For the 25-year-old Taurean Prince, life is good. Very good in fact. He’s got great job security in Brooklyn and a guaranteed $28.4 million is salary over the next three years. He is respected in his field.
But half a life ago, when he was 12, the future looked dim, as Brian Lewis described his situation.
After Prince’s parents, Anthony and Tamiyko, split and he chose to live with his father, they found themselves living in a Salvation Army when they could, or on friends’ sofas, or even a couple of days on the street.
He was 12. But the experience toughened Prince without hardening him, strengthening his spirit without making it sullen.
Eventually, he was “discovered” and was taken 12th in the 2016 Draft by the Hawks. After a couple of up-and-down seasons in Atlanta —including a five game assignment to the Long Island Nets, he feels like he’s home in Brooklyn. He does not talk a lot about his past but is keenly aware of its power.
“Yeah, 100 percent,” Prince told The Post when asked if his extension signed last month makes him appreciate things in Brooklyn. “I try not to dwell on things like that. I never allowed my past to affect how I thought moving forward or how I carry myself or made any excuses.
“Everybody has their story, whether it’s as treacherous as mine was or as easy as theirs might have been. Everybody grows in different ways throughout different situations, and I’m just happy I was able to come out on the brighter side of that and be able to make a way for my family and my kids.
“No matter what position I was in life, I always use it as an opportunity to make it part of my story and come out on the better side of it.”
So far, so good. He’s averaging 15.5 points —third on the team— as well as a surprising 6.3 rebounds. He shooting the lights out, as predicted by his teammates this summer, hitting 44 percent from three.
But he’s more than that, said Kenny Atkinson.
“He’s just a pleasant person. He always has a smile,” the head coach said. “He’s just got a great spirit. But there’s an edge and a toughness.
“Not the easiest background coming up. He’s got a real edge to him and it shows in his physicality, shows how he competes. And … his skill level’s pretty darn high. He’s not just a catch-and-shoot guy; [he] can make plays off the dribble. He’s going to be a big key for us.”
The extension the Nets gave Prince was generally seen as a risk. Why were the Hawks ready to give up on him, requiring only first rounder?
Whatever the reasons, the Nets have welcomed him with open arms, made him feel at home.
- Taurean Prince’s incredible journey from homeless to Nets - Brian Lewis - New York Post