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[nba.com] Carlos Rogers: Where Are They Now?

Discussion in 'NBA Dish' started by yobod, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. yobod

    yobod Member

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    [​IMG]

    Carlos Rogers played seven seasons in the NBA with five different teams, and while nobody will remember him for his career averages of 7.4 points on .536 shooting and 4.3 rebounds per game, you might recall him for something that happened off the court.

    Rogers, who stands 6-11 but identifies as being 1-of-12 (as in, he grew up with 11 brothers and sisters), made headlines back in the mid-'90s when he offered to donate his kidney to his ailing sister, Rene, and run the risk of sacrificing his hoops career.

    Rene told her brother to keep following his dream to make the NBA as she waited for another donor. She got her wish, as a cadaver kidney became available, and Carlos got his wish too as he was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 1994 with the 11th overall pick. Sadly, her new kidney failed and Carlos' sister passed before Rogers was able to follow through with his offer to try to save her life.

    Rogers bounced around from team to team after a couple of solid seasons in Toronto, had a brief resurgence with the Houston Rockets in 2000-01 and was out of the league in 2002.

    That's the last I really heard of him, until Sunday night when I was settled down on the couch with my girlfriend for a quality end-of-the-weekend wind down session and saw Rogers on the TV screen ... on Oprah’s Big Give.

    (Before you get started ripping on my programming choices, I'll do it myself. As a 25-year old male, watching anything having to do with Oprah is pretty lame of me, I admit it.)

    The episode had the contestants in Houston helping out two elementary schools. One group was raising money to build a playground, the other was bringing a surprise Christmas to a group of underprivileged students.

    Rogers made a surprise appearance with the playground group and shelled out $1,000 in cash from his pocket for the cause, saying something to the effect of, "Anything for the kids," as he counted out the crisp bills with a smile on his face.

    The show didn't take the time to delve into Rogers' background story during his brief appearance, maybe the producers weren't aware of it, or maybe they were distracted by former United States President George Bush Sr., who showed up to the scene minutes after Rogers did.

    Nevertheless, it's important to recognize somebody who never stopped giving, even long after fans stopped giving him the attention and adulation associated with being an NBA player.

    http://my.nba.com/thread.jspa?threadID=5800000516
     
  2. FFz

    FFz Member

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    made me tear up..
     
  3. Apollo Creed

    Apollo Creed Contributing Member

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    He was so easy to root for back then, had a huge heart. I'm glad he hasn't fallen on hard times.

    Man, we were a rag tag bunch in the early parts of this decade.
     
  4. YallMean

    YallMean Member

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    How much did he make as a player. I say close to 10 mil, not a lot by NBA standards, but probably can afford him with comfortable living.
     
  5. famicom

    famicom Member

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    I sat court side seats once against the Pistons and guess who's sitting next to me? Yes, Carlos Rogers! At first I couldn't think of his name, the only thing I could think of was Latrell Sprewell on drugs (cuz he had that high look when he played with the rox). Well he's a really nice guy, very approachable I talked to him for a bit and his dad was very nice as well (owned an insurance business). He was rooting for the Pistons though, cracking jokes with the players on the court.
     
  6. Panda

    Panda Member

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    Oh the Energizer Bunny is back! Glad he seems to be doing well.
     
  7. Lil Pun

    Lil Pun Contributing Member

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    Nice story. I remember watching him play.
     
  8. JeeberD

    JeeberD Contributing Member

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    Very, very cool...
     
  9. RasaqBoi

    RasaqBoi Member

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    i see him at first colony mall all the time. Hes usually with 2 or 3 girls that look like they just turned 18.

    Nice story however.
     
  10. Vengeance

    Vengeance Contributing Member

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    6'11? The Rockets should bring him in for a workout :D [/Sarcasm]

    Joking aside, I remember Carlos being really excited to join the Rockets, and I was sad when he left. He played hard, and had a few nice games for us. Good to see he's still doing okay.
     
  11. Asian Sensation

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    I remember this guy played well for us and brought good energy. It seemed like every other month something bad would happen to him yet he never folded or gave up.
     
  12. Patience

    Patience Contributing Member

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    Good for him. I really liked Carlos Rogers and was diappointed that he didn't stick for the Rockets. I remember he had at least one really good game. of 20+ points and 10+ rebounds for the Rockets.
     
