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Lance Stephenson

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Covid-19
League  NBA
College  Cincinnati (2009–2010)
Salary  9 million USD (2014)
Listed weight  230 lb (104 kg)
Height  1.96 m

Listed height  6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Role  Basketball player
Nationality  American
Name  Lance Stephenson
Siblings  Lantz Stephenson
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Position  Shooting guard / Small forward
Born  September 5, 1990 (age 25) Brooklyn, New York (1990-09-05)
Current team  Los Angeles Clippers (Shooting guard, Small forward)
Education  University of Cincinnati (2009–2010), Abraham Lincoln High School
Similar People  Paul George, Roy Hibbert, Paul Pierce, Josh Smith, Austin Rivers
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Lance Stephenson Jr. (born September 5, 1990) is an American professional basketball player for the Indiana Pacers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He attended Lincoln High School in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn. Stephenson won city basketball championships in all four years of high school, and is New York State's all-time leading scorer in high school basketball. He was named Mr. New York Basketball after his senior year and appeared in the 2009 McDonald's All-American Game. He was drafted with the 40th overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft by the Indiana Pacers and played for the franchise until signing with the Charlotte Hornets in 2014. After three years splitting time with the Hornets, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans and Minnesota Timberwolves, Stephenson returned to the Pacers in March 2017.

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High school career

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Stephenson first caught the attention of scouts at age 12, when Clark Francis, a talent evaluator, saw him play at Rumble in the Bronx AAU tournament. And before his first year of high school, he attended the Adidas ABCD Camp, where he challenged O. J. Mayo to a one-on-one game.

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In the summer of 2005, Stephenson enrolled at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School, but he only attended the school for three days, before the school lost in the championship game of a youth league and he did not win the tournament MVP. The following week, Stephenson did not return to classes at Bishop Loughlin, and was attending Abraham Lincoln High School near his home in Coney Island. National Basketball Association players Stephon Marbury, Sebastian Telfair, and future Seton Hall University star Isaiah Whitehead had also attended and played basketball at Lincoln High. Head coach Dwayne Morton said, "{Stephenson} always talked about outdoing Sebastian, outdoing Stephon,", and called him "The best I've ever had at Lincoln." Stephenson went on to lead the Railsplitters to the city title that year.

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Lincoln High repeated as champions his sophomore and junior years, while Stephenson won back-to-back Player of the Year honors from the New York Daily News. As a sophomore, he was the youngest player featured in the movie Gunnin' for That No. 1 Spot, which followed eight high school basketball prospects. In 2007 as a high school junior he was named to the annual USA Today's All-USA boys basketball team, the only non-senior to be given that honor.

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In July 2008, Stephenson tried out for the United States national team's under-18 team, but was cut because of chemistry reasons.

On February 15, 2009, Stephenson passed fellow Lincoln High School alumnus Telfair's previous record of 2,785 points in the Brooklyn borough title game to become the all-time leading scorer for high school basketball in New York State. In March 2009, Stephenson led Lincoln High to an unprecedented fourth consecutive Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) class AA championship. Stephenson scored a game-high 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the 78–56 final win against John F. Kennedy, and helped Lincoln become the first school in city history to win four straight titles.

Stephenson's high school career ended in the New York State semifinal, where Rice High School beat Lincoln 77–50, and Stephenson was held to 12 points by Rice's Durand Scott, who also beat out Stephenson for the Daily News' New York City player of the year honor. He ended his career with 2,946 points.

In April 2009, Stephenson played in the McDonald's All-American Game, finishing with 12 points, six assists and three steals.

Recruiting

In early 2009, Stephenson chose Kansas, St. John's and Maryland as his finalists, but he canceled two announcements, and his father said that he had narrowed his choice to Maryland and Arizona.

His official visit to Maryland in February came under scrutiny after he was given a tour of the Under Armour headquarters during his visit. This may have constituted a recruiting violation, as Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank is a Maryland graduate and on the university's board of trustees, and by NCAA rules, "representative of the institution's athletics interests" or a booster.

