Jamal The Great « Just Me Against The World


Jamal The Great

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Certain things in life are more important than simply being rich and famous. I know, it’s crazy concept, right? But money can only buy you so many things in life. Mostly stuff that you probably don’t even need. Then there’s fame. Fame will probably get you laid so I guess that’s not such a bad thing. But to me, being a great human being pays more dividends than any fat paycheck or quick hit ever will. Whoever said “never meet your heroes/idols” obviously didn’t have NBA star Jamal Crawford aka J Crossover  in mind. Rewind back to before Jamal signed with the LA Clippers four years ago. I always admired his game. He had and still has one of the deadliest crossovers in the business (hence the nickname J Crossover). But because he played for other teams, I didn’t get to watch him as much as I wanted to due to me being too cheap to pay for NBA League Pass. Once the Clips signed him, he quickly became one of my favorite players. Just as much off the court as on it.574889315_Hornets_Clippers_0257

For being a professional athlete, Jamal is very approachable and friendly. He never comes across as stuck up or too good to talk to fans and even remembers names of fans that he meets, which is more than I could ever say about myself. When you’re talking to Jamal, he makes you feel like he’s more excited to talk to you than the other way around. You quickly forget that he’s an NBA super star. The only three time winner of the Sixth Man of the Year award. Mr. 4 Point Play. Jamal Star.

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Now fast forward to January of this year, 2016. One of the worst moments in my life, when our big bro Scott Bui passed away. We all got hoards of supportive messages from friends and family members. But one person – one player – one Jamal Star took it above and beyond to pay respects to Scott. With assists from Drew Ruiz and Mark “Air MAG” Genato, Jamal used a silver Sharpie to ink “RIP Scott Bui” on the outer shells of his royal blue Brand Black J. Crossover III sneakers for the Clippers vs Rockets home game at Staples Center. Mark had texted me earlier that evening to tell me to keep an eye out for something Jamal was going to do during the game. I wasn’t in any mood to go to the game that day so I gave my tickets away and watched on my TV at home. Then early in the first quarter when Jamal checked in, I saw the shoes and was at a loss for words, which doesn’t happen very often. For a brief moment, all of the pain and sadness had left my body. I started texting all of my friends to watch the game and see what Jamal had did for Scott. Anyone who wasn’t a fan of him or the Clippers, quickly became one. How could they not be? The Clippers ended up winning that game and Jamal lit it up with 17 points and 5 assists while hitting some huge shots in overtime. After the victory, he tweeted this pic. Class act all the way.

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Not too long after, the Clippers as an organization did a presentation for Adriane (Wei) Bui and his kids, Brandon and Lauren, at a Clippers vs Lakers game. I actually need to write a blog post about that as well, but I’ve been really lagging. After the game, Jamie Lee took me up to Jamal for the MVP Photo Night and he literally jumped up and walked over to give me a huge. He told me that he was so sorry for the loss of Scott and to let him know if there was anything that he could do to help. I told him that he had done plenty and that all of our friends and family were huge Jamal fans because of what he did. My sister and mom already loved Jamal even before all this. So did my boys Kevin Liao, Peter Kim, and Dex Chu. He took a pic with me pointing at my Bui Yah shirt and said that he was going to keep wearing the shoes for good luck then give them to Scott’s family when he was done.

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Throughout the season, Jamal kept rocking the “Scott Bui Shoes” and I joked that he was the only NBA player that wore the same shoes for longer than 2-3 games. Not to mention that they were his own signature shoes with Brand Black so he could switch them out every quarter if he really wanted to. But no, not Jamal. He would continue on with the SBS for the remainder of the regular season and all through the playoffs. There were a handful of games where he wore different shoes then he’d go back to the SBS again if he was in a shooting slump. People would text and tweet us saying “Jamal is wearing the SBS so he’s going to have a great game tonight.”

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At the LA Clippers annual charity bowling event, Jamal saw Dex, Kevin, Stanley Liu, and me on the Black and White Car Rental/Bui Yah Team. He came over and put on a Bui Yah shirt then took pictures with all of us. I had him sign a grip of stuff because my sister and mom were at the hospital waiting for the arrival of my baby niece. He assured me again that he was going to keep wearing the shoes until the season was over then give them to Scott’s family. He kept his word.

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After the Clippers post season came to an abrupt end, Jamal gave the SBS to Drew to hand over to me. That happened a couple of weeks ago, but I was in China on business. I got back the night of July 3rd and Drew gave me the SBS on the 4th of July during basketball and just in time for Adriane Bui’s birthday on July 5th. The timing couldn’t have worked out more perfectly. When she opened her gift bag, she said “Oh my. Are these the shoes?!” She was so excited and took a picture holding the shoes with her kids by her side. It was a very emotional day for Adriane, for obvious reasons, but the kindness that Jamal showed had made everything much better.

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The next day I messaged Jamal to thank him and tell him that Scott’s family had the shoes now. He actually turned it around and thanked me for it. Like what? I didn’t even do anything other than get his shoes to Scott’s family. He’s the one who made it all happen. Even just thanking him doesn’t seem like nearly enough. No words can express the amount of gratitude that we all have for Jamal. That’s why he’s always going to be labeled as greatness to me. A great basketball player. A great role model. A great human being. Jamal just signed a 3 year, $42 million deal to stay with the Clippers. Kevin and I have wanted Jamal to retire as a Clipper and this contract almost assures it. We keep saying that our season ticket renewals depend on Jamal staying with the team. Congrats on the new deal, Jamal! Much deserved. Anyone that wants to dispute that can take their opinions elsewhere because I’m not hearing any of it. I’m actually trying to figure out a way to fit Jamal’s name in when I have my first kid. Jamal Chu. That might confuse people. Eh. I’ll figure it out when the time comes.

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“Thank u man!! Those shoes broke some records this year,only right Scott’s family got them.” – Jamal Crawford

#BuiYah

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2 Responses to “Jamal The Great”

  1. margaret egan says:

    You can certainly write Ricky,my throat was tight the whole time,tears streaming down my face,Jamal Crawford is as priceless as he is ageless,a wonderful human being,and to be honest any one that say you are their friend is also privileged
    Scott Bui lives on in many hearts

  2. Great story, Ricky. And a great blog too. I took the liberty of doing a little tribute of my own. You can watch it here: https://Vimeo.com/BenchOnaQuest #BuiYah #ClipperNation #BenchOnaQUEST

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