Did NBA Player Charged With Murder Buckle Under Pressure?

Javaris CrittentonIt's another case of the chicken and the egg. Is the plethora of criminals in professional sports a commentary on the industry as a whole? Or is it a bunch of rotten apples bringing their bad backgrounds into the game? The case of Javaris Crittenton, former NBA guard arrested this week on murder charges, might give us an answer.

Let's look back to a time before the 23-year-old was facing charges of shooting 22-year-old Julian Jones, a mother of four young children. Back before he was kicked out of the NBA. Back before he was even a professional baller.

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Javaris Crittenton was a kid who was going to make something of himself. The hottest prospect to enroll at Georgia Tech since Stephon Marbury, he carried a 3.5 GPA out of his Atlanta high school. He was a member of the Future Business Leaders of America and the Senior Beta Club. This was no dumb jock.

The guard helped lead Georgia Tech to a 20-12 record and a berth in the NCAA Tournament in 2007. As a freshman, the team's coach considered Crittenton a team leader. This was a kid with an impressive collection of game tape because that's what he spent his time doing -- studying tape. Not tearing up the town.

And then he left. Crittenton only spent one year in college before he declared himself ready for pro ball. Drafted by the Lakers in May 2007, Crittenton was 19 when he started what would be his three-year stint bouncing around the NBA. It was three years that would take him from smart, driven guy headed somewhere to idiot who got involved in a gun duel in the Washington Wizards locker room with then-teammate Gilbert Arenas. Suspended for the rest of the season, Crittenton never really made it back. Released by the Wizards, he was signed by the Charlotte Bobcats and then released.

That was last fall. Today he's looking at a murder charge for allegedly shooting Julian Jones in Atlanta. Her death is thought to be an accident -- one of the men she was with was supposed to be the real target of the bullets. Regardless, Crittenton went from this bright young kid to suspected murderer in just five years. FIVE years!

Coincidence? I think not. The money and fame of professional sports can be as much a bane as a boon when you're a young kid just coming into your own. It's certainly not an excuse for his alleged behavior, but at the very least, it could be an explanation.

Do you think this was a case of a bad apple or did the NBA take a toll on this kid?

 

Image via brookenovak/Flickr

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