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Unless you want a whomping.
In The New York Times, Jonathan Abrams tells the story of the Pacers' Danny Granger, who -- did you know? -- turned down an offer to play for Yale. This, despite coming from one of the worst neighborhoods in Louisiana.
A key figure in all such stories is Danny Granger, Sr.
When Granger was about 8, Danny Granger Sr., who made his living with his hands, bought the land next to the family's house and built a basketball court. He did not necessarily envision his son as a future All-Star. There was simply no safe place nearby to shoot hoops.
The Grangers -- who included Danny; his brother, Scotty; and their sister, Jamie -- lived in a pocket known as the Dump because it was built on a landfill.
There were drugs. There were prostitutes. Occasionally, the Grangers went to sleep to the soundtrack of gunfire. Some neighborhoods are bad. "Mine," Granger Jr. said, "was extra bad."
Although problems seethed all around them, the Granger children were largely incubated in a bubble formed by their father. Nearly everyone knew him, from working men to drug dealers. And they all knew that he drew a line with his children that could not be crossed.
His wrath reached beyond the family. "I would have found who the dealer was who was trying to push something onto my kid, too," Granger Sr. said. "That's the type of person I am."
He raised his children with tough love. If they lied, they were disciplined. If they stayed out late, they were disciplined. Usually, it came with a whomping, the way he was punished as a child.
Danny excelled in the classroom. He was a curious child but had a mild personality, rarely daring to test the house limits. "I was so afraid of getting disciplined for doing something bad that it kept me from doing it," he said.
He slipped once.
He has a scar on one of his legs, the result of a bullet that ricocheted off a street and hit him when he was about 12. "Two streets from where I lived," he said. "Somewhere where I wasn't supposed to be at. I was lucky."
He did not press his luck with his father. Instead, he bandaged himself up. The two have never discussed the incident. Granger Jr. said his father learned of it secondhand.
"I have never heard that from Danny's mouth," Granger Sr. said. "I had heard it from hearsay. But I'm going to ask him about that."