Stephenson initially told reporters he would announce which college he would be attending following the PSAL title game in March, but delayed the announcement until the McDonald's All-American Game on April 1, saying, "I already know where I'm going. This is not the right place [to make an announcement]." On March 31, Stephenson, who had been expected to commit to Kansas during the All-American game's media event, instead announced that he would delay the announcement again.

In April 2009, another top recruit Xavier Henry, who had been released from his commitment to Memphis after coach John Calipari left to take the Kentucky job, announced he would play for Kansas. Because Henry's commitment put Kansas at the 13-scholarship limit under NCAA rules, it ruled out a scholarship offer for Stephenson.

On May 20, the last day of the late signing period, Stephenson had not signed a letter of intent, but his father Lance Sr. told USA Today that he would not make a decision until his sexual assault case from October was resolved. The day before, a judge had adjourned his case until June 29.

On June 30, Andy Katz of ESPN.com reported that Stephenson signed a financial aid agreement with the University of Cincinnati, and he joined the Bearcats for the 2009–10 season.

College career

Questions remained over Stephenson's eligibility because of his involvement in his documentary, but on November 6, 2009, the NCAA cleared him to play in Cincinnati's season opener against Prairie View A&M University on November 15 without missing any games.

In his only season at Cincinnati, 2009–10, Stephenson started 32 of 34 games he played. He averaged 12.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, with a shooting percentage of .440 from the field and .664 from the free throw line. He scored a career-high 23 points against Georgetown University.

He was the leading scorer among Big East freshmen and was named Big East Rookie of the Year. The Bearcats had a record of 19-16, and their season ended in the second round of the National Invitational Tournament (NIT).

2010–11 season

On April 7, 2010, Stephenson announced that he would forgo his final three seasons of collegiate eligibility and enter the 2010 NBA Draft. He was selected by the Indiana Pacers with the 40th pick of the 2010 NBA Draft. In his NBA Summer League debut, he scored 21 points, snared four rebounds and dished out three assists in an 88-77 win over the Orlando Magic in the NBA's Orlando Summer League. Stephenson signed a multi-year contract with the Pacers on July 22, 2010.

On February 27, 2011, Stephenson made his NBA debut for the Pacers in a game against the Phoenix Suns. He played four minutes and had two points, two assists, one rebound and one turnover. Toward the end of the season, the Pacers demoted Stephenson due to ongoing immaturity issues.

2011–12 season

On April 25, 2012, Stephenson recorded his first career start for the Indiana Pacers and scored 22 points against the Chicago Bulls.

2012–13 season

During the 2012–13 season, Stephenson became a regular starter for the Pacers due to the injury of Danny Granger. On May 18, 2013, in game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the New York Knicks, Stephenson recorded a career-high 25 points along with 10 rebounds and three assists to lead the Pacers to a win over the Knicks and advance to the conference finals against the Miami Heat.

2013–14 season

On November 11, 2013, against the Memphis Grizzlies, Stephenson recorded his first professional triple-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists.

Stephenson had his second career triple-double on Friday, November 22, 2013 in a Pacers win against the Boston Celtics. He had 10 points, 10 assists, and 11 rebounds. With the win, the Pacers improved their record to 11-1, their best start in franchise history.

Stephenson recorded his third career triple-double, and his third of the season, on Sunday, December 22, 2013 in another Pacers win against the Celtics. He had 12 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds.

On January 16, 2014, Stephenson scored a career-high 28 points in a win against the Knicks.

Stephenson completed the regular season with a league-high five triple-doubles, and finished second in NBA Most Improved Player Award voting to the Phoenix Suns' Goran Dragić.

He and the Pacers made the playoffs as the top seed in the Eastern Conference and advanced to the Conference Finals, where they lost to the Miami Heat for the second straight year. Stephenson drew criticisms from the press and team president Larry Bird for his trash-talking and attempts to play mind games, such as blowing in the ear of the Heat's LeBron James, with his actions deemed "not professional". However, with Stephenson entering unrestricted free agency, Bird said, "I always want him back. You just don't let talent like that walk away if you can help it," but added, "There's going to be a price and we're not going to go over that." The Pacers offered him a five-year, $44 million contract, but instead Stephenson opted to test the market, believing that he was worth more.

