New L.A. Lakers coach Darvin Ham is tough. As a player, he played with passion and tenacity. But what a lot of people didn’t know, his toughness comes from a dark place. Darvin’s childhood memories were a lot to take, but they made him tougher and stronger.
That s**t changed me forever
Ham grew up in Saginaw - the same place that Draymond Green grew up in - and the situation there was no joke. There were street gangs, and Darvin grew up on the dangerous side because there was a lot of gun violence. He saw his friend get murdered and had to be his pallbearer. It was traumatic at 15 years old, and Ham claimed it changed his life forever.
“I had to be his pallbearer, bro. One of the darkest moments as a 15-year-old going on 16, was having to put white gloves on, sit in front of the church, take that casket to the hearse out of the church, put it in the hearse. That s— changed me forever.”
Darvin survived a gunshot himself. It took place just two seconds from their house. He was shot in his right jaw, and the doctors had to remove the bullet from the left side of his neck. Others who went through the same ordeal would have easily gone to the dark side, but Ham credited his family and parents for guiding him.
Tough childhood molded Darvin Ham
Ham used those memories in his professional career. Known as a role player who averaged 2.7 points and 2.3 rebounds, the new Lakers coach enjoyed eight years in the NBA. The power forward even ended his career with a championship in 2004 as part of the Detroit Pistons.
What’s the secret to his longevity, given he wasn’t used that much? Darvin Ham promised to give the fans something to watch every moment he spent on the floor. He dunked and blocked shots even in garbage time. When others got mad at him, Ham explained there was no garbage time in the NBA.
“Yo, this is the f—ing NBA, bro. There ain’t no garbage time. Anytime is good time. You’re on the NBA court.”
Lakers fans have another reason to tune in next year. A new coach has come to town, and he’s as real as it gets. Darvin Ham outlived the nightmares of his childhood. Now, it’s time to transfer that toughness to a loaded Lakers team led by one of the greatest players in LeBron James, who is chasing his fifth NBA championship.