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March 21, 2015 Updates

I'm retiring. I heard someone once say there comes a day when they tell us all that we can’t play anymore. We’re not good enough. Surplus to requirements. Too slow, maybe. When you’re a teenager with outsized dreams and a growing obsession, and someone tells you this ain’t gonna last forever, it’s scary. I never forgot it. So what did I do? Stayed obsessed. Set goals. Worked. Dreamed. Schemed. Pushed myself beyond what was normal or expected. I looked at my hero, Isiah Thomas, and thought to myself, “OK, I’m nowhere near the player he is but if I get better every day for 5 or 10 years, why can’t I be as good as him?” The greatest gift has been to be completely immersed in my passion and striving for something I loved so much — visualizing a ladder, climbing up to my heroes. The obsession became my best friend. I talked to her, cherished her, fought with her and got knocked on my ass by her. The Players' Tribune

I will likely never play basketball again. It’s bittersweet. I already miss the game deeply, but I’m also really excited to learn to do something else. This letter is for anyone who’s taken note of my career. At the heart of this letter, I’m speaking to kids everywhere who have no idea what the future holds or how to take charge of their place in it. When I think of my career, I can’t help but think of the kid with his ball, falling in love. That’s still what I identify with and did so throughout my entire story. The Players' Tribune

It will always hurt that Phoenix Suns fans didn’t get the championship they deserved during our run. Yes, we had some bad luck but I always look back at it and think, I could’ve made one more shot, or not forced a turnover, or made a better pass. But I don’t regret anything. The arena was always sold out and rocking. It was the time of my life. Thanks, Phoenix. The Players' Tribune

When I signed with the Lakers, I had big dreams of lifting the fans up and lighting this city on fire. I turned down more lucrative offers to come to L.A. because I wanted to be in the “fire,” and play for high risk and high reward in my last NBA chapter. In my second game here, I broke my leg and nothing was the same. Last spring, when I returned to the court, I was given a standing ovation at Staples Center. It was a dark time in my career and that gesture will be one of my best memories. There’s been a lot of negativity online, but in my nearly three years in L.A., I’ve never met anyone who didn’t show me anything but love and support for my efforts. There’s a lot of class in Lakerland, and the organization and staff have given me unwavering support. The Players' Tribune

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed guard Jabari Brown to a second 10-day contract, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Brown, originally signed to a 10-day contract on March 10, appeared in four games for the Lakers, averaging 7.0 points, 1.3 rebounds, and 1.0 steals in 20.0 minutes per game. NBA.com

Scott said the Lakers will “absolutely” consider re-signing Ellington this offseason after gushing about his improvement as a shooter and defender. But the Lakers will prioritize the NBA draft and marquee free agents. “He made himself a valuable part of this team,” Scott said. “We don’t know what next year holds. But he has shown 30 teams he knows how to play the game.” Los Angeles Daily News

But after Wayne Robert Ellington Sr. was murdered on Nov. 9, 2014 at the age of 57 in downtown Philadelphia, his son’s pre-game ritual has taken on a new twist. Ellington inscribed another phrase that says “RIP POPS.” Ellington’s tributes to his father on his shoes serve as painful inspiration as the Lakers guard has handled both grief over his loss and anger over an unspeakable crime. “There are some days I wish I didn’t do it. I get a little emotional,” Ellington said in an interview with Los Angeles News Group. “But it helps me out a lot. It gives me extra strength and extra motivation.” Los Angeles Daily News

“It’s been tough, but basketball has really been keeping me afloat,” said Ellington, who has averaged 12.3 points at as the Lakers’ starting shooting guard for 33 games amid Kobe Bryant’s season-ending right shoulder injury. “It helps me stay locked in on something instead of having my mind wander a lot of times.” Los Angeles Daily News

Moments later, Altschuler delivered the devastating news to Ellington as he stood outside an arena hallway. His father died from a gunshot wound to the left side of his head while sitting in his 2001 Oldsmobile in downtown Philadelphia, according to city police. “I didn’t want to believe it. I lost it, got weak and I fell to the floor. I didn’t know what to do,” Ellington said. “I was at a loss for words and emotions.” Los Angeles Daily News

That support partly explained why Ellington still watched Lakers games during his absence and eventually missed only six games. But how can anyone jump back into a normal routine as if nothing changed? “He was quieter,” Scott said of Ellington. “You could tell there were times in practice his mind would wander and his thoughts would go back to his dad.” Los Angeles Daily News

March 20, 2015 Updates

Rookie guard Jabari Brown's 10-day contract expired after the Lakers' 80-73 loss to the Utah Jazz on Thursday night. After the game, Brown said he spoke to General Manager Mitch Kupchak, and that he'll sign a second 10-day contract on Saturday. Waiting the extra day, instead of inking Brown on Friday, will make the Missouri scorer available for the Lakers' visit to the Philadelphia 76ers on March 30. Brown said he'll be at practice on Friday, although he won't be able to participate until he signs the following day. Los Angeles Times

 

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