Los Angeles Lakers: Lakers training camp

Q&A: Chris Douglas-Roberts working to re-enter the NBA

October, 11, 2012
10/11/12
11:28
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- When the Lakers signed swingman Chris Douglas-Roberts on media day, I noted his somewhat unusual position. Too good to be a camp body, but still someone fighting serious odds to make the team.

The 40th pick of the 2008 draft by the then-New Jersey Nets, he's a guy who in his three seasons has shown the ability to score at the NBA level, and at one point was seen as a sleeper-type up-and-comer. But when the lockout came last year, Douglas-Roberts was among those players who took the bird in the hand, signing overseas with Virtus Bologna and staying in Italy after it ended.

The NBA is a tough place, where being out of sight can put a guy out of mind, too. Getting back in the league is no sure thing, even for a young player with a decent track record, making Douglas-Roberts one of the more interesting stories of Lakers camp.

I spoke with Douglas-Roberts on Thursday afternoon after practice.

Q: You were overseas the entire year. What was the calculation behind that decision, considering the labor situation the NBA faced at the time?

Chris Douglas-Roberts: It was actually great for me, because during the lockout -- I'm was a fairly young player, I (had just finished) my third year -- so it was about basketball for me. It wasn't about money, I just wanted to play basketball. But I went over there, and made that commitment to stay. It definitely made me a better basketball player, and it made me a better person.

It made me more appreciative, because some days I didn't have heat. The living conditions were terrible. I had to heat up water to give my daughter a bath, some days. If you had the microwave on and the washer on, the electricity may go out in the whole house. It was very small. The shower at the gym that we practiced at, it was filthy. There was mold everywhere. You couldn't put your feet on the ground, barefoot. Guys were getting staph infections. It was basically back to when I was growing up in Detroit. But when I look at it, it just made me a better person and a player.

Q: Did you know what you were getting into?

CDR: Not at all. I had no clue. When you think of Italy, you think of beauty. You think of good food, great people. Which was the case, but it's a different game over there. They look at basketball different, they look at the athlete different. You're practicing two times a day, regardless. Very hard practices, two hours both sessions, and there aren't any days off, really. It's more about the organization, really. It's not about the athlete, really.

Q: How concerned were you about taking yourself out of the NBA game? Out of sight, out of mind so to speak, for an entire year. Obviously you didn't know at the time if there would even be a season, here.

CDR: Right. You know, I kind of made the decision to go there blindly. I've always been confident in myself, I always knew that I was an NBA player. I've performed in this league before. When I come in here, these guys know me. They don't treat me like (a guy in) the situation I'm in now. I've always been confident in myself. I felt like I could go over there and come back. I still feel that way now.

(Read full post)

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Nick Young
PTS AST STL MIN
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0