When a new player arrives in Rip City, the first thing we do as fans is check their stats
, watch highlights on YouTube
and check to see if they're on Twitter
to get the rundown on the newest member of the team. But that only gives the smallest indication of who a person truly is and what they're really about. Normally, it takes time for a lot of the back stories about their lives to be made public.
Take LaMarcus Aldridge for example. We, as fans, feel a closer then average connection to LA due to reading about the his mother being diagnosed with breast cancer and ultimately triumphing over the disease. The people of Portland care just as much about the player on the court as they do off of it.
For rookie Meyers Leonard, there will be no waiting on his story. It's out there
. At the age of six, he lost his father and along with his mother and brother, Bailey, went without a bed, water and electricity. But through that hardship came an unbreakable bond between two brothers.
If you're wondering, Meyers' Fighting Illini lost to the Wolverines of Michigan on that afternoon his brother surprised him, 72-61
. Leonard had himself a solid outing, scoring 18 points on 6-11 shooting, including 6-8 at the foul line to go along with nine rebounds and a block. Yet something tells me the result of the game and his stat line won't be what he remembers most about March 2nd, 2012.
He hasn't been introduced to the media. He hasn't even put on a jersey. And he hasn't played a single second of Trail Blazers basketball. But I'm already a fan.