The Post has published plenty of long looks at Roy Hibbert’s unlikely transition from an awkward high school basketball player at Georgetown Prep to a dominant NBA big man. Mike Wise did this nice column from an all-star game two years ago, for example.
But here’s an anecdote that was new to me. It comes from Lee Jenkins’s fascinating examination of Hibbert’s rise in this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated, which is well worth your time. But the Washington parts are, not surprisingly, of most interest to me. Especially the time a teenage Hibbert met Kwame Brown.
A World Wrestling Entertainment event came to Washington in 2001, and 14-year-old Roy Hibbert bought tickets with his friends from Georgetown Preparatory School. “We got the foam fingers and the Rock T-shirts and everything,” Hibbert remembers. In the crowd he spotted 19-year-old Kwame Brown, the Wizards’ freshly minted No. 1 draft pick. Hibbert left his buddies to introduce himself. There is a difference between a tall teenager and a tall teenager who is a basketball prospect, and as Hibbert approached, Brown appraised him. “He looked me up and down,” Hibbert says, “and then he walked away.”…
He committed to Georgetown as a sophomore, and with urging from [then-Prep coach Dwayne] Bryant became a regular in the school’s famed pickup games at Yates Field House. He once rode in Patrick Ewing‘s H2 Hummer. He marveled at Michael Jordan switching sneakers for every game. He played against Randy Moss. But not all his memories are so pleasant. Hibbert was as big as a skyscraper, and also as mobile. “Alonzo Mourning abused me,” Hibbert says. “Mike Sweetney put me in the basket. I got my ass handed to me a lot.” He heard, secondhand, that one of Georgetown’s colossal alums cracked: “If Roy Hibbert is going to be the Hoyas’ center, it will be a long four years.” But there’s something else the Georgetown giants said, with astonishment, every time they saw Hibbert returning to the gym: “He always comes back for more.” He was finally challenged.