Willie Reed On Road To NBA: ‘Times Where I Felt It Wasn’t Meant For Me’

By Jake Brown

Willie Reed went undrafted in 2011 out of Saint Louis. After four years trying to get time on the court with a NBA team in a regular season game, Reed finally got his chance in the 2015-2016 season with the Brooklyn Nets.

Let’s break down Reed’s road to actually getting to play in a NBA game that counted. Here’s the insane timeline:

August 2011 – Signed with CB Sant Josep (left before regular season)
September 2012 – Signed with Sacramento Kings (waived days before regular season)
November 2012 – Acquired by Springfield Armor of NBA D-League
April 2013 – Signed with Memphis Grizzlies (didn’t play, waived days before 2013-2014 season)
November 2013 – Re-acquired by Springfield Armor
March 2014 – Signed with Kings (immediately assigned to Reno Bighorns)
April 2014 – Recalled by Kings (next day reassigned to Bighorns then recalled by Kings, never played in game, waived in June)
September 2014 – Signed with Brooklyn Nets (waived in October before season)
November 2014 – Acquired by Grand Rapids Drive
February 2015 – Traded to Iowa Energy
April 2015 – Signed with Metros de Santiago (Dominican Republic)
July 2015 – Signed one-year deal with Brooklyn Nets
December 2015 – Makes NBA debut with Nets vs Knicks (eight points in 11 minutes)

Got it? Reed certainly racked in his airmiles with all that travel. From city to city and in some cases country to country, it has been a LONG road, but Reed seems like he’s in the NBA to stay…at least for now. There had to have been times where quitting was an option.

“There were times where I felt like it wasn’t meant for me to play in the NBA,” Reed told Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson and I on the Brown and Scoop Podcast on CBS Radio’s Play.it network. “Then I had to get my mind back to it. This is something I want to do. I want to get there. I want to prove I belong, give everything I have. If it just so happens I’m not good enough once I get in there, then at least I gave it everything I could.

“The journey was tough. I came through the D-League. I was there for three years. I got some call-ups, and was on NBA rosters, but sent back down, overseas traveling, and you would just never know. This is the first season where I spent the whole year somewhere and didn’t have to move. The opportunity to be in one location for the whole season, to be able to get the camaraderie with the team, and be familiar with the city and engage, it really helped out a lot for my sanity.”

Reed is currently a free agent, but expressed his desire to stay in Brooklyn if the Nets would be interested in bringing him back. Being from Kansas City, Reed is making his contribution to the community in his hometown. He will be hosting his first ever basketball camp, which is free of charge. The camp will take place on June 25th at Penn Valley Community College in Kansas City. Parents can sign their children up prior to the event by visiting, WillieReed33.com.

Also, today happens to be Reed’s 26th birthday, so a special Happy Birthday to Willie Reed.

Jake Brown is the Digital Program Manager at CBS Sports Radio and a columnist for CBS Sports Radio, CBS Local Sports, and CBS Local. You can catch him daily on the Brown and Scoop Podcast on CBS Radio’s Play.it network, iTunes, and Spotify. The show features shows and interviews with some of the best guests in sports and entertainment. Jake lives in Queens and being a Mets fan is finally paying off. 

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