From Budding star to Murder suspect

We pause to consider the arc of a young life.

• In 2004 Javaris Crittenton — a sophomore and already a team captain — teams with Dwight Howard to lead Southwest Atlanta Christian to the Class A title.

• In 2006 Crittenton graduates from high school — where he’d been a 3.5 student and a member of both the Beta Club and the Future Business Leaders of America — and enrolls at Georgia Tech.

• In 2007 he exits Tech after a good-but-not great freshman season and is taken by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 19th pick of the NBA draft.

• In January 2010 he pleads guilty to a misdemeanor charge resulting from the infamous guns-in-the-locker-room that involved Crittenton and Washington Wizards teammate Gilbert Arenas, who on Christmas Eve engaged in an argument regarding gambling debts. Both players are suspended by the NBA for the rest of the season.

• On Aug. 26, 2011, a warrant is issued for Crittenton’s arrest. The charge: Murder.

Maybe you’re clever enough to have foreseen this path. I’m not. Yeah, I thought Crittenton was a gifted player who left school a year too soon. The same could be said of his Tech classmate Thaddeus Young, and Young has done nicely with the Philadelphia 76ers. Lots of guys leave too soon. Some of them make it anyway.

And it’s not as if warning lights flashed at every turn. Crittenton attended one high school for four years, which isn’t always the contemporary norm. He played alongside Howard, who jumped directly to the NBA and who has become one of the five best players in the world. Crittenton’s summers were spent playing AAU ball with the Atlanta Celtics, a program that boasts a long list of distinguished alums. He signed with Tech, a proud program in the high-minded ACC. He was drafted by the Lakers, the NBA’s best organization.

And yet: This gifted young player was gone from the NBA in three years, having worked his way through four organizations. He was cut last October by the Charlotte Bobcats. He played five games with a team in China and spent the winter with the Dakota Wizards, the Bismarck-based franchise in the NBA Developmental League, averaging 14.5 points and 6.7 assists.

That’s the basketball part of it. I’m not sure how much basketball has to do with this murder warrant. (And here we stipulate that Crittenton is innocent until proved guilty.) You can tut-tut and say, “Oh, it’s the system of entitlement that leads to guns in the locker room,” but I’ve hung around the NBA for more than a quarter-century and I’ve never seen a gun in a locker room.

The gun-related suspension should have been a lesson. Nineteen months later, Crittenton is wanted for allegedly having loosed the shots from an SUV that took the life of a young woman who happened to be in the line of fire. (Police believe Crittenton saw someone who’d stolen jewelry from him earlier this year.)

At such a distressing moment, it would be convenient to blame basketball for the wrong turns in Crittenton’s 23-year-old life. But there’s free will involved in every life, is there not? He has had role models. He was around successful people and winning programs. He was a good student who was thought to have leadership qualities. And he had, owing to having been a Round 1 draftee, a guaranteed contract.

Give some people those circumstances and they’d make the most of them. Crittenton has made the least. (His profile on Twitter bore this greeting: “Say hello to the bad guy!” The account was apparently deleted Friday night.) It’s never surprising when a good young player doesn’t grow into an NBA All-Star — not many do — but it is shocking when you read the AJC.comheadline, “Former Georgia Tech star wanted for fatal shooting.”

Had he stayed four years at Tech, Crittenton would have just finished his NBA rookie season. That’s not an excuse for anything, nor is it an explanation. It wasn’t some “system” that caused a young woman’s death. It was a choice made by one person to raise a gun and pull its trigger. Yes, it’s possible that person wasn’t Javaris Crittenton. The warrant does, however, bear his name.

By Mark Bradley

Partner Profile: The National Crittenton Foundation

With the recent launch of Grouptrail, we are extremely excited to announce The National Crittenton Foundation as our first official partner! The National Crittendon Foundation is over 130 years old and alongside their large family of agencies, seeks to support girls, young women, and their families living at the margin of the American dream overcome major obstacles rooted in circumstances not of their own making.

"We believe in the power of potential in girls and young women," said Holly Weems, Director of Resource Development. “We believe that their future is not dictated or determined by their past but rather by our ability as a society to support their will and determination to transform their lives.”

Through the newly announced partnership, Grouptrail revenue funds will go to help the Foundation’s #BeSomething campaign, which will showcase girls and young women as they celebrate their strength, resilience and achievements. The idea behind the campaign came from a group of over 20 women who decided that the hardest part about leaving an agency or treatment center was the lack of support once you leave or are back at home. The women decided that having a network of other supportive women to help in achieving self-empowerment was critical to their success.

The campaign has been in the works for quite a while, but will officially kick off in January of this upcoming year and aims to encompass an educational institute alongside a society of women coming together to build social capital and support one another.

Through the social media aspect of the #BeSomething campaign, women can upload pictures of themselves and use the hashtags #BeBold, #BeDetermined, #BeResilient, etc. Women are also encouraged to create a video, meme or picture stating their achievement and encouraging other girls and young women in their life to do the same. By sharing a story, women can amplify their strength and show that they are resilient, despite the circumstances.

Grouptrail is extremely excited to support the Crittenton Foundation in their efforts to empower girls and young women. To learn more about the campaign and get involved, visit the campaign site as well as The National Crittenton Foundation Twitter and Facebook accounts. 

