Wayne Ellington Again Finds Himself In Kobe’s Shadow

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Wayne Ellington is fighting for his NBA life. There is no mistaking the fact that he is running out of chances to have a meaningful career in the United States. For the stars, longevity is a given, as is fame and fortune. For those on the fringe, opportunities are fleeting and  early player evaluations often stick prematurely. Ellington needs this chance with the Los Angeles Lakers to work.

He has to thrive in a role to reclaim the promise that once made him one of the most sought after high school players in the nation and a star at the University of North Carolina. With Kobe Bryant, Nick Young, Xavier Henry, and Jeremy Lin all expected to get minutes, its unclear where Ellington fits on this roster except as injury insurance. That’s a tough situation for any player, let alone a former 1st round pick on his 4th team in 3 seasons.

But Ellington is a Philadelphia guard. He knows how to handle tough situations and long odds.

Philly guards have populated the NBA since its inception. Tom Gola, Guy Rodgers, Earl Monroe, Walt Hazzard, Wali Jones. More  recently Kobe Bryant, Cuttino Mobley, Bo Kimble, Aaron Mckie, Alvin Williams, Doug Overton, Pooh Richardson, Gerald Henderson,Rasual Butler, Ronald “Flip” “Murray, Dion Waiters and Kyle Lowry. They share a common characteristic that is bred from their hometown – grit.

That grit is developed on the playgrounds and youth leagues throughout the city that are so competitive that you need heart just to step between the lines. For every 3 Philly guards that made it, there were 7 more that were just as good that didn’t. In essence thats what a Philly guard is – a survivor.