Haynes: How tragic murder of brother shaped Earl Watson


Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com posted an inspiring piece on how tragedy helped shape Trail Blazers guard Earl Watson into a “helper.”

Haynes writes that before the tragic murder of Earl’s younger brother Eric, that Watson’s life was 100 percent basketball and after that moment, everything changed for Watson.

“Words can’t express what I felt,” he said. “I felt like we were so far removed from the inner city, so far removed from all the sudden adolescent deaths that I experienced around my friends, you think you’re on the right path and then all of sudden life hits you again. And it hits you closer than you would have ever expected.

“Mentally, it took a toll on me and I could feel it affecting me more mentally. The pressure of trying to figure everything out was too much. I stayed away from Kansas City for a long time. I would just come and visit a week at a time because it was too much pain. That’s how I ended up staying in Los Angeles after college.”

After all the anguish and despair Watson dealt with from his hometown, it would have been more than understandable for him to wash his hands from the city. Instead, he did some soul searching. He started committing more time to his spirituality and life was finally being put into perspective.

His outlook had changed.

“I used to be 100 percent basketball,” Watson admitted. “Trying to pursue perfection as a basketball player. I really didn’t give a lot of time to balance my life through spirituality, through community or even spending enough time with my family. I was so focused on basketball. I was overly focused. I was in a box. I had tunnel vision on what I wanted to do in this league in order to give Eric a better opportunity financially. In a way, losing my brother kind of grounded me. It made me more balanced.  It taught me to never take any moments for granted and focus on capturing every moment as much as I can.”

The whole piece tells much more and right before the holidays is a perfect time to have a reminder of what really matters. Read the rest of it here.

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on ESPN.com's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

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