It's always sad to watch a pro athlete- or anyone, for that matter- go down the wrong path and lose his or her way. It's even sadder when an innocent person gets hurt as a result. From college standout to alleged criminal, former Lakers draft pick Javaris Crittenton has been charged with the murder of 22-year-old Jullian Jones. The murder happened on the night of Aug. 19th in Atlanta.
Crittenton was a solid college athlete at Georgia Tech, both on and off the court. He was a four-time team captain, demonstrating leadership and poise that his teammates clearly respected to some extent. He was also an exceptional student, holding down a 3.5 GPA throughout his college tenure.
The Lakers selected Crittenton with the 17th pick of the 2007 NBA Draft. He never got much playing time with the team that season though, and was involved in the Pau Gasol trade of 2008. He spent only eight months with the Memphis Grizzlies before he was dealt to the Washington Wizards in the final month of 2008.
That's where his troubles began.
Crittenton was involved in the infamous Gilbert Arenas gun debacle, as reports came out in early 2010 that Crittenton and Arenas had drawn guns on one another in the locker room over a gambling dispute. Crittenton made a huge mistake, and was punished with a hefty 38-game suspension.
It appears that Crittenton didn't learn his lesson. Now he's caught up in a much bigger mess, connected to the murder of a young mother of four children. Crittenton, apparently, did not intend to shoot Jones but was rather trying to get revenge on someone else for robbing him back in April of this year.
How ironic is it that the very city in which Crittenton built his basketball foundation- the city in which he played college ball and developed into a first-round draft pick- would be the same city in which he committed an innocent murder less than four years later?
The whole situation is unfortunate. Let's hope that everyone- athletes and non-athletes alike- take a page from this incident and remember what's really important in the world.