Kobe Bryant knew he was going to star in the NBA from a young age, and fulfilled his destiny as a teenager after Jerry West and the Lakers traded for his rights.
Pau Gasol grew up thinking he’d be a doctor, but quickly grew to be so good at basketball that he realized he could play for as long as he wanted.
Lakers forward Josh Powell’s basketball story, however, was quite different.
He grew up outside of Atlanta, Georgia, as more of a football and baseball player, with just a touch of the orange ball on the side. A linebacker by trade, standing about 6-2, Powell had no visions of professional basketball. As in, zero. Not even on the radar.
Then, around the age of 15, Powell shot up four or five inches in height. With his spurt came a growth in his love for the hardcourt, and helped him make the Riverdale High School varsity team as a freshman. Long, year-round days at the gym ultimately pushed Powell to N.C. State, and though a modest freshman year didn’t necessarily put his name on an NBA scout’s watch list, Powell exploded towards the end of his sophomore year to earn a spot on the ACC All-Tournament First Team. Finally, the NBA didn’t seem so far away, and after hearing that he could be taken at the end of the first round, Powell decided to leave school after his sophomore year and make himself eligible for the 2003 NBA Draft…
… But he wasn’t drafted.
Thus continued a distant hoops road that found Powell all by his lonesome in foreign lands like Russia and Italy, and in domestic leagues about which you’ve never heard. To take us through his journey in more detailed fashion, Powell called into the Lakers.com Popcorn Machine from his home in North Carolina.
You can listen to the interview by CLICKING HERE.