Charlotte Hornets (2014–2015)

On July 18, 2014, Stephenson signed a three-year, $27 million contract with the Charlotte Hornets. On October 29, 2014, he made his debut for the Hornets in their season opening game against the Milwaukee Bucks. In just under 40 minutes of action, he recorded 7 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists in the 108-106 overtime win.

After coming into the November 7 home game against the Atlanta Hawks averaging less than seven points per game on the season, Stephenson won the game for the Hornets in double overtime with a buzzer-beating three-point shot to defeat the Atlanta Hawks 122–119. He also recorded his first double-double as a Hornets player with 17 points and 13 rebounds.

On January 14, 2015, Stephenson returned from a 14-game absence due to a pelvic sprain and had 8 points in 19 minutes against the San Antonio Spurs.

Los Angeles Clippers (2015–2016)

On June 15, 2015, Stephenson was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Spencer Hawes and Matt Barnes. He made his debut for the Clippers in the team's season opener against the Sacramento Kings on October 28, scoring 7 points as a starter in a 111–104 win. On December 2, he scored a then season-high 19 points in a loss to his former team, the Indiana Pacers.

Memphis Grizzlies (2016)

On February 18, 2016, Stephenson was traded, along with a future first-round pick, to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Jeff Green. Three days later, he made his debut for the Grizzlies in a 98–85 loss to the Toronto Raptors, recording 16 points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal in 22 minutes off the bench. On March 11, he scored a career-high 33 points in a 121–114 overtime win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

New Orleans Pelicans (2016)

On September 14, 2016, Stephenson signed with the New Orleans Pelicans. After sustaining a groin injury on November 4 and being subsequently ruled out for six to 10 weeks, the Pelicans waived Stephenson on November 7.

Minnesota Timberwolves (2017)

On February 8, 2017, Stephenson signed a 10-day contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He made his debut for the Timberwolves that night in a 112–109 win over the Toronto Raptors; in his first game in three months, he hit his first two shots and scored six points, grabbed two boards and had an assist in his first eight-minute shift. On February 14, 2017, in a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Stephenson suffered a Grade 2 ankle sprain. On March 8, 2017, after recovering from the injury, Stephenson signed a second 10-day contract with the Timberwolves. On March 18, the Timberwolves decided not to sign Stephenson for the rest of the season.

Return to Indiana (2017–present)

On March 30, 2017, Stephenson signed with the Indiana Pacers, returning to the franchise for a second stint. On April 2, 2017, in a 135–130 double overtime loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Stephenson scored four points and committed five fouls in 18 minutes of his first game since returning to Indiana.

Personal life

Stephenson is the son of Lance Sr. and Bernadette Stephenson. He has a younger brother named Lantz.

Stephenson received his "Born Ready" nickname from Bobbito García, a courtside announcer at Rucker Park, in the summer of 2006 during a game against older players. Stephenson had just played in a youth all-star game as the only rising sophomore out of the 24 top high school players in the nation, and the adult game that followed was a player short. Garcia said, "I'd seen him go up against seasoned NBA veterans, seasoned college cats, high school kids two or three years older than he was, and he was always reppin', so I just called it. He's Born Ready." Stephenson tattooed the nickname on his right biceps, and also allowed a video crew to document his life for an online reality show titled "Born Ready".

Off-court troubles

In January 2008, Stephenson was suspended from school for five days and missed two games following an altercation with a teammate. In October that year, he was arrested for groping a 17-year-old inside the school. He faced a Class B misdemeanor sexual assault charge, and his parents ended the "Born Ready" reality show following the arrest.

On August 15, 2010, Stephenson was arrested for third-degree assault after allegedly pushing his girlfriend down a flight of stairs. The case was eventually dismissed.

References

Lance Stephenson Wikipedia


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