Friday, December 7, 2012
Sacre and Duhon: Lakers' family affair
By Dave McMenamin
It's been a bizarre season for the Los Angeles Lakers, with coaching changes and a seemingly never-ending array of injuries causing a rocky start for the team.
With that said, it almost came as no surprise in this anything-would-be-believable season that Lakers point guard Chris Duhon and backup big man Robert Sacre aren't just teammates; they're related.
"His momma and my dad are second cousins," Sacre said before the Lakers played the New Orleans Hornets earlier this week.
As Sacre continued to trace back the family tree out loud, he seemed to confuse even himself, getting tripped up when he tried to connect how he and Duhon's grandparents would be related to one another.
"I just know we're third … we're third cousins," Sacre said.
Sacre said that despite being related to Duhon, he met his cousin only once prior to becoming teammates with him this year -- at a Duke-Gonzaga game at Madison Square Garden when Duhon came to see his alma mater play against his cousin and the Bulldogs.
"That's when I said, 'You know, we're cousins,'" recalled Sacre.
Despite not having met face-to-face prior to that, the 23-year-old Sacre and the 30-year-old Duhon kept in touch through basketball as they grew up.
"I just remember whenever he was at Duke, he sent me a bunch of posters and, like, signed pictures from Duke, so I have that," Sacre said. "But we didn't know each other before."
When Duhon was traded to the Lakers in August, he hadn't familiarized himself with L.A.'s roster to the point where he realized the Lakers were carrying Sacre on the team after they drafted the 7-footer with the 60th pick of the NBA Draft back in June.
"I didn't know until I came in and we were playing pickup and it was just kind of one of those things," Duhon said after the Lakers game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday. "You're looking at him and it was like he could notice me seeing him and I was like, 'Yo!' and he was like, 'Yeah, we cousins!'
"I was like, 'Yeah, I thought so. You look familiar.' It was just one of those things."
Duhon grew up in Slidell, La., and Sacre spent some of his youth in Baton Rouge, La., when his father, Greg LaFleur, played football for the New Orleans Saints.
"[Duhon's] momma and my dad went to the same high school in Ville Platte, La., so that's where we're all from," Sacre said. "That's how the lineage is."
The rookie Sacre has leaned on Duhon, a nine-year veteran, for advice as the year has gone on.
"He's been great," Sacre said. "He's been an awesome teammate and cousin. He's definitely helped me out with the plays and just the adjustment of being in the NBA."
Said Duhon: "Just telling him what it is going to take for him to stay in the league. Things he needs to do, things he needs to learn about the NBA game, which is completely different from the college game. Just giving him the nuances so he can enjoy a long career."