Salim Stoudamire had every opportunity to become a very typical NBA story. Arrives with high expectations, some NBA-ready skills, and that word "potential."
Then, after three seasons, he had never really made himself into an essential part of a team, even though his Hawks' rosters were hardly overloaded.
Guys like that often wash away into distant memory.
But he's a sincere guy, and someone people like to root for, so I think a lot of people will be happy to read his latest conversation with Sekou Smith of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Smith says Stoudamire looks like a new, much happier man.
And Stoudamire, with a new team and a new attitude, could hardly have landed in a better place.
After waiting all summer to find a new home the former Hawks reserve guard has found one in San Antonio with the Spurs. He signed a two-year deal with the Western Conference power and moves into a place where there is a glaring need for some scoring punch off the bench.
"They invited me out there three times and let me know they were interested," Stoudamire said. "They wanted to see how I could fit in with their guys. They knew I was talented but they wanted to see if they could incorporate that into their system. Then [three] days ago Gregg Popovich called me and told me how much he wanted me to come to San Antonio and we came to an agreement and that's how I got there."
After three tumultuous and disappointing seasons with the Hawks (he played in 61 games in each of his first two seasons but managed to make appearances in just 35 last year), Stoudamire knows his position in the league is tenuous, at best, right now. That's why he isn't taking anything for granted.
"This is definitely my second chance and it might be my last chance," Stoudamire said. "But I know how to turn negatives into a positive. After these three years in Atlanta I can say that I've finally become a man. Being in a situation where I wasn't playing, it humbled me. It made me appreciate just being in the NBA a lot more. It made me work a lot harder and realize that this is a blessing. There are only 400 and something guys in the NBA and billions of people in the world. So once you take that into account, your focus is there, your clarity is there and you can move forward."