WOODLAND HILLS Jason Hart spent nine years playing in NBA arenas, flying on chartered planes and enjoying the perks of athletic celebrity. Today, he works in a high school gym that could use a serious makeover.
The basketball floor at Taft High School is scuffed, scratched and unpolished. The wooden stands need replacing. The building, which has the airplane-hangar look of an antiquated gym from the 1950s, could use a fresh coat of paint.
But Hart is happy. This is where he wants to be, where the next chapter in his life is about to unfold far away from NBA lockouts and contentious negotiations.
Hart, who played at Westchester and Inglewood high schools and starred at Syracuse, is the first-year basketball coach at Taft. He's working for a modest stipend and won't get paid until the season is over, but he needs to do this if he wants to achieve his ultimate dream of becoming a college coach.
"This is just another part of my story, my journey," he said. "...