As David Stern holds the microphone everybody on the draft knows that Blake Griffin would be the first round overall number 1 pick but the second pick would be a free for all and within the crowd of draftees DeJuan Blair awaits his name as one by one teams drafted their prospective rookies. First there was his Co-Big East Player of the year Hasheem Thabeet then James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Ricky Rubio then the list goes on and on. Everybody thought Blair would be somewhere between the top 20 and it turned out nobody wanted to draft him in the first round.
It was just years ago when Blair led his team to a 57-0 record and led his team to a state championship. He was named associated press player of the state and made first team all state during his junior and senior year. In spite having a series of surgeries that left him without an ACL or anterior cruciate ligaments on his knees he was still heavily recruited in college. The ACL’s job is to be one of the knee stabilizers in the anterior-posterior direction, that is preventing the tibia or shin bone from sliding frontwards or backwards in relation to the femur or thigh bone. So in short this is needed for knee stability and important for quick stops and starts which is highly required for athletes like Blair.
I don’t know of any athlete that played without an ACL but drafting Blair would be a high risk for any team especially for teams which are rebuilding. Blair never felt any adverse effects on having no ACL but eventually without anything to tear other issues would soon resurface cutting his career short in the long run.
The San Antonio Spurs eventually drafted the 20 year old Blair as their 2nd round 37th overall draft. He was undersized as a 6-foot-7 power forward/center but that doesn’t stop him from becoming the only Spurs rookie who had 20-20 since Tim Duncan and the only rookie who had a 20-20 game in the Rookie challenge setting a record for rebounds. Blair has been in a constant challenge trying to prove everybody wrong playing with his big heart. We could never tell how far his young knees would take him but we can never discount Blair’s resiliency. No wonder that despite his injuries in highschool a lot of colleges want him on their team. If someone ask me what will be the effect of people playing without an ACL I would say just look at how far DeJuan Blair has achieved. As US actress Gloria Swanson said “Never say never, for if you live long enough, chances are you will not be able to abide by its restrictions. Never is a long, undependable time, and life is too full of rich possibilities to have restrictions placed upon it.” Need I say more?
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