As the lyrically prophetic sounds of the late Tupac Shakur saturate my ears, I would like to take a journey back to the early 90’s in east Los Angeles, California. The Lakers had just lost that summer’s final to the upstart Bulls team. The torch of Magic Johnson’s ‘showtime’ era was passed to Michael Jordan and his team of ‘blue-collar’ ballers from the Midwest. That November in the Watts area of Los Angeles, Tony Snell was born.
A familiar background for many players is that of a youth surrounded by absolute poverty. The life story of our Derrick Rose is sadly familiar to many of our NBA stars. However, the distinction that exists uniquely for impoverish youth from Los Angeles, is their poverty is surrounded by the areas absolute wealth and seemingly unattainable celebrity status. This ‘Hollywood effect’ increases their motivation to achieve such lofty goals. These youngsters have the celebrity or greatest they seek right before their very eyes on the streets they call home. This effect not only musters them with determination but also changes the way they view celebrity. They gain a unique ability to view celebrities as just people like anyone else. Amongst all the glitzy premiers and red carpets the youth of Los Angeles learn at a early age that such high status is a result of hard work. This determination and hard work was the reality of young Tony Snell.
As a senior at Martin Luther King High in Riverside, CA. Snell along with teammate Kawhi Leonard, now of the San Antonio Spurs, led their Wolves to a 30-3 season and a national ranking of seventh. Snell would then take his talents to New Mexico to play for coach Steve Alford, he continued his hard work and many scouts would proclaim him as ‘the diamond in the rough’ on the west coast. The Bulls would select Snell 20th in the 2013 draft. Having success in the last few years with late 1st round selections in Taj Gibson (26th) and Jimmy Butler (30th), the Bulls admitted to scouting Snell extensively, and hope he will be that diamond in rough for their team. The success of Kawhi Leonard for the Spurs has the Bulls hopeful that Snell will follow a similar path to success.
Snell’s similar quiet personality to that of both Leonard and Derrick Rose is a major plus for a Bulls team chasing the brash Miami Heat. After the Heat’s game 7 win over the Spurs, Dwayne Wade commented to reporters that they (spurs) have guys over there that haven’t spoke a word all series but they been bringing it to us every night. It is clear Wade was referring to the exceptional play of Kawhi Leonard. As for Snell, the sky is the limit for this young 21 year old from east Los Angeles. His ‘blue-collar’ work ethic seems a perfect match with Chicago, and should help him to achieve his lofty goals. As Tupac so famously said “Just keep ya head up Tony” keep a “Me against the world” motivation and success will come. It is too soon to roll out the red carpet, but for the Bulls young Mr. Snell is a keeper, and hopefully next summer Dwayne Wade will be speaking of the Bulls silent assassin bringing his ‘A’ game every night.
Tony Snell Mix : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eki8XwRCSro