Box And One With Earl Watson

By Wesley Chism Jr.
Updated: April 8, 2008

SEATTLE — As a youth growing up in Kansas City, Kansas, the Seattle Supersonics point guard Earl Watson decided earlier on in life that he wanted something different and decided to make better choices than some of his friends.

“I saw many of my friends get caught up in street life, lose their lives or became incarcerated”, said Watson. Basketball became his safe place and kept him out of trouble during his youth.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have a Father that has always been there for me and giving me advice”, Watson said. “That’s really what has separated me from falling victim to many of the traps that face many other young African American men.”

I’m sure having a couple of older brothers helped keep him in check too.

I had the opportunity to meet Earl Watson Sr. this season before a Sonics home game and only my father could possible be more proud of their son. I told him that his son’s a pretty good player and he replied,” Yes, he’s getting better all the time but do you know what he did in Denver?” No, what happened?

This is what Mr. Watson told me.

Earl had heard about a young girl, in Denver, that was diagnosed with cancer and her family didn’t have the funds to pay for her medical treatment. Earl went to the hospital to and spoke with the family to see if it would be okay to handle the finances for them.

They agreed and the young lady got the treatment that she need and made great improvement. Earl visited her while she was going through chemotherapy and the two became good friends.

When Earl was traded to Seattle, he continued to stay in touch. For awhile things looked great and that she was going to beat this decease. Upon receiving a call that she had to be admitted back into the hospital Earl rushed to be by her side until she took her last breath.

“As professional athletes, we often times get so caught up in our own personal lives that we forget about things that truly matter in this world”, said Watson.It’s easy for someone to look and say how much that I may have helped her but she did the same for me.”

“My life was changed forever and I’m grateful to have been able to help.”

After hearing this story a lot of things started to make sense to me about Earl Watson. There’s this young man (14 years old) that waits for him outside before every game, regardless of the weather conditions, just to talk to him.

One day Earl stopped to speak with him and the two struck up a friendship. My question was why? “There are so many youth that are in the crossroads of their lives right now and don’t have anyone that takes an interest in them”,Watson said.

“Some of these kids are being raised by a single parent that’s doing the best that they can or have been bounced around in foster homes. What these kids really want is to know that someone is listening to them and care about how they feel.”

Earl Watson came be seen all around Seattle at various community activities and is always seeking more opportunities to speak with kids and give them a little hope or encouragement.

He may never win a scoring title or slam dunk contest but he’s an MVP in the hearts of many that know him.