Retired NBA veteran J.R. Reid had a lengthy career in the NBA. With stints with the San Antonio Spurs, Charlotte Hornets, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Buck. Drafted 5th overall by the Hornets in the 1989 NBA Draft, Reid, a product of Virginia Beach, VA came as advertised after a stellar high school career after being named Gatorade and USA TODAY’s player of the year out of Kempsville High School. He’d later be an All-American under Dean Smith at the University of North Carolina.
What’s always been cool about Reid is his journey and who he’s been around in locker rooms during his NBA career. He was teammates with 16 year NBA vet Dell Curry and would watch Dell’s son’s, Seth and Stephen grow as children. The boys are now all grown up, Seth is a guard playing for the Dallas Mavericks and Stephen is the Golden State Warriors star point guard.
Reid knew back then that Dell’s kids were special.“Steph was shooting that thing at nine,” Reid told me in an interview last year.
“He was putting the work in. You can tell. When a little kid has form, you can tell. The NBA now, you see so many former NBA players’ kids now playing. It’s a lifestyle. These kids are around this lifestyle. They see the dedication…these kids are already ahead of the game. We loved him…Steph was always tagging along. He was just a source of entertainment for us.”
Speaking of second generation ball players. Reid was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers during the 1999 season and was teammates with the now retired Kobe Bryant. Reid knew back then that Bryant was growing into a special player. “Kobe was a great teammate,” said Reid.
“We tried to get him to shoot some craps with us in the back. We started cracking jokes. Kobe was put together differently than a lot of other guys. I might be reading some stock stuff, computers, car stuff and Kobe is over there reading about the art of war. He’s trying to be a mental assassin.”
Reid served as a mentor to Kobe through parts of that season as per the advice of Jerry West, the guy who drafted Bryant. What’s significant about that is that Reid has always been a mentor of sorts and wise beyond his years. How do I know? Back in 1997 I chronicled Reid when he was a member of the Charlotte Hornets during my days hosting Nets Slammin’ Planet on the now defunct 620 AM One-On-One Sports here in New York City. He was recently a subject in the Scoop B Radio time capsule series. Give it a listen below.
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