La légende NBA des Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant, aurait aimé prendre sa retraite dans une autre équipe

The “surviving” Frenchman whom the Lakers saw die

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Inspirational stories and anecdotes abound in NBA history, and some even involve French players. One of them, for example, escaped his fatal fate, and thus was able to proudly wear the Lakers jersey.

The probability of one day being able to play in the NBA is nowadays very small, and was even more so for international players twenty years ago. At the time, French players had to work harder to attract the attention of US scouts, and secure their place in the league. One of the few with a champion’s ring in his prize list could nevertheless have seen his dream annihilated in a very sad way.

Ronny Turiaf’s heroic and unparalleled journey in the NBA

While Tony Parker and Boris Diaw had already made a name for themselves across the Atlantic, Ronny Turiaf landed in the NBA during the 2005 Draft. Selected in 37th position by the Lakers when he left the NCAA, the tricolor pivot had reason to exult. However, examinations carried out a few weeks later by his franchise, and revealing a swelling of his aortic root, jeopardized his career in the league. Basketball Mecca recount :

One of the cardiologists who studied Turiaf said there was a 75% chance he would suffer a fatal episode within the next three years. “The traditional way this disease presents is when a person bleeds, loses consciousness and dies. Turiaf was told that “basketball should be the least of (his) worries” and that he might never play again.

Following such a blow, many players would have lost all hope of one day playing on the courts of the big league. And yet, Turiaf never stopped believing in his chances. With tears in his eyes, he said in a press conference:

I will not disappoint my family. I will overcome this. I will come back to the floor. They’ll have to kill me to stop me.

Also impacted by this terrible news, the Lakers found themselves forced to cancel the contract of their young pivot… but nevertheless decided to keep his rights, in case his recovery went better than expected. Great lords, they even decided to pay his operating and hospitalization costs, while supporting him throughout this process. Turiaf, he continued to keep hope:

I told Mitch Kupchak to bring a jersey to the hospital. He came to see me, and I had tubes in my throat — all over the place actually. But I told him, “I’m going to wear this number 21, I guarantee it.” He didn’t believe me, I know that.

Ronny has yet honored his word, since only six months after his time on the billiards, he made his debut in the NBA under the colors Purple & Gold. Then followed the birth of an immense friendship with Kobe Bryantbut also the conquest of a title with the Heat in 2012, alongside LeBron James.

Almost sentenced, Ronny Turiaf thwarted all medical prognoses, and was therefore able to pursue a glorious career in the NBA. No need to look any further to find a wonderful source of motivation!

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