God never closes a door without opening a window.
To most, it is a clichéd saying – little more than lip service paid after a stroke of bad luck or a terrible tragedy. To former Albany Great Danes’ guard and current Siena Saints’ first-year assistant coach Lucious Jordan, it’s the gospel truth.
At least once a day – during an early morning layover in a vacant airport terminal; on a lonely drive along a dusty back road on the recruiting trail; or in an empty arena an hour after the last echo of the final horn – Jordan’s thoughts drift back, seven years ago. Back to that ditch along that desolate highway, 40 feet from his car and 3,600 miles from home, where his body lay broken and his dreams were dashed into dust upon the ground.
“I think about that night every day. Everything happens for a reason – I truly, honestly believe that,” said Jordan in a calm voice that conveyed every ounce of stocky-strength carried in his 6’2” 220 pound frame.
Up until that fateful morning, Jordan’s path seemed clear: to keep lacing up his sneakers and following the game wherever the ball bounced. But his career on the court was forever derailed after that horrific car accident.
“My dreams at the time died that day, but it’s where I found my purpose: To help kids navigate through basketball and life. To make an impact and make a difference.”
Lucious Jordan slumped across the back seat of a cramped sedan on the outskirts of Emmen, Holland, in the predawn hours of Sunday, Oct. 16, 2006.
That March, he had helped lead his hometown University of Albany Great Danes to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history, bringing his college journey – which began by leaving home for Loyola University in Maryland and ended with him playing the role of returning conqueror at Albany – full circle.
Now, he was trying to get comfortable in to the back of a small European car while simultaneously trying to adjust to a new country. Behind the wheel was the head coach of his new team, the Emmen Eagles, who was also doubling as Jordan’s agent.
The Eagles were a second-rate team in third-rate league, but that didn’t matter to Jordan. At every previous stop of his dirty-work career, the 6’2” man without a position had been told that he was too small, too slow and too un-athletic to compete. And every time the ball was rolled out he had flat out dominated.
As the car bombed down the darkened throughway, the rhythmic hum of rubber meeting to road reverberating through the rear bucket seat, Jordan’s thoughts floated back along the improbable, rocky-road he had already traveled: This – playing for peanuts on the far peripheries of professional ball – wasn’t his final destination; it was just another stop along the way to bigger things.
Jordan’s eyes closed and his thoughts had just drifted off into dreams when he felt the car begin to shake. (more…)