Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside has been the breakout star of the NBA this season, putting up unexpectedly huge numbers.
Whiteside’s path to the Heat hasn’t been easy. He was drafted in 2010 by the Sacramento Kings but failed to make an impression. He hopped around to several NBA teams, the D-League, and international teams until he finally landed with the Heat this season.
As recently as three months ago he was working out by himself at a YMCA and waiting for an NBA team to call.
However, Whiteside almost never even made it to the NBA because of a near life-altering car crash he suffered when he was 10 years old.
Whiteside told the story to Palm Beach Post:
“This was back when I was 10 years old. I was walking to the store in Gastonia and I got hit by a car when I was crossing the highway. I had to go to the hospital. I messed up my knee real bad, and they had to use defibrillators to bring me back. It was pretty traumatic.”
Whiteside also mentioned that doctors felt he might have trouble walking normally, let alone playing sports. His growth plate had been hit by the car and doctors thought his legs would be two different lengths.
Whiteside’s development wasn’t affected and he grew to seven feet with two equal-sized legs.
Whiteside credits the numerous obstacles he encountered before breaking through as the reason for his toughness.
This season, Whiteside has been one of the best big men in the league since the Heat signed him off the street. In 2015 he’s been averaging 14.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks per game on 66% shooting, turning the heads of all the teams who overlooked him.
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