Reporting from Washington — A White House visit with the Clippers seems pretty far removed from long bus rides and cheap motels.
JamesOn Curry doesn't need to win a championship to live his dream; merely walking onto an NBA court is enough of a pinch-me moment for the guard who has spent his professional career shuttling around the Development League.
Calling himself "very blessed and very thankful" for the opportunity after signing a 10-day contract, Curry worked out with the Clippers on Saturday and held his own in a post-practice shooting drill with Baron Davis. He could make his NBA debut today against the Washington Wizards.
"It's like a dream right now," Curry said.
The Clippers added the 24-year-old to provide depth after reserve point guard Sebastian Telfair was lost for at least a month because of a groin injury and shooting guard Eric Gordon sprained the big toe on his left foot. Gordon did not practice Saturday and Coach Mike Dunleavy said the second-year standout more than likely would not play today.
Curry can play both guard positions, but his proficiency at point guard this season with the Springfield (Mass.) Armor of the D-League made him an attractive option for the Clippers.
He was averaging 16.1 points and 7.5 assists, the latter figure ranking fourth-best in the league.
"I wasn't getting any publicity, but I was killing people down there," Curry said.
Curry's career might have taken a different turn had it not been for a few legal scrapes. He was headed to play for North Carolina before the Tar Heels rescinded his scholarship offer following an arrest for suspicion of marijuana possession with intent to sell.
After three stellar seasons at Oklahoma State, Curry was selected in the second round of the 2007 draft by the Chicago Bulls.
But the team waived him in August of the following year after he suffered a hand injury and was arrested for public urination and resisting arrest.
He has never played in an NBA game.
Asked if he thought Curry's legal troubles had curtailed his professional career, Dunleavy acknowledged that he wasn't aware of the player's most recent arrest.
"I don't know the circumstances behind it," Dunleavy said, "but I don't think somebody urinating in public would be something that would keep me from picking somebody up."
Curry said he's thankful for a new start.
"I maybe have a reputation of being a bad guy and whatnot, but you get to know me and be around me, you'll see I'm a family man with two kids and a fiancee who does everything for them and the Lord," he said. "I just pray each and every night to become a better person and for wisdom and understanding."
The Gordon effect
The Clippers are 3-7 in games in which Gordon hasn't played. How do they keep from going 3-8?
Dunleavy said it would require a collective effort to replace the production of a player who was an offensive force and a lockdown defender.
Davis said it all starts with defense.
"We may not be able to score so freely," he said, "[so] we have to get ourselves more transition buckets and I think that comes from our defense."
Do they know Bo?
There were no President Obama sightings when the Clippers toured the White House on Saturday morning, but Dunleavy called it "a good bonding experience" for the players.