- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
- U.N. warns of Muslim ‘cleansing’ in Central African Republic
- Senate blocks change to military sex assault cases
- Drug mix may have cured child born with HIV, doctors say
- De Blasio’s wife irks former mansion chef with ‘servant’ remark
- Russia’s neighbors shiver amid Putin’s Cold War moves in Ukraine
- New SAT: The essay portion is to become optional
- Military group can’t march to honor the fallen at Boston Marathon due to security changes
- Senate passes bills deleting ‘retarded’ from laws
- China announces biggest military hike in 3 years: We are not ‘boy scouts with spears’
Former high school phenom gets shot with Warriors
During the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, one of the holiest days of the year, he was at home at night watching a movie. The noise was blaring on his speakers, and the lights were on in his house _ all a big no-no in a place where life revolves around religion.
Neighbors came knocking on his door, screaming. The commotion created such an uproar that even the police were called. In just one night, the first American-born player to drop out of high school for a professional basketball career overseas had offended what felt like an entire country.
“I didn’t know. It was a complete culture shock,” Tyler said Monday when he was introduced by the Golden State Warriors after being selected 39th overall in the NBA draft. “It was a big wake-up call.”
There have been many of those on Tyler’s journey.
A former high school phenom in San Diego, the 6-foot-10 power forward/center was considered perhaps the best big man in his class. But he wasn’t happy at his school and wanted to transfer ahead of his senior season, only he couldn’t because of district rules.
Along with offers from almost every major college, a few international leagues called. After watching Brandon Jennings opt for Europe instead of college, Tyler and his family decided to take an even bigger risk.
All of 18 years old, he left high school after his junior year and signed a $140,000 deal with Israeli team Maccabi Haifa. Life would never be the same.
“There were two roads to take. I took the harder road,” Tyler, now 20, said.
Nothing went as he’d hoped.
Tyler’s father, James, spent the first three weeks with him in Israel. Then only a cousin stayed. Tyler was stuck on a team with three big men, and he was raw and unpolished, up against grown men for the first time in his life who could match his muscle. He eventually quit after a disappointing start.
“That’s a tough position for a teenager. But he wanted it, so I supported his decision,” his mother, Martin, said. “He had to grow up really fast.”
While Jennings went on to a stellar young career with the Milwaukee Bucks after only one season abroad, Tyler still had another year before he could meet the NBA’s rules of being a year removed from his senior season in high school.
Former shoe company executive Sonny Vaccaro, an adviser to Tyler and his family, told The Associated Press after Tyler left Israel in 2009 that the experience there was “more embarrassing than detrimental” and that Tyler wasn’t ready to grow up.
Tyler still had another chance to prove he made the right choice.
By Tammy Bruce
- Aronofsky's 'Noah' banned in Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates
- AP Exclusive: Man said to create bitcoin denies it
- Back to the Future: HUVr Tech marketing video goes viral with hoverboard release tease
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- Unemployment insurance vote could happen next week
- First pot business license issued in Washington
- 1M kids stop school lunch due to Michelle Obamas food standards
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- U.S. tasks Navy destroyer to Black Sea amid Ukraine tensions
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again