  13. alexdapooh

    alexdapooh Contributing Member

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    I loved Carlos Rogers when he was with the Rockets...
    I felt the same way about him as I did for Chuck Hayes last season and Carl Landry this season
     
  14. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    Jonathan Feigen wrote this Christmas Day piece on Carlos Rogers in 1999.

    http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/archive.mpl?id=1999_3185900

    this will make you tear up as well. Rogers had a really tough childhood.

    <hr>

    TIME OF TRIUMPH / Rockets' Rogers overcomes life filled with grief

    By JONATHAN FEIGEN
    Staff

    THE presents were nestled under a Christmas tree in a room full of fresh faces, each child no doubt with his own story to tell, waiting before him. Carlos Rogers towered in a red Santa Claus hat and beamed a sweeping smile, as jolly as St. Nick himself, as he tried to make the kids understand where he had been and why he was there.

    "I'm just like you," the 6-11 Rockets forward said, almost pleading for them to understand. "I've been where you are."

    Bearing gifts and a message of hope, Rogers this week visited the Star of Hope Transitional Living Center.

    "We don't have to talk about basketball," he told his audience. "We can talk about anything you want."

    The kids waited politely but quietly. And before long, Rogers was passing out Walkmans, Rockets gear and tickets, and pizzas.

    He wanted to share with them more than just merchandise. He could have spoken about growing up in abject poverty, about abuse and about the tragedy that goes with it all. He wanted them to know that if he could break free from the Detroit ghetto gangs, survive and flourish, they could as well.

    Rogers, 28, says his first memories are of his father beating his mother. Countless assaults would follow.

    "I'm not ashamed to say I had nothing," Rogers said. "I didn't have NBA players coming to my neighborhood giving me nothing. They didn't even give me conversation. The only thing I had was what the police collected in the boxes - defective underwear, toys that were broken, but you had something.

    "I wanted to give these kids something so they would have hope to move forward, so they're not stuck in the paradigm that from this environment I can't make it. I don't want their environment to be their excuse to fail. I let them know I come from the same environment. You can make it. You have to find your niche. You have to find what you do well.

    "I know how these kids are living. I know how it feels to believe people don't care about you. I know how it feels to wonder where your next meal is coming from. I know how it feels to not hear ``Happy Birthday'' on your birthday. I know how it feels to not receive a Christmas gift. I can sit down and have common bonds with these kids. I can reflect on my childhood like it was yesterday."

    Rogers would seem better off if he could forget. But there are many realities of his life he must accept, and his memory is just one more curse he has turned into a blessing.

    "It seems sometimes I can remember everything back to my mother's womb," he said. "I can remember from the time I was 3 years old, my dad shot at us when I was sitting on my mother's lap.

    "Things like that, kids don't forget. This stuff still weighs heavy on my heart today. There were times I felt if my father passed, I wouldn't cry. That's how he made everybody feel. He thought the only way to have respect was to make everybody afraid of you. That's not how you should live."

    Rogers grew up with two brothers and a sister, and his father's four children from a previous marriage also lived in the small upstairs apartment on the mean streets of Detroit. His mother Jacqueline supported the household, which often included as many as 11 people.

    It was understood that when his father was delivering punishment, no one interfered.

    "The hardest things to reminisce (are) your mom getting hit on," Rogers said. "It happened every weekend. Every time he went out and got drunk, he came back and hit my mom. I can remember when I was about 4 years old. I heard my mom crying. I heard her whimpering in the other room. I said, `Mama, why are you crying?' She told me how my dad mistreated her. I told her, `Don't worry mommy, one day I'm going to take care of you.'

    "He heard me say that. He grabbed me by my collar and slammed me to the bedroom floor. He kicked me in my ribs and said, `That's my woman. You find one and you take care of her.' I was a baby, and that's what he said? He didn't care who he hurt. He was a terrible man."

    There is a surprising lack of bitterness in Rogers' voice as he describes his father. There is still bitterness inside, he said.

    Even when he recounts the last time his father beat him, Rogers lays out each step of the horrible night unemotionally, as if he has no idea how shocking such horrors sound.

    "I was 10 years old," Rogers said. "My dad made up a myth that I stole his gun. He was into the drugs real heavy. He was trying to make my mom pay for it. He was always trying to get money from my mom then.

    "He said if my mom didn't come up with the money to pay for it, he was going to beat me every 10 minutes. He held true to his word. Every 10 minutes he came into that room and pounced on me like I was a grown man. I took about nine whippings. He punched me in the face, he kicked me in my ribs. That time he had the dog's chain, and he started hitting me across the back with it.

