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"Basketball is everything to me", from a shocking injury to professionalism: Kevin Ware's journey

di Iacopo De Santis
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Ph. Vilma Sappinen
Ph. Vilma Sappinen

2013. Elite Eight. Louisville against Duke. Kevin Ware tries to block a shot and falls down on the ground. He suffered an open fracture. The photos went all around the world. NBA Stars as  James, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant supported the guy. "Forget me. Just win this damn game", he said to his teammates. They did it. After few days, the Cardinals overcomes Wichita State and later Michigan, winning the 2013 NCAA Championship (the title was stripped by the NCAA in 2018). To PianetaBasket.com, Ware talks about those days and the injury: "Truly now all that stuff is such a blur, it’s been so long but I will never forget winning the championship here in Atlanta", he said.

Everyone should remember that team. There were Peyton Siva and Chane Behanan, who both played in Italy few years ago, Luke Hancock (the "hero" of the final, who retired after a short experience in Greece), and other NBA players as Gorgui Dieng, Montrezl Harrell and Russ Smith. "Of course, most of my teammates and I keep in touch. We talk regularly!", Ware said.

After the injury, Ware stayed another year in Atlanta. In 2014 he transferred to Georgia State University, where he started the 2014–15 season with two years of eligibility. In the last NCAA season he averaged 11.6ppg with 3.7rpg and 3.1apg. Good numbers that "launch" him into professionalism. He played the 2016/17 season between BC Brno and Kauhajoen Karhu in Finland. Then, he had other experiences in Europa and not only, as he was part of the roster of the Faros Larissas (greek team) and the London Lightning in Canada. Before the Coronavirus outbreak, he was playing in Finland with Korihait, making 13.1ppg, 6.1rpg and 3.1apg. "I would say that the biggest difference between overseas basketball and college basketball is the physicality. It’s a lot more hand checking and rules that the states use that fiba doesn’t. Fundamentals are so key playing professionally", he said.

Today Ware is 27 and still keep trying to follow his dream called NBA. After a bad injury, he was able to become a professional player and continue to play basketball, which is the most important thing: "Basketball is everything to me", he said to PianetaBasket.com. "It’s got me out of a lot of dark situations. It’s molded me to work harder than I have for anything ever and I truly just love the game love working and getting better being better than the next man. I’m waiting out my options with the Covid-19 virus going around, but the goals always been the NBA. If not that, then the next highest level of basketball possible".

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