By Poras Siganporia
March 11, 2020. It was on this somber day that one of biggest professional sports leagues in all of America came to a dramatic standstill. This was a day that, unfortunately, will be etched in the memories of all basketball-loving fans for many years to come.
Just several days prior, COVID-19 had decimated and wreaked havoc on the U.S. stock market, causing stocks to drop to record all-time lows. The coronavirus had just begun to scorch the U.S. economy, causing panic, and raising ever-growing fears of a new and devastating global recession. And just days earlier, international air travel was halted all around the world in several countries. The devastating and life changing impacts of COVID-19 was just starting to become clear. But on March 11th, 2020, the coronavirus shifted its sinister focus. It now had a new target. A new host to wreak havoc and cause chaos on. And this new target was one of the most popular professional sports leagues all across America and most of the whole world: the National Basketball Association (NBA). What was becoming even more obvious by the minute was that even sports would not be spared from the coronavirus’s wrath.
Just hours before a regular season basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz was set to tip-off, the devastating news broke. The NBA had just announced that one of its players, Rudy Gobert (2020 NBA All-Star and 2019 Defensive Player of the Year) of the Utah Jazz had tested positive for COVID-19. NBA referees, soon rushed to the court, and quickly notified players and coaches that all NBA games had been postponed. Shocked and panicked, fans exited the stadium in confusion. Players on the court were hastily ushered into the locker rooms and separated from the media. And all-over social media, millions of basketball fans around the world were in despair at the utter chaos that was unfolding before their eyes. Hours later, the NBA immediately ceased operations, and the league announced that all play would be suspended for the next 30 days, and later on indefinitely for the foreseeable future, due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic. For NBA owners, executives, players, coaches, staff members, and die-hard fans of the sport, there was no more mystery as to what was going on. By now it was very obvious what had just happened. The world of basketball and the NBA had just come to a halt.
A very shocking, screeching, abrupt halt.
There would be no more intriguing regular season games, to anticipate and look forward too. There would be no more championship title-defense aspirations for the upstart Toronto Raptors; a team who just previously had captured their first ever NBA championship in 2019. No more basketball fan’s fantasies of the ever-captivating “Battle of L.A.” matchups between two of Los Angeles’s hottest and most talented basketball teams; the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers. And most importantly, there would be no more intense, exciting, pulsating, on the edge playoff elimination basketball games; games which brought out legendary performances from the NBA’s best and kept diehard basketball fans glued to their seats and TV’s. No more basketball, at least, for the time being that is, until the league determined when it would be safe to re-start its operations. As the NBA started to devise new plans and come up with creative alternative options to restart the league at a future date, likewise NBA players all around the league too, started to make new changes to their life. Once the NBA hiatus period and quarantine lifestyle began in the Spring of 2020, for many players their lifestyles changed dramatically too. From previously spending and devoting hours upon hours of their lives every day to shooting hoops in the gym, studying the X’s and O’s of their playbooks, and watching non-stop film sessions, to now having an abundance of free time for relaxation and leisure, many players soon realized they now had a lot of free time on their hands. So, what did some players do with all this free time? Well, very simply, they did what most everyday Americans would do. They spent time with family and friends. They relaxed by playing video games such as Fortnite and watching popular TV shows on Netflix. They made entertaining videos using the booming social media platform, TikTok. And they also engaged in everyone’s favorite low-key desire: catching up on some good ol’ sleep.
But during those crazy times of lockdowns and quarantine, there was ONE NBA Player from the Brooklyn Nets whose unique and special story truly stood out from the rest. For this NBA player, those times of never-ending quarantine were the perfect time for self-introspection, reflection, and brainstorming for new career goals, dreams, and aspirations. It was during these ever-changing times that one player found his new calling for the future. His name? Garrett Temple. And his newly discovered aim? To obtain a law degree after his basketball playing days are over. During his long hours spent in quarantine, Mr. Temple decided to start seriously exploring the field of law and make one of the biggest investments in his future life. He devoted hours of his time to studying for the nightmare-inducing entrance exam, all prospective law students have to endure: the LSAT. In his own words, in an interview for YES Network, Mr. Temple expanded on his interesting new endeavors that he is undertaking in the world of law. “I’m going to be honest, I’ve been sleeping a good amount, but also trying to take on a new task. I’ve actually started practicing for the LSAT prep,” Temple said. Mr. Temple went on to further elaborate that, “I’m a person that’s thought about going to law school when I’m finished playing. What is a better time than now to be able to put in three or four hours a day of studying for a test that allows me to get into law school? So that’s what I’m doing right now.”
For Mr. Temple law school and a career in the legal profession always seemed like a natural inclination. Just like basketball, law was firsthand in nature for him as he says, “I’ve always been a big-time debater. I am pretty literal. When I get into arguments, I’m a person that you probably want to stop arguing with because I’m going to nitpick everything you say.” It was fairly obvious from his words that Mr. Temple possesses the passion, drive, and ambition to purse a career in law in the future.