    "So, I'm sitting there bleeding and everything, and I'm there saying to myself, `This man's going to kill me.' "

    Rogers said his mother tried to intervene, but there was little she could do. Even now, there is a sense of relief apparent in Rogers that his mother could get herself and the other children out safely.

    "If they'd tried to help me, he'd have beaten them, too. We all understood that."

    The eighth time Rogers' father returned to the room, he wrapped the chain around his son's neck.

    "He picked me up with a dog chain," Rogers said. "He picked me up in the air. I really felt like I was about to die. I had blood dripping from my mouth. I was up in the air wondering, `Is this man going to kill me?' He dropped me, and I was real weak.

    "We were in a two-family flat, and we were on the top. I went to the window and took the screen out and put it under the bed. I said, `I'll take one more whipping and then I'm out of here.' He came back 10 minutes later and beat me again. After he left, I knew I had 10 more minutes to get out of the room. I sat on the edge of the window. I said, "God, if he doesn't kill me, I'm going to kill myself trying to get away from him.' So I jumped.

    "When I jumped, I didn't hurt myself. I just ran. I didn't talk to him again until I was 24 years old. I went and stayed with my granddad. The funny thing is, he is even more violent than my father, but he never hurt his grandkids."

    For a while, Rogers said, the family's situation improved. Still the family's sole means of support, his mother went to night school at Highland Park Community College and learned cement finishing. She began to make a good living laying foundations and became a supervisor. The family not only had enough to eat, but there were new shoes and clothes to go around along with a new feeling of hope.

    Then one night Rogers said his father pistol-whipped his mother, sending her to the hospital for a month and rendering her unable to do the sort of work that she had been doing.

    "It was," he said, "back to the ghetto."

    Rogers' mother eventually left his father, but his father was not the only danger that existed.

    Their neighborhood was filled with crack addicts, and the gangs ruled the streets, ready to pounce on anyone not backed by the strength of numbers. Violence was everywhere.

    "Everybody had a gun," Rogers said. "That was nothing. It was nothing to use it."

    Still innocent enough to run home after school each day to catch afternoon cartoons, Rogers was 14 when he was stopped by a group of teens. They searched him for money, found his pockets empty and then punished him for it.

    "They beat me real bad that day," Rogers said. "I mean, it was really bad. From that day on, I was in a gang. That's when I really got bad. There were gang fights. I was stealing from people and doing some (things) I shouldn't have done. My mother never knew the things I was doing.

    "It got real bad. My brother and sister kept telling me I was going to get killed, but it got to the point where I didn't give a damn. I thought I was going to die anyway. You know. I just didn't care.

    "It was like everyone I knew went to jail and is dead. Man, there were so many people I saw die. It was every other day one of your gang members was dead. I was just waiting for my turn."

    Rogers said he cried after every friend's death until he wondered if he had any tears left. He eventually found out.

    His brother, Kevin, was 15 when he was shot and killed. While Rogers openly talks about his personal tragedies, mistakes and hardships, he and his family have a heard time speaking of Kevin, if at all.

    Rogers quickly realized that if he were to have any chance of improving his lot in life, then basketball was likely to be his ticket to success. He immediately jumped into the deep pool of high school talent in Detroit, competing with Jalen Rose and Chris Webber and showing enough in one season to draw interest from several college recruiters. Rogers played only one season of high school basketball and then jumped at the first scholarship offer - from Arkansas-Little Rock - he received.

    After spending a season to become eligible, Rogers played one season in Little Rock and then transferred with assistant coach Ricardo Patton to Tennessee State, where he blossomed.

    Rogers averaged 22.5 points and 11.6 rebounds in his two seasons at Tennessee State. He led the Tigers to the NCAA Tournament and was the 11th pick (by Seattle) in the 1994 NBA draft.

    Rogers spent the day of the draft wondering if he had done enough to hear his name called. He was not invited to the draft party. So he walked for hours along the Detroit waterfront and then watched the draft alone in a hotel bar.

    When he heard his name, he went numb, stunned silent until the bartender realized he was serving the celebrity of the moment. He dropped $200 on the bar and rushed home where his front lawn was packed with screaming friends and family.

    Rogers found his mother, wrapped his long arms around her and told her that her struggles were finally over.

