Rebounding: Overall, it’s an extraordinarily underrated aspect in the game of basketball. The ball is shot at your team’s rim an average of 83 times in the NBA this season and in a game where possession is key, rebounding is golden.
Enter six-team NBA journeyman Reggie Evans. This story has been written before, but it’s worth the rewrite after last night’s nearly unheralded 18 minute, 14-rebound performance in the first Brooklyn-New York game in any sport since 1957.
As is the case with all close games in the NBA, last night’s matchup between the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks at the Barclays Center came down to a possession here and a possession there.
But if you go ahead and Google “Reggie Evans” and limit the search to the last 24 hours (meaning you’d get results from the Nets’ wins against the Blazers and Knicks in less than a 36-hour span, where he’s averaged 3 points and 14 rebounds), the most relevant links on the first page, are “Reggie Evans grabs 14 rebounds vs. NYK,” from Rotoworld and a tweet from SI’s Chris Mannix:
“Disliked,” is most definitely an understatement.
Imagine being a forward or center who plays 30-35 minutes and having to deal with a 6-8, 245-pound, 18.5 minute per game rebounder who never stops hustling for a rebound or loose ball at either end. Evans was voted the dirtiest player in the league last season by his peers because of the ‘Never say die’ mentality his surroundings taught him. He’ll never stop playing hard and won’t ever stop challenging his opponents beneath the rim until the day he hangs the laces up, because the mentality was ingrained in him from a young age.
“I learned in the streets,” said a smiling Evans, whose tough times growing up happened in Pensacola, Fla. “My friends was in the streets, my brother was in the streets. If it wasn’t for the streets I probably would have quit, so it’s thanks to the streets, you know. In the projects, I lived next to the court, you know what I’m saying? There was always basketball going on.”
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