DERRICK Caracter is coming over to Globalport armed with having learned from no less than one of the best to have ever played the game.
The beefy American had a brief stint with the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2010-11 season, and he said playing alongside superstar Kobe Bryant gave him a different perspective in his playing career.
Caracter, a backup at power forward during his stint with the Lakers, said Bryant’s passion for the game never waned even if he’s already a global icon and a winner of five NBA championships during his stay with the organization.
“No matter how much money you make, no matter how much difficulties, the ups and downs in your life, you just gotta enjoy living the game, like it is a child,” Caracter told Spin.ph just before joining the Batang Pier in their practice on Thursday at the Moro Lorenzo gym inside the Ateneo campus.
The Lakers’ second-round pick in the 2010 NBA Draft at No. 58 overall is taking over the spot of undersized import Calvin Warner as the Batang Pier try to reinforce their playoff bid in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Caracter, listed at 6-9 in the US, said given Bryant’s lengthy NBA career that began in 1996 when he was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets out of high school, he is just amazed to see the former MVP maintain the same love for the game all these years.
“You gotta have the same love for the game regardless of your situation and I definitely took that,” said Caracter, who averages 2.0 points and 1.0 rebound in 41 total games played for the Lakers as a rookie.
“He (Bryant) made a lot of money obviously and he’s going to his 20th (NBA) season and you still see that burning desire in his eyes, the way he carries himself and how he plays,” said the 26-year-old big man out of the University of Texas-El Paso. “You gotta admire that from a person, regardless if it’s basketball or business. You gotta respect it.”
As a former Laker, Caracter said he’s also grateful to the Los Angeles organization for helping him play out of the box when he was still a rookie.
“They (Lakers) let you be who you are. They didn’t shape me to be a five, like you’re just gonna be a center and you’re gonna be only down here,” recounted Caracter, who is coming off a brief stint with Atenas in Uruguay, averaging 6.0 points and 6.5 rebounds.
“In my time in the NBA, it’s a learning experience how not to be fearful and be out of the box, and now, I’m just embracing it everyday and enjoying it everyday.”
Caracter is well aware he’s got a big shoes to fill as Warner, who left for the US to attend to personal matters, posted impressive stats line of 20.8 points and 23.3 rebounds in his short stint with the Batang Pier who have an even 4-4 record for seventh spot in the standings.
But the former NBA player said he’s definitely up to the challenge.
“Because of this league and the height restrictions and all that, it would make more sense to go for my bread and butter and go inside,” he said.
“I’ll just come here and be effective to help them (Batang Pier) win however they need it.”
Caracter also owns NBA D-League career averages of 11.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 21.8 minutes after seeing action for the Bakersfield Jam, Los Angeles D-Fenders, Rio Grand Valley Vipers, and Idaho Stampede.
He’ll have his debut game on Sunday when the Batang Pier play the surging NLEX Road Warriors, whose prolific import Al Thornton dropped 50 points against Ginebra in a 96-90 upset on Wednesday night.