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NBA Player Dedicates Big Night to Grandfather

Anfernee Simons, fourth year guard for the Portland Trail Blazers, has been carrying the burden of high expectations. After spending two years mostly riding the bench and a third up-and-down year in a backup point guard role, this has been his breakout year. With two stars players out on extended injury leave, Simons has been called upon for a massive uptick in playing time and scoring.

The pressure sometime results in Simons being down on himself, especially if he isn’t playing particularly well. He doesn’t want to let down his teammates, the coaching staff, his mentors, or the fans that cheer for him.

Despite a recent slump in production from Simons, none of that burden seemed evident during a recent game against the Atlanta Hawks. That night, Simons played free and easy, recording a career-high 43 points on 13-21 shooting. Asked what changed, his answer was simple: “I really can’t take credit for how I played tonight. Sadly, my grandpa died last night from cancer. This is all him, honestly. I give credit to him, dedicated this whole game to him.”

Simons had just returned from visiting his grandfather, Jake Carter, with whom he had a close relationship during his developmental years. Several days prior, Simons had been required to enter the COVID-19 health protocols, which required him to be away from the team. So, he chartered a private plane and made a trip back to Florida to visit Carter. It was a refreshing time of family connection.

Simons said, “It was a bittersweet moment cause, obviously, I didn’t know it was the last time I would actually see him. I’m kind of optimistic in those kinds of scenarios. But it kind of worked out how it was supposed to.”

Though Carter later passed away after Simons returned, he obviously had no regrets. “I knew kind of in the back of my mind that it was going to be a great night because he’s there. My Papa was there to help me along the way.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

Even in our latter years, we can still impact generations to come with love, faithfulness, and wisdom that will help them along in their success.

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