The Professional: Damon Jones
There he is…MY MAN! Doin what he do…doing it the way he do it. Another game win or loss, another trot off the court for my guy who always make me chuckle because he gets it!
He just enjoys the moment for what it is, this is one of the best people in the NBA… DJ 19, Damon Jones currently of the Milwaukee Bucks. Here is a young man who has started in the NBA Finals and rode buses in the Black Hills of South Dakota in the CBA. Here is a young man that was a ball boy for the championship teams back in Houston in the mid 90s, but has played side by side with all-stars Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and in his 1st run here with Michael Redd in Milwaukee. Here is a young man that was undrafted out of the University of Houston, but has been on MTV Cribs and co-hosted Dick Clark’s New Years Eve Party in New York.
So many contradictions, but like the transformers…there is more that meets the eye? I sat down with DJ 19 and asked him a few questions about being in the league for this long, and how he has done it. Although the Bucks are the only team he has played for twice in his career, he has enjoyed being on ten other teams.
I asked him how he keeps so even keel and he told me several things help him with that. “By keeping my mind fresh and going one day at a time, it helps me focus and since I have seen it all in this league, I try to share a lot of those experiences with the young guys.” Every player, and just about every coach I spoke to about Damon said the same thing, it was said over and over about his attitude, which is basically this…he takes the game very serious, but not to the point it isn’t fun to play the game. DJ 19 did acknowledge in our conversation that their have been peaks and vallys. “A lot of highs and lows.” He also reminded me to tell any young ball-players out there. “No one can ever tell you or dictate how you want your career to go…ever!” Not bad for a career 40% FG and a 39% 3pt FG shooter, 647 games (and counting) and more importantly 6 post seasons in ten years.
For a guy that never saw a seven figure salary until he joined the Miami Heat in the 2004-05 season, he has never shown outwardly signs of that petty jealousy or politics that I seen destroy teams, locker rooms and communities.
So I send this shout out to people who are tired of all the negativity, bad actors and actions in the very insulated world of professional sports, here is a guy you can cheer for who came from the bottom and is still trying to reach the top.
Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee