Chris Douglas-Roberts had a successful career at Memphis, going to a national championship game in 2008, and became a household name for college basketball fans. Drafted by the Nets that year, Douglas-Roberts played three seasons in the league for two teams and found himself in Italy during the NBA lockout. Without a contract, his journey back took him through training camp with the Los Angeles Lakers?where he learned he had Kobe Bryant in his corner?to being signed and released by the Dallas Mavericks, playing for the D-League?s Texas Legends, a summer league stint with the Lakers, a training camp with the New York Knicks, another stint with the Legends and, finally, a contract with the Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets) in December. Through it all, he has remained open and encouraging to anyone who reaches out to him?athlete and non-athlete?in need of motivation. This past weekend, the NBA invited Douglas-Roberts to join NBA veteran Nazr Mohammed and NBA alum Keyon Dooling to Chicago to speak with NBA hopefuls at the NBA Draft combine. It was a proud moment for Douglas-Roberts and gave him a moment to reflect on his journey. We caught up with him via email to hear more about his story in his own words.   For someone reading this who might not be familiar with your story, how would you describe your journey from a kid dreaming about making the league to where you stand today? Damn, this is a tough question because I feel I have so many important sub stories in my journey for the readers to fully understand. I definitely feel I have more of a unique story than a lot of my peers even though we may look like we've taken similar roads, from the outside looking in. To make it short and simple, I'd describe it as?the rise, the fall, the fall, the fall, the rise again. I've had big success in high school, college and pros and I've also had big falls, but my outlook and how I handled the adversity is what makes my story a little different. Sometimes I get offended by being compared to players because I feel I've gone through things they haven't. Not discrediting any one, but you have to be a cold-blooded killer to have gone through what I have and come out with a smile and no scratches. Just new wavy hair.   How did it feel when you got the call that the league wanted you to share your story with their next generation? I felt honored. I really did because I feel like I have a responsibility to the youngsters anyway. Especially these youngsters who are coming in our league. They didn't want me to necessarily share?my?story, but they just wanted me to come in and talk about life in the NBA, women, preparation, transitioning from college to the NBA, etc. I just wanted to at least give them the opportunity to avoid the mistakes that I made when I was coming up. I gave them my all, too. I wore ripped jeans and Chuck Taylors with a button-up and a gold chain so they could look at me and see them. I'm not a 16-year vet like Nazr or a retired vet like Keyon Dooling wearing suits. I'm hip like them so I think it meant a little bit more to them. They received me well, too. I just basically gave them the game that I've learned from my journey up until that point in a real way...real delivery. On the other hand, I felt accomplished because that's something I envisioned myself doing. Speaking publicly, uplifting people to go pursue their dreams. Telling them that hard work does trump all if you don't disrespect the process. That was actually a goal of mine. I'm just happy the NBA reached out to?me,?ya know? A Detroit kid with the crazy hair and tattoos. That gesture alone says they respect my mind and that's always flattering. I felt like Kanye when he said "they got the dropout keeping kids in the schools," when a local high school asked him to come speak to the students. It's like it is a new wave of intellects. We can wear ripped jeans and gold chains and still be taken seriously.
  [caption id="attachment_24432" align="alignright" width="300"]Image via YouTube Image via YouTube[/caption] What are some of the things you wish you knew when you came into the league and what is the best advice you've been given? If I could do all this shit over the same exact way, I would. My journey has made me the person I am today and I'm happy with who I've become. Every obstacle, I've learned valuable life lessons that I incorporate in my life every day. Even in my darkest times there was a lesson. I've mastered my mind where I have no bad days. I don't have negative thoughts. If there is a moment where things aren't going as planned, I find the positive in there and focus on that. If things went more smooth for me, I probably wouldn't have that mentality. My journey has also given me the mentality that?the weak must die. Its not fair, but that's what it takes to be be successful in professional sports. This is a war. You have to strategize and conquer to reach your goals. The reason I'm back where I am is because I learned strategy and I learned the weak must die in this. All learned from my journey and mistakes. You have to always find a way. My strategy was to dominate D-League (kill the weaker competition) (no disrespect) and eliminate all the possible liabilities. The main one I wanted to eliminate was that I could only score when dominating the ball. So Raft (my trainer) and I set a goal. Which was to shoot 40% from three and be top-20 in the league in three-point shooting. And I did it! That's just one of many. All strategy. I've gotten so much advice in this journey. Two that stand out are from my homie [music producer] Chase N. Cashe and my other homie Bean [Kobe Bryant]. One night Chase and I were talking when I was with the Knicks. Things were looking shaky I could see what was coming and I just couldn't figure out what to do to break through. I knew I had game and so much to offer, but I couldn't get over this damn hump. So him and I are talking in Harlem and somewhere in the conversation he just told me "figure it out." Nothing more, nothing less. Just "figure it out." It seems like something simple but its life. You have to figure this shit out. Nobody cares about your problems. Figure it out or be another statistic or pity story. Well, thats how I took it. After that, I put it all on me. Fired the agent I had at the time and put my future in my hands. I said if I don't make it it's on me and nobody else. And I figured it out. Bean basically told me something similar. He told me to go be special. He told me that the only person that is stopping me is me. He told me that I don't give myself enough credit and once I do I'll break through. Whoever you have to kill to get to where you're going just kill them. It's not personal. Bean respects my game so he really wants to see me do well. He's a basketball fan before anything.   You often reach out to fans via your Instagram and Twitter accounts. How does it feel to know so many people around the world?athletes and non-athletes?take inspiration from your path and approach to things?
?I'm Not a Star? I'm Not a StarI'm Not a StarYou've often talked/tweeted about different books you're reading. Which books have you taken the most from or would you recommend to someone in need of motivation?The Energy BusHow did it feel to end up in Charlotte this year and play alongside Michael Kidd-Gilchrist? He has spoken about your influence in his life since before he was drafted.?How would you sum up the CDR movement to someone who might not have encountered it yet?
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