The story of Brian Banks, a former star middle linebacker at Long Beach Poly, is an incredible one.
In 2002, Banks was preparing for his senior year, expected to star on the defensive side of the ball and fielding offers from top tier programs around the country, including Pete Carroll and USC. That summer, though, he was accused of rape and kidnapping -- falsely, as it turned out -- by a fellow student. Banks steadfastly maintained his innocence, but facing up to 41 years in prison chose on the advice of counsel to plead guilty in exchange for a shorter sentence.
Banks served more than five years, earning parole at the end of August 2007. Still, he was required to register as a sex offender and wear a monitoring device. Banks' life still wasn't his own, all over a crime he didn't commit.
This week, though, a remarkable turn of events in which his accuser recanted her story led to the dismissal of Banks' conviction, making him truly free. Exonerated, at 26 years old Banks hopes for an opportunity to chase the NFL dream taken from him a decade ago.
This morning on ESPNLA On Air, Banks joined us for an extended and compelling interview, in which he details the experience of entering prison at 17 and refusing to allow the experience to poison him. Whether Banks is given another shot in football or not, his incredible poise and stunning lack of bitterness over the 10 years he lost is truly inspirational.