I think it’s safe to say that of all four rookies the Sacramento Kings drafted this past summer, Kings fans are most excited about Skal Labissiere. Not only did Labissiere play well in Summer League, but he’s got a winning personality and a fantastic story.
For those that don’t know, Labissiere grew up in Haiti, and was there during the devastating earthquake in 2010, and was lucky to survive. Since then he’s grown to be one of the top basketball recruits in college basketball and ended up a first round pick in the NBA.
Vice recently did a fantastic background on Labissiere and his journey, and here’s just one terrifying excerpt:
Then the earthquake struck. A wall collapsed on Labissiere's back, and forced him into a crouch that would make his legs go numb for weeks. Underneath the rubble, he couldn't see a thing. He couldn't move. The only hint of the outside world were screams: cries for help from families, friends, a whole community of voices outside, pleading for familiar voices to respond. Labissiere and his family, trapped inside, were screaming only for recognition, signaling for anyone at all who could hear them to help. Labissiere did this, too, until the moment came when he stopped believing help would arrive.
"After 30 minutes or so, I just physically gave up," he says. There's no point in trying to scream, he remembers thinking. Nobody's gonna hear us. Stuck in that crouch, Labissiere's faith numbed with his legs. He pictured the end—of his dreams of basketball and the future, and of his life. He assumed that his father, nowhere in sight, was already gone.
"That's when my dad came on top of the rubble and yelled my mom's name out," Labissiere says. "[It] definitely opens your eyes about life. Before that, me and my little brother complained about things that we didn't have. After that experience, we were way more thankful for life. You see how quickly things can change, whether it's from good to bad or bad to good."
For more on Labissiere and his journey, check out Vice’s article (h/t to Dcloud25 for linking it in the FanShots).