Current NBA Analyst.
That is the resume that 80% of the world would think of when they hear the name Chauncey Billups. Yes, I was guilty of this as well. I know him as the NBA champion that played with ‘Sheed Wallace, Ben Wallace, and Rip Hamilton on that dynamic team coached by Larry Brown.
After reading this article, it is clear that there was a lot I did not know about “Big Shot” Billups. Shout out to my friend Ryan for sending this read to me, I gained a lot of interest and respect for him after this one. A so-called journeyman within the NBA for his first few years, he was almost out of the league before he got his shot in Minnesota and eventually Detroit, who took a chance on him. People all too quickly forget the stories that are the meaningful, great ones that show the true professional gritting it out in The Association and finally making it with the right team and the right system. I know when I was younger and even today I thought of Chauncey as the man who made the Detroit Pistons, not the man who struggled to make rosters for 5 years and then got his shot.
Terrell Brandon. I am sure that most would not recognize the name. I am sure that name means nothing to me. But ask Chauncey about him and he will tell you that Brandon is the one who saved his career. Made him who he was in Detroit and was the reason he earned that nickname “Big Shot.”
Every player in the league has a story. Some of those are great reads, some of them are stories of sons whose father has been coaching in the league for years and gets his chance. If you ask me, there should be more focus on these stories, like Chauncey’s, rather than those of Ben Simmons’ shoe deal or Jahlil Okafor’s bar fights. Chauncey was a class-act from the moment he was in the league and all through his stardom. He focused on being a professional and being the best teammate, something that the NBA is losing sight of in today’s age.
And Chauncey never stopped. When he got his shot, he proved to be ready and prepared, although he was a backup in Minnesota for so long. He learned from his best friend, Kevin Garnett, who taught him those “how to be a professional” things that every young pro needs. When he got to Auburn Hills, MI he started right where he left off. Because of this mindset, him and a group of four to seven other so-called journeyman and young stars took down the almost-unbeatable Lakers, filled with supreme amounts of talent. This was in ’04, when the Lakers ran The Association.
It is great to know that there are still stories like this running through the NBA and professional sports. Chauncey was not only a successful NBA player and NBA Champion, he has taken that same mentality out of the league, as he is an NBA Analyst. The media today doesn’t put enough of a focus on the success stories within sports, rather than the stuff that makes front pages for sports and non-sports fans can read. (i.e. Post-NFL Johnny Manziel)
Take a second and read this one, it’s well worth the time. Don’t forget that in midst of all of the money professional players get, there are many out there who have had to battle and fight at their craft in order to get their “one chance,” much like the American people. If you ever need a refresher on what it is like to be a NBA player and know what the majority of those players go through, just read Letter To My Younger Self.
Chauncey, you earned that “Big Shot” nickname man, you EARNED it.