By Tyshawn Taylor, Brooklyn Nets
A Chance to Shine
It felt really good to have a big game and an opportunity to show what I could do right before All-Star. Since Deron Williams was out for two games, I had an opportunity to play. In one of the games, I played 34 minutes (the whole fourth quarter and all of overtime) and we beat the Indiana Pacers at Indiana in a real close game.
I am confident in my game and it felt good to remind myself I can play this game and I can do it in this league. My teammates and coaches got the chance to see that I could really play, especially in an environment like that, and handle it well. I felt really comfortable out there on the court, and my teammates did a great job of helping me out. I was smiling the whole game. I also got a lot of good feedback on Twitter. Of course though I realized when I watched the game tape that I could have made better plays.
I felt good going into All-Star break because of our win against Indiana, and I wanted to enjoy the time off with my family and friends. I went to Kansas for Mario Chalmers’ jersey retirement. We both went to the University of Kansas, and even though we never played together, we have worked out a lot together and are good friends. Some of my college teammates came out for the jersey retirement too, and it was good to chill with them. We all went to the game to watch Mario get honored. When you go to Kansas, and learn about all of the tradition that comes before you, it’s cool to be at something like that, especially since Mario is one of the better point guards to come out of Kansas. Maybe they will retire my jersey one day.
NBA Season: Act II
It was right back to business after All-Star. D-Will was back playing after the break, but I’m still working hard to improve and observing really good basketball from up close. I’m also getting the inside scoop on how to be a professional in this league. Most of my teammates have been in the league for double-digit years, and I really learn from them. When you come into the NBA, you think talent is enough, but it takes a lot more than that. It’s really good for me to be around all these veterans.
February, Black History Month, has always been very important to me. I can remember that while we were growing up, in February, we always learned about Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Rosa Parks in school. Black History Month is especially important to my family because my great uncle, my Mom’s uncle, was one of the original Tuskegee Airmen. I don’t know the whole story behind it, but my family always talks about it, and it’s a cool thing to have in your family. As a young African-American man, I think it’s very, very important to know our history.
A Real Honor
A couple Saturdays ago, I was honored at the 14th Annual Richard Hicks Black Youth Empowerment Luncheon at the Boys and Girls Club in Hoboken for my work with the kids there. It was really cool, especially because it came from the people in Hoboken, where I grew up. That made me feel good because it’s important for me to show people that even though I’m in the NBA, I’m still around and do what I can to help. Like I’ve said before, when I found out I was playing in Brooklyn, I never thought of moving anywhere but Hoboken.
I really try to help out there. I did a back to school giveaway during training camp. I also go to the basketball games and hang out with the kids whenever I can. I hear the kids are running around the gym at the Boys and Girls Club saying they are Tyshawn Taylor when they shoot the ball. It’s cool to hear that, but I also want them to know that Tyshawn Taylor worked very hard.
The biggest inspiration I can give them is for them to see that I’m a real person and that I grew up in the same neighborhood as them with the same chance and opportunities. And even though there were plenty of times I had my back up against the wall, I figured out a way to make it and they can too. I tell them ‘If I can do it, you can do it.’ For me, and for a lot of people in this neighborhood, it’s a big deal to graduate from college. It’s very important for me to talk to them about that, and explain that even if I didn’t play basketball, a college degree gives you something to fall back on. I want to empower them. Even if my message sticks with just one kid, it’s worth it.
Tyshawn Taylor, a 6-foot-3 point guard from Kansas, was the 41st player taken in the 2012 NBA Draft. He was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers and traded to the Nets on Draft night. You can follow him on Twitter @tyshawntaylor.
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