    "My dream was to take care of my mother," Rogers said. "That's all I ever thought about. My brothers and sisters and I used to sit around all the time and I would say, `I'm going to be a millionaire. I'm going to take care of mommy.' That's all we all wanted, to take care of her. She went through so much to take care of all of us. If I go to bed hungry and I know my mom went out and did everything she could to feed me I can appreciate her more. That's what my mom did. She did everything she could to provide for us. Sometimes ends just don't meet."

    That summer, he was traded to the Golden State Warriors and signed a nine-year, $14.1 million contract.

    Rogers eventually convinced his mother to move to the Detroit suburb of Farmington.

    With the money from his contract, he was able to send his sister, brother and cousin to college. He sent a half-sister to a rehabilitation clinic. Incredibly, he even paid for his father to receive treatment at a clinic, although Rogers said the treatment was unsuccessful.

    "I've tried to establish relationships with my dad," Rogers said. "Every time I tried, he lets me down. It gets to the point I don't want to try anymore. Right when I think he's living right, when he's got the drugs out of his system, I enter him into a rehab and he comes out and says he's clean, and then he disappears. I don't see him for a long time. And when he's back, I can see he's been on the drugs.

    "I was bitter for a long time. Most of it was because of my father. I always felt every kid is supposed to have a great father and I didn't. I had an abusive father. He would drink, use drugs. He'd beat my mom. He'd beat the rest of the kids. I always looked at him as the person I hated the most.

    "When I was younger, I used to just think of ways to get back at him. Even when I got older, I had dreams about this man, either him killing me or me killing him."

    But his childhood dream of freeing his family from its hard circumstances turned out to be an innocent fantasy. It was perfect, too perfect to be real life. Rogers could not protect them or himself from reality.

    In January 1997, Rogers, who was in his third year with the Raptors, was at home in Toronto, waiting to play a game that night, when word came that his older sister, Adriene, then 29, was seriously ill with a kidney ailment. Rene, as Rogers affectionately called her, had filled many of the voids during Rogers' early years, hugging him or scolding him as needed while their mother toiled to provide for his family.

    Rogers began making plans to donate one of his kidneys, risking his still new career to save his sister. Then word came that Rene was deteriorating rapidly and had been moved to the intensive care unit at a Detroit hospital.

    "She was the big, mean sister that looked out for you," Rogers said. "She made sure things were taken care of. When my mom wasn't home, she was mom. We had to listen to her or there were consequences. She was a person you looked at as mean, but you knew when push comes to shove, she was in your corner. The older we got, the closer we got.

    "All I cared about was, she's my sister. You don't understand until you get older what she was trying to accomplish. She was providing guidance, making us responsible.

    "The first thing I thought about on my way to Detroit was, `Lord, just please let my sister be alive so I can see her.' "

    And with that, Rogers stopped talking. He had told his story easily until then. But now, it is a struggle as he tries to piece together the final hours of his sister's life.

    "At that moment, that was all I was thinking about, just seeing her," Rogers said. "When I got there and I saw her, she looked so bad. They had all these machines on her. She looked like she was gone before I got there and they were just trying to fix her up to make her look good. Once I got there and saw her, the doctors told me she was too weak to even think about surgery.

    "All I was praying for was that she would get strong enough for it to actually happen. I asked them, `If she comes to, don't tell her it's me giving her the kidney because then she won't accept it.' My sister told me she would rather die than for me to stop playing basketball. She was willing to die before she stopped me from doing what I was doing. That's the type of person she was."

    Rogers said even though he was told his career could have ended with the transplant he never considering doing anything else.

    "To me that's not something any sibling should need to contemplate," he said. "I never even thought about it."

    Rene died of septic shock that weekend.

    To honor her memory, Rogers wears Rene's name on his shoes and tattooed on his left shoulder surrounded by musical notes from her choir.

    "I think about her every day," he said in a whisper. "Every day."

    This past offseason, there was even more heartache to endure.

    Rogers brought his brother, Kefrin, 21, and cousin, Larry Jefferson, 23, to live with him in Toronto. Rogers sent them to Humber College, where both played on the basketball team. During the summer, Jefferson was in a horrible automobile accident that left him a quadriplegic.

    "They told me he'd be on respirator the rest of his life," Rogers said. "He's still paralyzed from his neck down. I'm never going to say for always. Hopefully he'll get some movement or something.

