Title: ‘You’re really not far’: A week in the NBA’s minor league, where a moment could change everything
Date: February 17, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I spent a week with Raptors 905, the minor league affiliate of the Toronto Raptors, writing about what life is like in the G League and why so many players fight through such a tough grind with slim chances at achieving their dream.
Michael Bethea Jr. sits in his Los Angeles home, unsure of what his basketball future holds.
His phone rings, too late on this Sunday evening to be anything other than an important call. As Bethea and his girlfriend listen to his agent, Pedro Power, on the other end, he tries to play it cool. He’s been close before. This call — informing him that he’s being signed by Raptors 905, the G League affiliate of the Toronto Raptors — is just the latest in a series of starts and stops.
It has felt like a long wait for another opportunity. As far as distractions go, his newborn son, Dax, has been a pretty good one. In between workouts with J.R. Smith, Nick Young and Bobby Brown to stay game-ready, Bethea has been learning to be a father on the fly and enjoying every minute. Dax’s arrival, though, has also offered an alarming jolt: Bethea’s basketball career is no longer just about himself and his own dream.
Now, his career choices are about his son, too, which makes this upcoming make-or-break opportunity with Raptors 905 all the more important. It could determine the next few years of not only Bethea’s life but also Dax’s.