Pro-basketball swing man Maurice Evans' career began as an undrafted free agent rookie in 2001 with the Minnesota Timberwolves and has, for the moment, culminated in Washington as Evans states, "the Washington Wizards have fulfilled their roster" with the club's recent signings of Martell Webster and Cartier Martin The addition of youthfulness with the choice of "potential over experience," as described by Evans, has the 33 year-old 6' 5" guard/forward and current Vice President of the NBA Players Association on the outside looking in for the 2012 season.
"I just spoke with Ernie Grunfeld last week and they offered me a job in management," revealed Evans who declined the front office position citing the belief of, "still having a lot to give on the court as a player and in the locker room," adding, "it's not quite time to hang up the playing shoes just yet."
When you talk about a man who works hard at his craft, shows up to work every single day, does all of the little things that it takes to be a professional basketball player, it's no wonder that he has stuck around the league for so long.
His long and winding road continued with stops in Los Angeles, Orlando, Atlanta and Washington. Although his teams never captured the coveted Lawrence F. O'Brien trophy, he is the owner of fond playoff game memories.
"Very blessed in having the opportunity to play in some big games; specifically with the Pistons, going to an Eastern Conference Finals, eventually losing to Miami ... beating Cleveland that same year with a young and exciting LeBron James. With Orlando, we had some success going to the second round," reminisced Evans noting reaching the playoffs in each of his three seasons with Atlanta,
"Very fortunate to be in the playoffs every year of my career besides Washington," recounted the eleven year veteran hoping one of 30 NBA clubs deem his services still roster-worthy in 2012.
Since he is a person that has always been under the radar, not many people know that he is the VP of the NBA's Player Association. His contributions have gone unnoticed as he was conducting business in New York City last week. "I went down to the competitions committee meeting and made a few decisions. Also, was in attendance to support Billy Hunter; we're excited (the players) about the Union going forward and all of the wonderful things that Mr. Hunter has done for the players."
While he will never be remembered with the greatest professional basketball players of all-time, one thing is for certain. Whether he chooses to hang it up or take a managerial position, this is a man that played hard, played with class, respects the game he loves and has earned everything that has come his way. A true professional in every sense.
Here are a few excerpts from the complete audio interview.
Fast Life: Your Wizards this past season struggled again. Didn't make the playoffs and I understand that it is a very young and rebuilding team. Your thoughts pertaining to this past year?
Evans: Just had a really young team. Our inexperience, we just couldn't overcome that. A lot of mistakes cost us, especially early in the season. Unfortunately, I won't be a part of the organization as they have set their roster for the upcoming season. I wish them nothing but the best.
Fast Life: Can you clear the air concerning the reports coming out of Washington pertaining to the Wizards players as far as their immaturity,not taking their job seriously,not caring. Did you witness any of that last season?
Evans: I wouldn't characterize it in that way. For me personally,the players there were just growing and maturing in the league and being young,there are a lot of things that they just don't know. As young men, you make a lot of mistakes. I think it's kind of unfortunate that our players in general are put on a pedestal because we are so talented on the court. In reality,we're not role models because we are so talented in what we do. A lot of us come from broken homes, a lot of guys struggle with their decision making concerning money and this fast paced life. That is why I'm proud being a part of the Union because now we can tap into what is really going to help guys grow as young men,to have a sense of purpose and really grow on and off the court.
Fast Life: Having played with both Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard, will it work out for the best down in LA now that they are teammates?
Evans: Yes. I couldn't see why it wouldn't. Kobe is a great player. I'm sure that he will help Dwight reach his full potential.