Jordan Crawford's homecoming is celebrated in Detroit

After being inactive with the Hawks for two road games in Detroit, Jordan Crawford, center, finally got the opportunity to play in his home town on Sunday.
After being inactive with the Hawks for two road games in Detroit, Jordan Crawford, center, finally got the opportunity to play in his home town on Sunday. (Duane Burleson/associated Press)

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 8, 2011; 12:20 AM

Before Jordan Crawford returned to his home town for the third time this season on Sunday, he joked that it wouldn't be a big deal because most of his friends and family in Detroit were "tired of me by now."

Little did he know that his mother, Sylvia, had planned to celebrate the fact that Crawford was actually going to play when his team arrived at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Sylvia Crawford rented a party bus replete with catered food from a local "chicken shack," which showed DVDs of all three of her basketball-playing sons and played music from her personal collection, which ranges from Aretha Franklin to Jay-Z.

"Who doesn't like Jay-Z?" she asked, as nearly two dozen people, including her husband, Joe Sr., used the sizeable vehicle to get from Detroit to Auburn Hills for the special occasion.

Crawford's support team cheered him after he made a difficult, twisting layup, or found JaVale McGee cutting to the basket for a dunk. He had seven points and three assists in the Washington Wizards' 113-102 loss to the Pistons after being on the Atlanta Hawks' inactive list on two previous trips.

"We've been out there each time and we just kind of saw him looking very handsome in a suit. He looked good, but . . ." Sylvia Crawford said.

"This was a monumental success for him, because he really was not a sure shot at this. Everybody knew he had the talent, and everybody kind of prayed for the rest to happen."

The rest has started to come together for Crawford, once a person who stood in his own way, mostly from an inability to focus and maintain his grades in school. Crawford later had to overcome other struggles that were out of his control.

He had a serious ankle injury that cost him his senior season in high school, transferred from Indiana to Xavier in the wake of the Kelvin Sampson recruiting scandal, and was drafted 27th overall by a playoff team in Atlanta, where he appeared in just 16 of the first 56 games.

And, now Crawford has been presented another opportunity after the Wizards acquired him from Atlanta in a five-player deal that involved Kirk Hinrich.

He has appeared in all six games since joining the Wizards, receiving his first career start in a 103-96 win over Minnesota and having the chance to close out a game against Dallas in which he hit a game-tying jumper in the final minutes.

"Every game I play is fun, because I haven't played all year," Crawford said. "It felt good to get my first start, I'm glad we got the win. That's the main thing you want to do. I'm getting more comfortable every game I'm here. I'm glad I get the opportunity to play. I hope I get to play here for a long time."

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