Steve Francis admits to selling crack on the streets before being drafted by the NBA

In arguably the best piece The Players' Tribune has every posted, the former All-Star details his path through poverty toward NBA glory and his personal failings.

Kahron Spearman

Former Houston Rockets All-Star point guard Steve Francis told his story, via an illuminating piece on The Players' Tribune, talking about his road to the NBA - a path that included selling crack on a Maryland street corner.

Former All-American at Maryland, Francis also talks about his struggles with alcohol and hilarious conversations with Hakeem Olajuwon and Sam Cassell. 

But it's his origin story as a 10-year-old "phone boy" that shows just how far he'd come - in a short time - to make it into the league. 

Id wait outside the Chinese spot and sit on the curb by the pay phone, looking all innocent, and whenever the phone would ring, Id answer. It was always people looking for drugs, looking for girls, looking for whatever. Id tell them where to meet the dealers, and that was it. All day, all night. It would be 50 drugs dealers standing outside on one corner, and 50 drug dealers standing on another corner. And then Lil Steve, posted up by the pay phone.

Though that portion will get headlines - it's not the most astonishing part of the piece. Steve Francis made it to the NBA, as a number two overall pick, having only played in two high school games. 

"Two games, in my entire high school career," he writes. "Can you believe that? I played a little bit for an AAU team, and I played pickup, and that was it. I guess I probably shouldve just kept my head down and worked hard, but you gotta understand how complicated everything is when youre growing up in poverty. We were constantly moving. I went to six different high schools. I had no stability."

But he would find he way to Houston, TX, and play for San Jacinto Community College before playing a year at Maryland. 

"At 18, I'm selling baggies on the corner in Takoma Park, getting robbed at gunpoint," Francis says on his incredible journey. "At 22, I'm getting drafted into the National Basketball Association, shaking David Stern's hand."


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