By David Cordova
This feature on NBA player Lance Stephenson was originally featured on the website, Gotham Hoops, during the summer of 2015.
A Few Questions With……….Lance Stephenson
It’s a great thing when someone from the neighborhood has made it to the promised land. Playing in the NBA is something that many kids from the urban community aspire to do. They have the dreams of having houses and living the good love. But one of the things they love to do is stay true to the community where they grew up.
For Lance Stephenson, the dream of being in the NBA was realized a few years ago when he was drafted five years ago by the Indiana Pacers in the second round (40th overall). Since then, he has risen through the ranks and made himself into a star.
Stephenson, the 6-foot-5 guard from the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, NY, has been making plenty of noise on the hardwood since his youth. As an eighth-grader, he was playing in the college/pro division at the Entertainer’s Basketball Classic at the world-famous Rucker Park in Harlem, while also dominating on the AAU scene. And there was also an epic matchup at the 2005 ABCD Camp in Teaneck, NJ, on the campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University, in which he went up against O.J. Mayo, who was then a junior in high school.
At Lincoln High School, Stephenson was a phenom, helping the Railsplitters win four PSAL city championships & two New York State Federation championships, while also gaining honors such as a Parade All-American, New York State’s Mr. Basketball in his senior year and a spot on the 2009 McDonald’s All-American team. Another accomplishment that Stephenson has holds him in higher regard over many others: he is the all-time scoring leader in the state of New York.
From there, he went on to the University of Cincinnati, where he averaged 12.3 points & 5.4 rebounds per game and earned Big East Rookie of the Year honors. After his stellar performance in college, he took his act to the NBA, where he had to wait his turn for two seasons before making his mark with the Pacers. In the 2013-14 season, he had his finest season in the NBA, averaging 13.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists a game.
That performance earned him a three-year contract, $27 million contract with the Charlotte Hornets. However, a pelvic sprain injury limited Stephenson to 61 games, yet he still managed to average 8.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. Most recently, Stephenson was just traded to the Los Angeles Clippers, where he will team up with the likes All-Star point guard Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan. Stephenson is becoming one of the biggest rising stars in the NBA. Just a few years ago, his dream was to make it to the pros. Now, the next step is to win a championship and make an all-star game.
Here’s the Q&A with the man himself, Lance Stephenson:
When did you first start playing basketball?
When I was 6 years old, my dad brought me to O’Dwyer Gardens, which is one of the projects in Coney Island. Ever since then I fell in love with the game.
When did you first decide to start taking basketball serious?
When I was 8, when I played in the Coney Island NYCHA tournament.
What does basketball in Coney Island mean to you?
It means a lot, it’s a passion of mine since I was young, that’s what we do out here. It’s a rite of passage for many of us.
How does it feel to have made it to the NBA?
That was a dream that I had for years. That was the only thing that I planned on doing with my life. When it finally happened, I cried because it was a dream come true. Seeing Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair make it gave me hope.
How do you feel about the upcoming season with the Clippers?
I feel good. We have a bunch of guys that want to win. It’s looking like it will be a good season.
What’s next in the future for Lance Stephenson?
Winning an NBA championship. That’s one of my main goals right now.
In the 2015-16 season, Stephenson played 43 games for the Clippers, averaging 4.6 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. He was then traded to the Memphis Grizzlies on February 18th, 2016 and had a phenomenal second half of the season, averaging 14.4 points, 4.4 rebounds & 2.8 assists in 26 games. As an effort to change their roster, the Grizzlies declined to pick up a $9 million team option on Stephenson. However, his luck changed on September 14th, as he signed a one-year, free-agent deal with the New Orleans Pelicans. After being waived from Memphis, many people counted out the 26-year-old Stephenson, but as time has proven, another opportunity has been granted by way of the team in the Bayou. Just know that you can’t count him out anymore, because he was “Born Ready.”
Highlights of Lance Stephenson:
Courtesy of CSTV.
Courtesy of High School Sports Media.
Courtesy of ESPNU.
Courtesy of ESPNU, GD Factory Clips.
Courtesy of Hoop Mixtape.
Courtesy of Haas Spitta.
Courtesy of Cincinnati Bearcats.
Courtesy of ABC.
Courtesy of NBA.
Courtesy of NBA.
Courtesy of GD Factory Clips.
Courtesy of The Basketball Diary.