It was a dark time for the National Basketball Association. With the fall of Agent Zero, the league beckoned for a new hero. A man who would seize the moment and capture the hearts of fans everywhere. A man who could excite the passions and the fervor reserved only for the legends of the game. Fortunately, the league did not have to wait long for its new savior to rise from the ashes.
Hailing from Goodwater, Alabama (pop. 1,633), Toronto Raptors forward Jamario Moon has eclipsed the Celtics juggernaut and the Knicks debacle to become this season’s biggest NBA story. His arrival comes not as many others’ have, with tales of glory and acclaim, but as the result of an international quest to achieve the impossible, to turn the improbable into reality.
As with most tales, the legend of Jamario Moon begins at the beginning. According to Henry Abbott, after an interesting excursion in the machine that is high-stakes high school basketball, Moon settled at Coosa Central High School in Rockford, Alabama, earning Second Team Class 4A All-State honors from The Birmingham News.
After the close of his high school career, Moon attempted to play ball for Mississippi State. Unfortunately, fate was not on his side and he was forced to take the court for Meridian Community College, where he again excelled, averaging 20 points and 8 rebounds a game.
After withdrawing from Meridian Community after one year, Moon declared for the 2001 NBA Draft. In an obviously regrettable lapse of judgment by those responsible, no team selected Moon despite nearly 60 selection opportunities. Undeterred, Moon set off on an incredible voyage that would send him to Rome (Ga.) and back, from Albany to Kentucky, from Mexico to Gary, Indiana. He even moonlighted with the Harlem Globetrotters. In five short years, Moon became a basketball vagabond, a nomad, a wanderer, an untold story of a basketball dream gone unfulfilled.
But on July 10, 2007, a day that will be forever celebrated, Jamario Moon signed a two-year contract with the Toronto Raptors. By merit of his performance during the Raptors’ free agent camp, the organization deemed him worthy of a shot at the NBA. The long arduous quest was over. The 27-year old Jamario Moon was headed to the world’s highest level of basketball competition.
Since establishing himself in the Raptors’ starting lineup, Moon has averaged over 8 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, and acquired a reputation for his energetic play. By taking a chance on a well-traveled basketball journeyman, the Toronto Raptors found a new starting forward and the NBA found its new hero.