Looking at Mr. Temples current life as a basketball player in the NBA, it is safe to say that he is not truly one of the best players in the league; let alone a bona-fide superstar. Frankly, even the most die-hard basketball fanatics of the sport would be hard-pressed in knowing who Mr. Temple is. For the current 2019-2020 NBA season, Mr. Temple finished with averages of 10.3 points per game, 3.5 rebounds per game, and 2.5 assists per game. All decent numbers and averages for his career; but yet NOT mind-blowing, superstar, MVP like numbers. However, what cannot be disputed is the fact that Mr. Temple has accumulated an impressive amount of dough, from various lucrative NBA contracts and years of playing in the league. And rightfully so, Mr. Temple’s hard work and dedication to improve his craft on the court, has allowed him to live a well-deserved life that some individuals can only dream of. Approximately, it is estimated that Mr. Temple has earned more than $25 million dollars and counting, through his 10-year career so far. To the average observer, it seems that Mr. Temple is currently living the dream life. Making boatloads of money, while being able to have a career based on one’s favorite passion? Sounds fun to me. Sign me up.
So interestingly enough, it begs the question? Despite all the money and success, what is Mr. Temple’s motivation to go to law school and enter the legal profession? What sparked his desire and craving to become a lawyer in the future? Well for starters, Mr. Temple’s father had a role in shaping his future for years to come. As Mr. Temple says, “ My dad kind of put a seed in my head. I was thinking more MBA. I have my undergrad degree in business, so I was thinking more MBA. My dad was telling me law school is something that’s pretty prestigious having a law degree and teaches you to think in a different way.” Later on, another truly inspiring life changing event would take place in Mr. Temple’s life. This event would solidify his ever-growing commitment, desire, and drive to serve, benefit, and empower his community through the power of law. Earlier this year, Mr. Temple had the special opportunity, to meet Bryan Stevenson. For many aspiring lawyers and individuals dreaming of pursuing a legal career in criminal justice reform, this name surely rings a bell. Mr. Stevenson is currently a clinical professor at the NYU School of Law. However, he is most popularly known for his noble work and time he dedicates to freeing wrongfully convicted inmates within the American incarceration system. Mr. Stevenson is also the inspiration behind the dynamic character played by Michael B. Jordan, in the truly riveting and inspiring feature film, “Just Mercy,” which tells the story of a Harvard lawyer who dedicates his life to fighting for the rights of wrongfully convicted prisoners. Meeting Mr. Stevens and other attorneys while learning about the immense opportunities in the field of law to benefit one’s community, has convinced Mr. Temple to make law a career after his basketball playing days are over. As Mr. Temple expressed in his own words, “Then getting into the space of watching that movie “Just Mercy” and talking with Bryan Stevenson, having a conversation with him and a few other lawyers that I admire, just understanding how much of an impact you can have with a law degree in a lot of different ways,” Temple said, “You don’t necessarily even have to practice law, but just having that knowledge is something that intrigues me.”
And how intriguing and inspiring Mr. Temple’s story truly is. At the end of the day, Mr. Temple is no Lebron James. No Kevin Durant. No Stephen Curry. He is far from that, and far from being a major superstar in this league. Mr. Temple most likely will never make an NBA All-Star or All-NBA team in his career, and most definitely will not get inducted into the NBA’s “Hall of Fame,” when his basketball playing days are over. But despite this Mr. Temple is special, and a true inspiration in his own right. His commitment and drive to enter the field of law while obtaining his law degree, in order to benefit and empower his community, is by no means a small feat. In fact, it is a tremendous accomplishment, as several attorney’s and current law students can attest to. If anything, Mr. Temple, has proven one major fact, that, he really is no “one-trick pony,” and is a man of several unique talents and skillsets. Not only is he a fairly successful NBA player but now, he is also planning on becoming an impactful attorney, while looking to use the law as a tool to change society for the better. As Mr. Temple says, “I think you can create a lot of change in your own community… Help change the prison industrial complex and school-to-prison pipeline in my community, the black community.”
Now that is truly an inspiration.
Brian Lewis, New York Post, “Nets Garrett Temple Using NBA Coronavirus Pause to Start Law School Career, https://nypost.com/2020/03/26/nets-garrett-temple-using-nba-coronavirus-pause-to-start-law-career/
Cassandra Negley, Yahoo Sports, “Nets Garrett Temple Fills Extra Time with Sleep and LSAT Prep”, https://sports.yahoo.com/coronavirus-nets-garrett-temple-fills-extra-time-with-sleep-and-lsat-prep-155039560.html
Rob Goldberg, Bleacher Report, “Nets Garrett Temple Studying for LSAT During NBA’s Coronavirus Hiatus”, https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2883282-nets-garrett-temple-studying-for-lsat-during-nbas-coronavirus-hiatus
Samir Kumar, NothinButNet, “Brooklyn Nets Garrett Temple’s LSAT Prep”
ESPN, NBA Statistics, Player – Garrett Temple, https://www.espn.com/nba/player/_/id/4023/garrett-temple
Budget and Invest, “Garrett Temple Net Worth”, https://budgetandinvest.com/2018/07/17/2443/#:~:text=Although%20he%20spent%20his%20last,worth%20sits%20at%20%244%20million.&text=An%20eight%20year%20NBA%20veteran,be%20old%20in%20NBA%20years.