendon. Not long after that, he contracted a rare liver disease that jeopardized his future in the NBA.
He applied those tough times to his days in the NBA. He was doubted after undergoing knee surgery in 2016. Then, he was traded to the Nets about six months later.
He remembers the day he got the call from his agent about being called a “salary dump.” “When I first saw that my agent was more mad than I was.”
He went onto explain how his agent called the reporter who wrote the story because everybody listens to what this specific reporter says. (Hint) Carroll simply turned it into another piece of motivation.
A big reason why he was described that way and why his tenure in Toronto didn’t work out, is in large part, due to the style of play the Raptors play. He’s on the record, saying it several times. Iso-ball systems don’t work well for a 3-and-D guy like DeMarre, opposed to a motion offense where everybody works off the ball and gets touches.
He became a “salary dump” because the Raptors may not have trusted his health. He had missed a lot of games his first year in Canada but started 72 games last season. This year, he’s on pace to exceed that, which he has publicly attributed to the Nets performance team.
Mostly, though, he believes it was about the lack of a fit. He compares his situation in Toronto to Jae Crowder, who was just traded out of Cleveland.
“A neat thing I think about is how I root for a guy like Jae Crowder. He’s in Boston having two great years, then he goes to Cleveland and he doesn’t even look like the same person. Now he’s going to Utah where I know Quin Snyder. It’s going to be a great opportunity for him to re-establish himself,” said Carroll.
Carroll is playing perhaps the best ball over his nine-year career, averaging 13.2 points and 6.5 rebounds per game – both career-high’s. He was the hot name during Thursday’s trade deadline, telling NetsDaily how “A lot of teams” wanted him.
But he wanted to stay in Brooklyn, where he continues to prove he’s a player not a dump ... of any kind. He’s a leader for a rebuilding team looking to establish a culture.
“This is a great place to be long term,” Carroll told NetsDaily. “It’s one of those things that are hard to put into words. I’m performing at a high level and I’m seeing these guys grow up. It’s kind of like seeing your younger brother grow up and become successful.”
Carroll has received similar praise from players all around the locker room. They see him as the “older brother” of the team.
“DeMarre’s a great guy, very respectable, genuine, has an awesome smile (laughs) … man I look at him like a big brother. He’s someone I can talk to about whatever,” Rondae Hollis-Jefferson told NetsDaily back in November. “We talk about life, we talk about family,”
His impact is seen just by the way the younger guys on the team talk and present themselves. Even for Kenny Atkinson, who he knew as assistant in Atlanta, he’s become like a player-coach. That’s why he’s still here.
“I never got that sense from Kenny [Atkinson] or Sean [Marks]. My agent met with them weeks before and they talked about how they value me both on and off the court. They talked about my leadership and how it’s helping the team and the culture. For me, if they were going to do it, they were going to do it to help the organization. But at the end of the day I know they value me here,” he told NetsDaily.
Brooklyn is Carroll’s seventh different home since entering the league in 2009. He tells NetsDaily how this deadline was a little different than the past. He has a wife and two children, a 4-year-old named Lailah and a 2-year-old Amare. Things go way beyond the basketball court.
“To get up and move is hard, the kids have to get new friends, we have to find them a new school. People don’t really see the behind-the-scenes things that you gotta live through,” Carroll explained.
“I think my wife was more nervous than I was just because things of these nature. Just moving again – it ain’t easy. She’s happy we didn’t have to leave and she’s comfortable here.”
He was traded to the Nets in early July. He has one year remaining after this one. His future in Brooklyn is safe for right now, but DeMarre has been around long enough to know that anything can happen any day.
But for right now, he’s posting career numbers and leading this young Brooklyn team as the ‘salary dump’ nobody wanted over the summer — now wanted by “several” teams.
“I’m definitely in for the long haul… for as long as they want me here.”