Former Temple star brings Christmas back to Philly

 

Dionte Christmas
Former Temple basketball star Dionte Christmas returned to Philadelphia for thr first time as a pro with the Phoenix Suns last week.

There were countless moments when Dionte Christmas would stare at the ceiling and wonder if he would ever realize his dream of playing in the NBA.

Those moments took place thousands of miles away from home in places like the Czech Republic and Russia.

But his family and extended family would never let Christmas stop pursuing that dream.

Ever since he was a little boy playing basketball on the playgrounds, he had aspirations of donning an NBA uniform.

Even when times were tough, Christmas wouldn’t stop working. He couldn’t stop working.

He had come too far and worked too hard to stop.

“My last stop in Russia was freezing, negative 20 every day,” Christmas said. “I went weeks without seeing the sunshine. This can’t be life. Everything worked out. I’m so blessed.”

Christmas is a member of the Phoenix Suns and he even has a guaranteed contract for the rest of the season. He doesn’t play a lot and didn’t play at all in the Suns’ 11-point victory over the 76ers Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center. That wasn’t the point.

Simply making it means everything to the former star at Samuel Fels High and Temple University.

Christmas scored more than 2,000 points for the Owls but wasn’t selected in the 2009 NBA Draft. So he took his talent overseas and played in the Czech Republic, Greece, Israel, Italy, Turkey and Russia. He came back and played in the NBA Summer League with the Sacramento Kings and Boston Celtics. Christmas was actually signed by the Sixers in ’09 but was waived in the preseason.

Playing overseas and in the Summer League was a great experience but as each year passed, it made him wonder if he would ever stick in the NBA. Would it be worth the effort? You better believe it.

“Every Summer League, I tried to take bits and pieces from each team and what the coaches had to tell me,” Christmas said. “The little things, not taking plays off, things like that. People always watch in the NBA and that’s one thing I notice. Keep my team in tune on the bench, I’m always one of the first to jump up and give high-fives. People take notice of it. I try to be as positive as possible, especially in this league. You got so many games, so many nights, this city, that city and guys can get tired. I just try to be that guy to bring a spark off the bench when I get in. You’ve got to keep guys motivated and do anything possible to keep my guys motivated even if I’m not on the court. I believe every team needs a guy like that.”

Christmas said he secured 50-to-60 tickets for friends and family at the Wells Fargo Center.

Seeing all those people who helped motivate and guide him made the day that much more special.

Actually, every day is special. As long as he’s among the players in the NBA, each day will be cherished.

“You can’t come into this job mad,” Christmas said. “You’re in the NBA. It’s the best job ever. One night I’m in L.A., the next night I’m in Phoenix. I’m living in phoenix, 80-degree weather. It’s a blessing. I thank God every single day. There’s not one day that goes by that I don’t thank God for blessing me and getting me here.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.