Woj Article on Lowry
Old 03-19-2014, 07:39 PM   #1 (permalink)

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Default Woj Article on Lowry


Interesting read...

"I told him, 'If you squander this opportunity, this is it for you,' '' Billups told Yahoo Sports. "I kept telling him, 'You going go Toronto was like me going to Detroit.' That was my last real chance, and that was the case for him there now, too.

"Kyle's always been a little stubborn, a little bit of a know-it-all. Those things held him back. But I think he finally looked deep into the mirror and realized, 'Hey, it's not my game that's causing problems, it's everything else.'
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Old 03-19-2014, 07:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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They were sitting in the 17th floor's corner office, long glass windows offering a majestic city scape, and Kyle Lowry listened to a most mild-mannered man raise his voice louder and louder. Masai Ujiri, the Toronto Raptors president and general manager, was hired with a mandate to transform this franchise, and he understood nothing could speed the process faster than the point guard transforming himself.

So on the eve of training camp, something irritated Ujiri, and this episode promised to be the final conversation these two would ever have on the matter of Lowry's maturation. All this talent, all these disappointments, and Ujiri had a determination to speak his mind and leave Lowry to make the choices that promised to dictate his future with the Raptors.

Ujiri climbed out of his seat, marched across the room, lifted a binder from his desk and pretended to pass it into imaginary hands. Someday, Ujiri told him, this will be you walking up to NBA general managers at the Chicago predraft camp, trying to get a scouting job. They'll want no part of you, no part of your reputation. Ujiri told Lowry he'd be playing out his career on one-year deals on the low end of the NBA's salary scale.

Once and for all, Masai Ujiri told Kyle Lowry the truth.

Oh, how Ujiri loves Lowry's game his talent, his ferocity, his intellect and how he wanted him to understand: Spare your career this maddening, self-fulfilling prophecy and honor a relentless summer of conditioning and commitment with the best season of your life.

Ujiri didn't hear excuses out of Lowry, only noticing his knowing nods and hurting eyes. Lowry was listening. Finally, he was listening.

From Ujiri to Lowry's agent Andy Miller to his NBA mentor Chauncey Billups, this had been the summer of tough love and tougher introspection. Ultimately, the truths coated Lowry like a second skin: He was pissing his promise away, trading All-Star winning talent and long-term financial security for a loser's legacy and journeyman status.

Most of all, it was needless. Lowry's too talented. He's too competitive. For so long, his stubbornness had been channeled into the wrong ways, the wrong energies. In a point guard league, Lowry had the gifts and grit to be an All-Star and a winner. At 6-foot-tall, he had to be fiercer, tougher and unrelenting. As much as that had long taken a toll on his opponents, it took something greater out of Kyle Lowry himself.

"I had to look at myself in the mirror," Lowry told Yahoo Sports over a shrimp salad inside the e11even restaurant in Rogers Centre. "I know what people are saying now, 'Oh it's a contract year,' but it's bigger than that for me. Yes, I want a contract. And then I want to outgrow that one and get another one. But I want to win. I want to grow. And to grow, you've got to be able accept coaching.

"You've got to be able to be coached."

Lowry, 27, has transformed himself and transformed a franchise this season. When everyone expected the Raptors to be liquidated for draft picks, young players and salary-cap space, Lowry played the biggest part of holding the team together and chasing an improbable Atlantic Division title. He does it all for the Raptors, and he's rapidly validating himself as one of the NBA's finest point guards.

For the season, Lowry's been magnificent, averaging 17.2 points, 7.9 assists and 4.7 rebounds. Across the past 15 games, he been even better: 19 points, 9.3 assists and 5.7 rebounds. Most of all, the Raptors are winning 37-29 and in third place in the Eastern Conference.

Ujiri passed on a chance to trade Lowry at the deadline, and wants to sign him to a long-term extension this summer. Lowry could command $10 million-$12 million a year on the market, especially in a summer where the Los Angeles Lakers have cap space and a running mate for Kobe Bryant.
Fatherhood changed so much for Lowry. He's married to his childhood sweetheart, Ayahna, a 1,600-point career scorer at St. Joseph's University who understands the game's ups and downs. What's more, the birth of his 2-year-old son Karter has made those nights of bringing home his frustrations merely memories. At day's end, he sees that young boy reaching out to him, and it all washes away. Lowry isn't a father, he says. "I'm a daddy." His own father was never in his life, but Lowry reads books and plays games and takes a bundled Karter for walks in the Toronto cold.

"You can't take your problems from your job home, because you will really impact your life there," Lowry says. "I can't be mad at something that happened two games ago and take it into the next day. Now, it's over. If I get mad at [Jonas Valanciunas] or get into it with DeMar, man it's got to be over.

"And once you learn to do that with yourself, you can do it with others. I'm my own toughest critic, but I've learned to let it go and try again tomorrow. And that's helped me with the rest of the guys, too."
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Old 03-19-2014, 07:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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This article got me thinking that Lowry must be aries, (don't believe in horoscopes, but in personality traits based on birthday)
Google search confirmed my guess
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Old 03-19-2014, 08:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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This is promising if he has truly accepted the voices of Ujiri and Casey.

So much of the reason Lowry and Miller connected as agent and client had been Miller's willingness to tell him the truth, to never placate Lowry over his early missteps with excuses. If nothing else, Lowry's fiercely loyal, and part of him always knew he needed those voices in his life – even if he wasn't fully ready to listen.
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Old 03-19-2014, 08:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Article is a good read. I'm just hoping he re-signs this off-season.
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Awesome article! Did not know Lowry was a trouble maker or at least perceived like that. Just great to see he is past all of that now and playing some really nice basketball. Also, Masai deserves some credit for helping him getting past that.
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:17 PM   #7 (permalink)

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the issues were well known, but not the extent - this is the first time I heard it was that bad.
definitely explains why he was snubbed for the all star selection - no way coaches will select a player that is such a nutcase if they can avoid it.

on the other hand, it bodes well for the future, any doubts that his great season is due to him being in a contract season should be invalidated. Hopefully this is the beginning of a new level in his career.
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Old 03-20-2014, 12:35 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Great article.

On an early March afternoon, Lowry sits inside the e11even restaurant and finds so much satisfaction out of the way the lunchtime crowd gravitates to him. They want a winner here, and it means the world to Lowry that he's becoming synonymous with the franchise's renaissance. An old Villanova and Raptors guard, Alvin Williams, told Lowry something upon his trade to Toronto that still resonates.

"If you ever get this city to the playoffs, they'll never forget you."
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Old 03-20-2014, 04:28 AM   #9 (permalink)
and a 1, and a 2, and a 1,2,3,4!

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Originally Posted by Thug View Post
Great article.
it's true. playoffs to raps fans and to this city would be insane.

this year, if the leafs don't choke, could be a 3/4 year for toronto sports. Hockey playoffs and basketball playoffs? That'd be fucking nuts. And we have lowry to thank for that.

now if only the jays got their shit together....
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