Jannero Pargo goes to the basketball court one hour before practice starts. And he always ends up the last one to leave the premises. It has always been his usual routine, ever since he started as an undrafted rookie coming from Neosho County Community College in Chanute, Kansas nine years ago.
The Los Angeles Lakers took a chance on him and signed him as their rookie for the 2002-03 season. Something that Jannero was always thankful for.
Not everybody gets an opportunity to play in the NBA, and even if you get drafted, it’s not even a guarantee that you will stay on top.
Being with the Lakers was a blessing for him, even though he played scrap minutes and stayed on the bench most of the time. He still valued hard work and dedication to his craft, spending hours and buckets of sweat on the hard court.
For Jannero the NBA is all about opportunity and chances. One mistake or one wrong move could clearly dictate where your career will be heading. There is no substitute for preparedness. That’s why he goes to every game and every practice like it was his last.
Jannero was always the coach’s heartache. Not that he is problematic, but he was always the odd man out. He was the type of player being cut if the team is over the luxury tax or through free agency.
However, with his work ethic it’s always a coach’s misery to see him out, like when the problematic 2003-04 Lakers had all sorts of problems with Shaq and Kobe’s ego and the team still meshing up with Karl Malone and Gary Payton.
Cutting Pargo was one of the painful decisions coach Phil Jackson had to do at that time. He was always a dependent backup and a mindset that is ready to learn. As written by Phil on his book “The Last Season”.
Jannero worked really hard on practice, and he played efficiently, but the Lakers need to cut their luxury tax with four future Hall of Famers in one team. He left the team with tears in his eyes and took everything as a challenge. He will get his chance because he knows he is well prepared.
The Chicago Bulls know that signing back Jannero would be a huge lift to the team. He had been slow on his recovery from his knee surgery, but it was never a hindrance for him in getting back.
The United Center Arena has been rocking with fans from over the city cheering and giving love to their team. But after those spotlights turned off and the chairs empty, we will hear the thump of the ball and the swish of the net. It’s just Jannero Pargo, the first one to come and the last one to leave. It pays to be ready because you never know when your chance will come.
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