March 24, 2012
By Matt Winkeljohn
It was fantastic the other day to catch up with Anthony Morrow, one of my favorite former Georgia Tech players, but I was left wishing he wasn’t forgetful.
After he scored 11 points for the New Jersey Nets in their loss Friday to the Hawks, my only goal in the locker room (other than my NBA.com duties) was to talk to A-Mo. That was problematicized by the fact that he was one of the very last players into the shower (and few NBA players do interviews before they are showered; LeBron James being among the exceptions). It was made worse by the fact that he had no deodorant/anti-perspirant.
So he asked one of the locker room attendants, a Hawks staffer, for “spray” deodorant. He wasn’t about to rub anybody else’s deodorant into his pits.
It took the locker room lad quite a while to come up with a can, and so i waited.
Finally, we chatted.
A-Mo scored 42 points in a game earlier this season, which was big news in the NBA at the time, and he’s carved out for himself a very nice career — especially for a guy who was NOT drafted.
He was all but ready to get on a plane to go plane in Ukraine, seriously, when he landed a few breaks.
“My game’s evolved and come a long way,” he said by way of understatement. “I’m blessed to have the opportunity to play in the NBA.”
Good story, that one.
Back in 2008, shortly after his senior year on the Flats, Morrow was scuffling to find a job — in hoops. He’d gone un-drafted in the NBA so he signed a contract with a team in Ukraine. He was ready to roll.
And then, the Miami Heat called.
A brief trip to Orlando for an awkward rookie/free agent mini-camp with a few games in Orlando went better than many might have expected.
“Daequan Cook [a former Miami player] had separated his shoulder so I got to play and did well,” Morrow said. “After that, the [Golden State] Warriors called and wanted me to come out there. They had like 17 guys.”
So, for the first couple games in that summer league situation out west, A-Mo did almost nothing.
Then, a few of the players who had some experience (albeit of the journeyman variety) moved on and Morrow played and did well. Then, he went to the Rocky Mountain Shootout, where multiple NBA teams have prospects AND scouts, and again played well.
The Warriors were excited. They offered a contract. Morrow excepted. Ukraine would have to wait . . . maybe forever.
“I had an NBA out-clause [in the contract] so basically if I got accepted to an NBA training camp, I could get out of it,” Morrow said. “I had to give up the $10,000 advance.”
That non-transaction was beneficial.
Morrow earned about $1 million in a couple seasons with the Warriors while becoming one of the most prolific 3-point shooters in NBA history. He joined the Nets last season, and now he’s salaried at about $4 million.
So, now he goes to work. Sometimes, he starts; sometimes he comes off the bench. The Nets are not very good, and they’ve had a slew of injuries. A-Mo’s scoring average continues to hover around the 12-13-point per game number.
Morrow doesn’t look quite the same. He’s bigger. “Definitely. I might be 15 or 20 pounds more than I was at Tech,” he said. “I got older and stronger, worked out.”
For enjoyment, he picks on teammate Sundiata Gaines, a former antagonist from the U. of Ga. There’s grief to be dished out to Shelden Williams, too, when Duke happens to lose.
“We talk about [college basketball] the time,” Morrow said. “If one of our teams beats the other team, we gotta give ’em hell — especially, Georgia-Georgia Tech. I give Sun hell all the time. We won at their place this year.”
Morrow also keeps tabs on his former Tech teammates.
“I talked to Lewis Clinch the other day, Ra’Sean [Dickey], Zam [Fredrick] . . . I talk to them all the time,” he said. “Spoke to Jeremis [Smith] a little while ago; he’s playing overseas but had to get a knee taken care of. Mario West . .. Jarrett [Jack; not a former teammate, but a former Tech player], I was with him all summer. I was staying with him, working out.”