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OKC Thunder: Royal Ivey's time as an unemployed NBA veteran was brutal

Ivey: “It's definitely a humbling situation. It's kind of like purgatory.”
by Darnell Mayberry Published: January 19, 2014

But he was a long way from the NBA.

After a few weeks, Ivey went back to his alma mater, the University of Texas. Again, he was a special contributor, doing much of the same that he did in Delaware. With the Longhorns, occasional two-a-days were even more beneficial to Ivey. They would lift weights and get up shots in the morning before going back at night and getting in another workout.

Keep in mind all this was completely up to Ivey.

No one was forcing him to be there.

“You're by yourself now,” Ivey said. “There's no coaches. There's nobody there to motivate you or to say, ‘We got practice at 10.' You got to get up, and you got to do all the work yourself. That's the tough part.”

Every day, Ivey would awake at 10 a.m., eat breakfast and go to the gym. He'd start by lifting weights. Then move on to the treadmill. Next was whatever he could get done on the court that day, which mostly depended on what he could find.

The key to motivating himself through the process, Ivey said, was staying positive.

“That's the main thing. You got to be positive,” he said. “You got to push yourself and say, ‘The call might be coming any day now.' You never know.”

It left Ivey waiting by the phone like a teenager waiting to hear from a crush. Constantly, Ivey checked his missed calls, his voicemails and his text messages.

Finally, a fateful one arrived from Thunder general manager Sam Presti, who, for now, put an end to Ivey's strange trip as an unemployed NBA veteran.

“I've been through everything else but that,” Ivey said. “Now, it's nothing in my career that I haven't gone through. So I'm going to write a book when it's all said and done.”

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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