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July 28, 2021 | 7:25 pm EDT Update

No. 1 pick candidate Jalen Green: I want to live in Detroit

Before long, Jalen Green was the highlight of the G-League—the fastest player on the court, a multi-level scorer and apt defender, all the while delivering the same highlight reel, high-flying displays that made him famous on the internet. He’d write down goals on yellow sticky notes on his door and cross them off when he accomplished them. Before leaving that Walnut Creek apartment and relocating to LA, the only one left read, “Be the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.” “Number one pick,” he tells me, “that would be a dream come true. I ain’t going to lie. That happens, I’m going to have a breakdown,” he laughs. And, naturally, he has preference in mind. “I want to live in Detroit.”
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There’s rarely quiet around Jalen now: the buzz of a nearby phone, the clicking of cameras, the throngs of fans can be incessant. The unhinged Instagram comments on casual pictures with friends from people he doesn’t know, the constant judgements on his behavior, the cold shoulder when he comes back home to Fresno. “Fresno’s like a small city, so it’s real small minded. It’s like a crab bucket,” Jalen admits, dropping his head back underneath his hoodie. “You’ve got a bucket full of crabs. They all pull on you when you try to get out. You can fall into crime there, all that type of stuff. If you don’t have the right home, right surroundings, right people around you, that shit can lead you down the wrong path.”

July 28, 2021 | 7:03 pm EDT Update