Box And One With Rafer Alston

By Wesley Chism Jr.
Updated: December 23, 2008

SEATTLE – Houston Rocket guard Rafer Alston has been playing basketball for as long as he can remember. “Some of the best memories of my life have been on the basketball court”, said Alston.

He’s affectionately known as “Skip 2 MyLou” and is considered to be a playground legend while growing up in Queens, N.Y. He really burst onto the scene during the AND1 Mix Tape Tours where his ball handling, passing and dribbling skills woudl bring fans out of the stands.

“Those were really some very special times and I credit AND1 with a lot of the success that I’ve achieved today”, Alston added. “I still have kids coming up to me that ask me to autograph those tapes.”

His first few years in the league were plagued with various minor injuries, but serious enough to keep him on the bench. “Now that was really tough, watching my teammates without being able to contribute”, said Alston

“During those times I learned that there are a number of ways that I can still contribute to success of the team, even if I’m not on the court.”

“It seemed like every time that I got healthy something would always happen and it affected mentally for a minute because I began playing cautiously and you can’t do that in this league if you want to be successful.”

It has taken a lot of hard work, patience and perseverance for Rafer to be play in the NBA for the past eight years. “Many people thought that I wouldn’t be able to make the necessary adjustments to catch on with a team in the NBA”, Alston said

Rafer watches countless hours of game film and studies as much as he can about his opponents. “There’s so much to learn about this game and our entire coaching staff does a great job of getting us prepared.”, said Alston

During the off-season his in the gym at least twice a day and plays as much basketball as possible. “I typically lift the most weights during this time and really focus on my core.”

Rafer always gives this advice to rookies coming in the league. “Listen and learn from the veterans around you and be willing to except their advice”, Alston said.

“Most importantly understand that there’s always another lesson to be learned to become successful in the NBA.”