Jan 14, 2011, 8:40 PM EST
Jason Richardson, who has spent his basketball career in such cold-weather climates as Phoenix and now Orlando, grew up in Saginaw, Michigan. And when he was a kid, he wanted to be…. Jarome Iginla? Or maybe Mario Lemieux?
He wanted to play in the NHL more than the NBA. That’s what he told the Orlando Sentinel.
“Definitely, I liked it. I could score, but you couldn’t really hit people,” he said, laughing. “We couldn’t check, but I found a way to bump into kids and make them fall over.”
But finances ended his NHL dream. He was in a family of six children growing up without a father. His mother was the breadwinner, working at Toys ‘R’ Us and Red Lobster while also attending school.
“My feet just kept growing, like size 12 or 13,” said the 6-foot-6, 225-pound Richardson. “It’s hard to find skates that big. You had to get them custom-made.
“We didn’t come from a wealthy family, and there were hard times. My mother always found ways to make ends meet, but some of those skates cost hundreds of dollars.”
He adds something that Gary Bettman would love to hear — he didn’t think of color as a barrier to hockey.
“We were the type of kids in my neighborhood who played everything — hockey, golf, basketball, football. We didn’t look at hockey like it was a black or white sport,” he said. “I loved the game. And being from Michigan, we always had frozen water.
“Some people used to laugh at us, man. It’s uncommon for black kids playing hockey even today. They look at it as a predominately white sport. We didn’t discriminate, as long as the sport was fun.”
- Knicks snap nine-game losing streak by crushing depleted Nets 0
- David Stern issues statement on passing of Nelson Mandela, players take to twitter 5
- Kobe Bryant sounds close to return, will not offer specific date 4
- Knicks and Nets might not remain so mockable for long, so enjoy it while you can 13
- Derrick Rose to those doubting his return: “You can be a fool if you want to” 13
- LeBron says Wade is “getting that Kobe deal” in next contract. Should he? (64)
- The Extra Pass: Our awards at the quarter pole, plus Monday recaps (42)
- Michael Beasley finding a role, groove in Miami (41)
- Kobe Bryant dunks, looks good in Lakers practice; Friday return possible (38)
- Dwight Howard frustrated with Rockets’ effort in recent losses (36)