In the NBA, It's 10 Days for the Rest of Your Life

By Noah Davis 

This week in Sports Illustrated, Lee Jenkins pens a story on Zabian Dowdell (who has a really impressive Wikipedia page).

The former Virginia Tech star is wandering around the fringes of the NBA, and Jenkins follows the point guard while he’s on a 10-day contract. Dowdell turned down $750,000 in Europe to try to make the NBA. As his agent tells Jenkins, “For Zabian, it’s NBA or bust.”

The story offers a good portrayal of the trials and tribulations of the 10-dayers. It’s a thankless life, filled with uncertainty and worry.

A 10-day must be assertive but deferential, seizing his moment while knowing his place. When the Suns warmed up, Dowdell dribbled near half-court, pantomiming his jumper as veterans launched three-pointers. When the team huddled outside the locker room, he stood on the edge of the circle, hands in sweats. When the game began, he sat at the end of the bench, the first one rising to cheer.

We won’t ruin the ending, but you can probably guess what happens. Dowdell is about as far away from Carmelo Anthony as one can get.