    "I think that's what's driving me this year. I think how tired I am, how much I feel like I can't go on, how I can't wait for a timeout to come. But I wrote in my shoes, so I look down at it. I've got 'CB4' for Charles (Barkley) because I know he can't get around like he wants to, and I have LJ for Larry because I know he can't move at all. He was a very athletic person. I'd be cheating myself and him to not give everything I have on that floor right now, knowing he wishes he could just walk. That's my drive now."

    It is obvious he has overcome his past. Rogers has somehow turned it all into an exercise that has strengthened him. Even the frustration from two seasons of relative inactivity in Portland seemed necessary for him to become a hungry starter in Houston.

    "That comes from my mom," Rogers said. "She gave us that strength and character. She gave us all the hopes and dreams and aspirations. Even though things seemed too far away, she made you imagine taking steps closer. She instilled positive to us. That just stayed with us. I tried to instill same things to my kids."

    He said his mother taught him faith and his sister gave him discipline.

    "My father gave me a lot," he said. "He showed me what not to do."

    Rogers cites several men - from Patton at Arkansas-Little Rock to Bob Lanier at Golden State to John Shumate at Toronto - who were positives in his life.

    "I don't know if he knew searching for it, but because of family situations, a lot of us black men grow up without strong male figures," Shumate said. "We are dominated by the matriarch of the family. So many black males search for a figure to identify with. Bob and I are real close. We talked about Carlos. He said, initially he may turn you off. But here's what you'll find out.

    "Carlos needed help, emotional, psychological help. He had a lot of growing to do. He had been through so much. He needed to shed the shackles of his past, to have a chance to grow, blossom and bloom into a new world. We had to help him see another side, to show being male is not just the hardcore streets of Detroit. Maybe we're able to shed negative baggage.

    "He's a person that wants to be loved. Has got so much love to give, and share. He's a special person. I loved many players. Carlos is something different, something special, spiritually, emotionally."

    The Christmas gifts have been passed out. The pizzas are gone. Outside, there is a basketball hoop, where for 90 minutes after the party ended, Rogers and 38 new friends played. They joked and laughed, with Rogers' booming, rapid-fire voice filling the playground.

    "That's what I wanted," Rogers said. "I didn't want to come in and say, `Hey I'm Carlos. Here's my story. Listen. Listen.'

    "I know they were wondering, `Who is this guy with the presents. Why is he here.' I just wanted to be there for them. I wanted them to see it can be all right."

    As Rogers was leaving, one of the kids pulled him aside. He told Rogers he would never grow to 6-11 and be a NBA player. But seeing Rogers that day had inspired him.

    "I asked if he gets good grades," Rogers said. "He told me, `I will from now on.' "

    And with that, nearly 30 years of heartache began to make sense. There is no bitterness, Rogers said. No anger.

    "As you look back, it makes you appreciate where you are," he said. "You think about all the people who want to be where I am, and then you can't take your position for granted. I've always been an appreciative person. Mine is mostly spiritual. I thank God for everything I have. Even when I had nothing, I thanked Him.

    "And now, I can go to somebody and say, there will be better days. It might not be now, but it will be. We have to say, `I've got to find a way through this, a way through that.' Sometimes it's not you that's the problem."
     
  15. Easy

    Easy Very Calm
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    Didn't Greg Ostetag donate his kidney to his sister?
     
  16. RiceDaddy07

    RiceDaddy07 Rookie

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    Man, this was beautiful. Life is beautiful.
     
  17. deekay209

    deekay209 Contributing Member

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    Wow...that story is crazy. What a great heart.
    And I'll admit, seeing his picture at first, I thought to myself, what a thug! Looks are very deceiving.
     
  18. TMac640

    TMac640 Contributing Member

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    Wow. I'm not moved by a ton of stories, but that was one hell of a moving read.

    I can't seem to find out why Carlos finally retired in 2001? Does anyone know?
     
  19. Hilltopper

    Hilltopper Contributing Member

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    The last time I saw Carlos Rogers he was working over at Westside Tennis Center during one of the big tournaments over there. It seemed he was helping out with concessions or something like that. I'm guessing Mattress Mac and he knew each other from when the Rockets worked out at Westside.

    I remember him back when he played at Tennessee State in Nashville. Always seemed like a nice, caring person.
     
  20. MykTek

    MykTek Member

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    i was always a fan of his, I even still have his rookie card....

    he remember him being long and lean and attacked the basket and being athletic.
     
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