The past year has become what Brown called “a whirlwind.” The Lakers cut him from their training camp roster for the second consecutive year. Brown dabbled overseas in China both to develop his game and land a larger paycheck. He returned three weeks ago to the Lakers’ Development League affiliate, the D-Fenders. Brown has since waited for any NBA team to call. But those concerns hardly compare to what has left Brown soft spoken. His father, David, died on Feb. 27, 2016 after a nearly two-year battle with cancer. “It’s tough dealing with it every day,” Jabari Brown said in a recent interview with Los Angeles News Group at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. “I have good days and I have bad days. That’s how it’s going to be for a while.”
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David Brown had nursed blood clots the previous three years. But Jabari Brown then heard six chilling words. “I’m about to start doing chemo,” Jabari Brown recalled his dad saying. Jabari Brown then learned his father was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma, a type of cancer that Fannie Brown said had spread to his liver. Doctors considered David Brown’s disease treatable, but not curable. “I just walked out of the room,” Jabari Brown said, shaking his head. “It was just crazy.”
Per CBA rules, teams can only field two American players per team. So Jabari Brown interacted with most of his teammates and coaches with body language and simple Chinese phrases. Jabari Brown struggled just as much to communicate with his father because of his declining health. “He wasn’t texting anymore,” Jabari Brown said of his father. “He didn’t talk on the phone because I couldn’t talk on the phone out there. It was tough.”
Jabari Brown has tried to show that in his second stint with the D-Fenders, where has averaged 20 points albeit on 38.8 percent shooting in six games. “I’m just trying to be positive and hope that something works out,” Jabari Brown said. “I just need a team that believes in me. I know what I’m capable of doing. If that doesn’t necessarily come, I’m going to be fine with that. I feel like I know when I did get the opportunity, I showed what I can do.”
Two intriguing prospects in the NBADL who could earn 10-day contracts are former Memphis draft pick Jarnell Stokes, who was traded twice and then waived by the Pelicans, and swingman Jabari Brown, whom the Lakers cut to make room for Metta World Peace. Brown spent most of this season with the Chinese Basketball Association.