Friday, December 21, 2012

It Wasn't A Very Merry Christmas for Kevin Ollie 15 Years Ago

It’s been well-documented that Kevin Ollie has been through plenty of tough times throughout his career. From bouncing back and forth to 11 teams in 13 seasons to, now, recruiting rejections and what amounts to a seven-month contract with UConn, Ollie has taken his share of rejections. And he always seems to bounce back even stronger.

One of the crueler setbacks he endured as a pro player happened 15 years ago, the night before the night before Christmas. On Dec. 23, 1997, Ollie was cut by the Dallas Mavericks. He had begun the season playing for the Connecticut Pride at the State Armory before getting his first-ever call to the NBA by the Mavs.

But after playing 16 games, he was cut just before Christmas.

“It was definitely hurtful,” Ollie recalled. “But it made me (add) fuel to my fire, and I got back.”

Indeed, a couple of weeks later, he was signed by Orlando, and never saw the CBA again.

“I didn’t hang my head,” Ollie noted, “but it was disheartening for me the first couple of days.”

In typical Kevin Ollie fashion, he looked back at his near-Christmas cut as a positive.

“That was tough, but I was so happy to get out of the CBA. So, if I was in the NBA for two months, it was good. I was in the armory, then to go to Dallas and be around the Mavericks’ organization, it was a blessing.”

*** Meanwhile, UConn recruit Kendall Smith recently spoke to, and it sounds like he may be leaning towards taking his talents to Vegas.

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