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Alston says he left to be with suicidal sister

Mar 10, 2010, 9:41 AM EDT

Rafter Alston was not happy about losing his starting job, but that is not why he just went AWOL from the Miami Heat last week.

It was about being told he was no longer going to play and deciding that looking after a twin sister who tried to take her life just a few days earlier was more important.

“The way I handled it was wrong,” Alston said Tuesday in his first public comments since leaving the team last Friday. “I didn’t really tell [team officials] why I was leaving.”

Alston broke his silence to Ric Bucher of ESPN. Alston story of his twin sister, Racine, puts a different face on his decision. But not how he handed it, simply texting the team, is something he understandably regrets.

Alston is one of the few players to be able to transfer his And 1 street game — Skip to my Lou — to the NBA hardwood. He bounced around but had an 11-year career.

The announcement leaves the Heat in a bit of an awkward spot — just dumping him now makes the franchise come off as calloused. While this was poorly handled, if he had requested time off to be with his sister it would have been granted. Now they have a choice to make.

The challenge for Alston is that these types of incidents and his fearless, fiery personality mean other teams are not likely to pick him up. If you’re going to take a risk, you do it with someone 24 not 34.

“It’s been a tough and long year,” he said. “I’ll be 34 in July. If I can come back and play one more season, that would be great. But if not, I’m still happy with my decision. I played 11 years and had a solid career. Maybe I didn’t leave Miami the right way. But I left for the right reason.”

  1. indypacers - Mar 10, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    whether he stays inthe league or not,,,,,,
    he’s a better player thana lot of other current players (but talent has never really been an issue in the NBA–it’s the other intangibles that keep guys around. So, basically you have 10 talented players and a bunch of very marginal guys surrounding them.
    his decision was just, and if the league would rather have tattooed, titty bar, gun toting (Americans) and select Euros on the roster great–it’s NBA business. If they want personalities like (Skip to my Lou) he’ll be on the roster and will bring a few more butts to the games.

  2. nimrod - Mar 10, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    I don’t care one way or another…I always admired his game…I thought last year when J. Nelson was injured he came in and led the Magic to the finals and then they benched him in favor of a rehabilitated Nelson. I think that changed the entire complextion of that series and did not help the Magic. They should have allowed Alston to start. After all he did lead them to the finals. But God bless Racine and him and wish nothing but the best for him!!!

  3. Ajaax - Mar 10, 2010 at 7:25 PM

    I watched him last year in the finals & yes, he was a credit to the success of his team. I do believe that he is a very talented player in this league, but he has much work to do with his maturity. He has to learn about what’s best for the team, not just for himself. I admire him for putting his family 1st in this latest matter. Coaches & team management take all of this into consideration, team chemistry is vital to team success. Mr. Alston has to take responsibility for his actions & grow as a person & a “team” mate. The Miami Heat gave him an opportunity to do just that, I’d love to see him remain with them. Wishing him the best & hopefully he’ll get another chance! God Bless

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