Leon Powe has battled the odds all his life. The story is familiar by now:
When Powe was 2, his father left home for good. When he was 7, his 5-year-old brother accidentally set their Oakland duplex afire while playing with matches, and their family lost everything. His mother worked such long hours to try to support her seven children that Powe had to repeat the fifth grade after staying home for most of the previous year to take care of his younger siblings. For several years, the Powes bounced around from homeless shelters to drug-infested tenements to motel rooms to foster homes. Powe’s mother got involved with drugs, was convicted of shoplifting and twice arrested for collecting food stamps without informing her temp agency employer. She did jail time.
Powe’s ordeal was not over. While attempting a dunk that spring, he tore the ACL in his left knee. He decided against surgery and while wearing a knee brace he led his team back to the state title game as a senior.
In April 2004, he underwent bone graft surgery to prepare for major reconstructive knee surgery the following September. He sat out the 2004-2005 season.
You can't help but pull for a kid who has been through so much and has come out still fighting. All of the setbacks in his life has made him work even harder.
“The best part,” Powe said, “was it taught me to cherish anything you have, always work hard and don’t take anything for granted.
He’s different,” Rivers said. “You tell him he’s not good enough at something, and he’ll go work at it. You tell another guy he’s not good enough at something, and he’ll go pout and call his agent.”
“I’ve got a special place for what he’s gone through,” Rivers said. “He’s a survivor. That’s a characteristic that I think every coach wants on his team.”
I wouldn't count Powe out. Even on a team that is loaded with young players ahead of him in the rotation, his work ethic and determination will win him playing time. I expect him to make the most of any time he gets and, similar to Gomes last season, will be the surprise of this year's draft. He worked so hard this summer that he added 3 inches to his vertical leap since the draft. I love his attitude and his work ethic.
He asked for Number 0 for his jersey because people give him zero chance to play. He is determined to prove them wrong. I, for one, believe that he will. [More] source:Worcester Telegram
With his determination to overcome obstacles, and with Cliff Ray's ability to make big men better, I'm hoping for Leon Powe to find a lot of success in the NBA, especially for us. He may be a tad bit short for your prototypical PF, but his arms are extremely long and that allows him to play bigger than he is.
He's regarded as one of our toughest players (mentally, and I'm sure physically as well) and he's putting all of his emphasis on rebounding and defending (but would like Coach Rivers to know that he can provide some offense if he would like him to do so).
Down the road, if Al is the real deal, he's the starter. Gomes and Powe are going to have to battle it out for the backup spot. Powe is the tougher low post matchup while Gomes is a bit more versatile because he can play some minutes at SF. But it should be a good battle between the 2.