Balloons were popped and champaign was poured. It was a night when dreams were made and hearts were broken. It was a day which saw a handful of youngsters hoping to be given the opportunity to embark on a journey towards basketball supremacy, and some for even more. As the doors closed and the telephones fell silent, one man felt a sudden resurgence in his basketball career that he had not felt in a very long time. Through all the draft picks and draft day trades, this man was given a second chance; a second shot to revive his career out of the slums of mediocrity. This man is "Steve-O". No, not the dude from Jackass, but he can be considered one as well. It is a shame to see careers that lift off and go the distance in a vertical horizon only to suddenly plummet to the ground in one swift instance. Welcome to the career of Steve Francis.
Steve Francis was a walking condition-bomb; wherein he had to be kept under a certain condition to prevent him from going off. Everyone knew it, but there was little to be done and so many willing to take the risk and hone this potential superstar. He was selected as the 2nd overall pick in the 1999 draft by the Vancouver Grizzlies, and blatantly detested playing in Canada. Seriously, why does everyone hate Canada? He then swore to make the Chicago Bulls regret selecting Elton Brand ahead of him in the 1st overall pick. Without a choice, the Grizzlies traded Francis to the Houston Rockets where Francis made an ass, err.. a career out of himself and earned the name Steve Franchise. The catalyst to containing the potentially-mercurial point guard? Cuttino Mobley. Francis and Mobley not only created an explosive back court, but a lasting friendship as well; even as they were traded together to the Orlando Magic.
A strand of hair was holding the composure of Steve Francis, and that strand of hair was suddenly blown by a gust of wind; and before anyone knew it, Steve Francis broke down. The Orlando Magic traded away the best friend of Steve Francis, and he slowly deteriorated until he was never the same again. Francis fell into a deep slump in the following season which had everyone scratching their heads wondering what went wrong with the league's best point guard. He had lost the love and passion for the game. When it finally came down to it, Steve Francis got himself thrown off the team. He was shipped off to the New York Knicks in hopes of creating one of the most feared back courts in the league at the side of Stephon Marbury; which never materialized as his entire tenure with the New York Knicks was hobbled by recurring injuries. Now, nobody really knows of Steve Francis anymore and he'll only be referred to as "Oh yeah! Him!" when his name is mentioned. One of the best point guards of his time has become an unknown shadow with a single Wink (pun intended). The Chicago Bulls won't be regretting selecting Elton Brand over Steve Francis anymore, so it seems.
The resurrection: On June 28, draft day, The New York Knicks sent Steve Francis packing to the Portland Trailblazers. This is where the resurrection of Steve Francis' career begins. After his sudden plummet from the sky, Steve Francis has finally received the ultimate opportunity to start anew. His career is on the orange zone leaving him with only a few years left if he does indeed remain healthy, but it's a new start nonetheless to try and salvage a few remaining squeezes out of his supposed-superstar career. He has a great opportunity to start and lead his new team with the draft-of-the-decade's ultimate prize at his disposal at the post, and a new back court partner to try and rekindle the burned out flames in his heart after it was broken by the Orlando Magic separation. The only question remaining, other than the health of Steve Francis, is if he still believes that he has an opportunity: Does the man that possesses the killer crossovers and the lethal ankle breakers along with the thunderous slam dunks still exist, or is he now a dead log sitting alone beside the swamp without even the company of the frogs or the flies? He has the support of the world behind his back, especially the ones who used to idolize and look up to the great point guard that he was, but when it all comes down to it, it will be his decision and his will to revive his career. It takes a lifetime to build a career but a few wrong turns can send it tumbling down quickly with much regards to Steve Francis, but that's not the hard part; is he going to have the confidence to climb back up or waste away like Isaiah Rider did?
Pull yourself together Steve, you're not out of it yet.