Originally written on Crossover Chronicles  |  Last updated 11/11/11

Sundiata Gaines is a player you may not be too familiar with, but he has one of the most inspirational stories of anyone in the NBA. Rather than feeling sorry for himself and making a big fuss about the lockout, the New Jersey Nets guard is using the time to reflect on the value of life.

When Gaines was four years old, he got shot in the neck in a freak accident. An off-duty police officer dropped a suitcase with a gun in it and the gun went off. The odds of that happening must be astronomical, but Gaines recovered.

Gaines went on to have a very interesting basketball career. The New York Daily News goes into great detail about his journey. He’s one of those guys who gets bounced around and is constantly signing new 10-day contracts. Last season he was finally able to land a two-year deal with the Nets, but if this season is lost, there’s a chance he may never see the benefits of that contract. With a lost season, he could go back into the free agent pool, fighting with dozens of other guys to land their spot on a roster.

"It's real tough,” said Gaines. “Imagine now, I have a contract now and if we don't have a season, I'm back to being a free agent again. It's like being back to square one.”

For now, Gaines is playing overseas in Georgia, making the most of the lockout time like so many other NBA players while they wait for a deal to be worked out. He’s trying to stay optimistic.

"To me, it just seems like the sides are going back and forth,” said Gaines. “Lot of millionaires and billionaires arguing over money and at the same time losing out on money which could potentially be a loss to everybody - over some millions of dollars which, they could have made that during the season. It's tough, I'm pretty sure it's tough for the fans. But hopefully, something gets settled. I think it will."

Amidst all the gloom of whining players and owners, I love when a positive story pokes through the clouds like this one. Sundiata Gaines is making the most of his life, which he considers a gift after what happened to him when he was just a kid. He is one of those guys just trying to make a living doing what he’s best at. It sucks when rich people arguing over money can get in the way of that.


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