Javaris Crittenton -- Ex-NBA Star Accused of ATTACKING Baby Mama

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Javaris Crittenton — Ex-NBA Star Accused of ATTACKING Baby Mama


Javaris Crittenton — ex-NBA star and accused murderer — is now being accused of slapping his baby mama in the face while she was breastfeeding their 1-day-old child … TMZ has learned. 

Crittenton has temporarily been ordered to stay at least 100 yards away from Tyress Daniels and their newborn son … after she filed court docs outlining a pattern of domestic violence.

In the docs, filed in L.A. County Superior Court, Daniels claims JC attacked her on three separate occasions. The first incident allegedly took place when she was pregnant and he roughed her up in a hotel room.

According to Daniels, the 2nd incident occurred at a hospital on Nov. 1 — less than 24 hours after she gave birth to their son.

Daniels claims, “I was breastfeeding the baby and we got into an argument over what the baby would wear for pictures. Javaris hit me in the face while I was breastfeeding because he said I had a smart mouth.”

Daniels claims Javaris tried to grab the baby and leave … but hospital security rushed in and stopped him. He was eventually kicked out of the room.

According to the docs, Daniels claims JC got rough with her a 3rd time on Nov. 26 … scratching her face and busting her lip. She also claims Javaris later sent her a text message saying she would end up like her “dead mother” and he will have the child.

After Daniels filed the docs, a judge awarded temporary custody of the kid to Daniels — and set a hearing for next month … when the judge will decide if the restraining order will become more permanent.

It’s another major legal fight for the 24-year-old former Washington Wizards player … who’s facing a murder charge for the shooting death of a 22-year-old woman in 2011. Javaris has denied any wrongdoing in the murder case.

Gilbert Arenas' Infamous 2009 Locker Room Gun Incident Made It Onto Jeopardy

Gilbert Arenas’ Infamous 2009 Locker Room Gun Incident Made It Onto Jeopardy

Gilbert Arena’s infamous 2009 locker room gun incident, in which the then-Wizards point guard brought handguns to the arena prior to a game to settle a gambling beef with teammate Javaris Crittenton, made an appearance on Jeopardy, Monday.


The story goes as follows: Crittenton lost a $1,100 pot to then-teammate JaVale McGeein the card game Bourré. Crittenton allegedly yelled at McGee,…

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The Gilbert Arenas-Javaris Crittenton locker-room gun standoff made it to 'Jeopardy!'

Well, here’s something I definitely didn’t expect to see on “Jeopardy!” on Monday night:

[DraftKings: FREE entry to huge cash Fantasy Basketball Contest with first deposit]

Perhaps it shouldn’t surprise me that the firearm-brandishing locker-room standoff between Washington Wizards teammates Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton wound up on the beloved quiz show; after all, as my esteemed associate Eric Freeman noted, “Jeopardy!” mentions weird events, historical occurrences and bits of cultural ephemera from all walks of life all the time. (That’s kind of the show’s thing, really.) It does feel pretty crazy, though, that such an insane part of recent NBA history has now been reduced to the sort of simply weird factoid that pops up on a televised trivia competition.

It occurs to me that a fair amount of our readership might not even know what we’re talking about here — I am getting older and you are getting younger, always and forever — so here’s the relevant context:

Early in the 2009-10 season, Crittenton, a 6-foot-5 guard out of Georgia Tech, lost a $1,100 pot to then-teammate JaVale McGee in the card game Bourré. Crittenton allegedly yelled at McGee. Arenas — at that point a pair of injury-plagued seasons removed from his swag-dipped, high-volume-shooting-and-scoring, All-Star heyday in the nation’s capital — allegedly stepped into the fray. Crittenton allegedly threatened Arenas with gunfire.

Days later, Arenas reportedly brought four guns into the Wizards locker room, accompanied by a note calling on Crittenton to “PICK 1″ to use in carrying out his threats of shooting Arenas. (Arenas later denied pulling a gun.) Crittenton reportedly chose to respond by pulling his own weapon in the locker room instead. No bullets flew and cooler heads eventually prevailed, but the league caught wind of the beef, and both Crittenton and Arenas were suspended for the remainder of the ’09-’10 season.

It was absurd, and surreal, and frightening. It was a depressing lowlight in the unraveling of the Wizards, who had become a playoff-caliber squad in the middle of the decade before Arenas’ injuries, the rise of the toxic McGee-Nick Young youth movement and the eventual trades of aging core members Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson sent Washington back to the league’s basement.

It was arguably the last relevant NBA moment for Arenas, who never regained his pre-injury form, spent a couple of nondescript stints with the Orlando Magic and Memphis Grizzlies, and has been out of the NBA since the spring of 2012. It was a sad sign of things to come for Crittenton, who years later would be indicted on murder and drug charges. And while the years weren’t nearly as unkind to McGee, his once-promising future never really came to pass.

The Wizards eventually flipped McGee to the Denver Nuggets in a “get rid of the knuckleheads, bring in some grownups” deal that imported Nene and helped mark a John Wall-led course-correction that’s got Washington back into the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff picture for the second straight season. McGee had one good playoff series in Denver, got paid a ton of money to stay on the bench behind two better players in Timofey Mozgov and Kosta Koufos, got hurt, got traded and got cut. He is, for the moment, like Arenas and Crittenton, out of the league.

Everyone got touched; no one came out clean. And now, all that’s left is an answer in the form of a question. But then, given the individuals and circumstances involved, maybe that’s fitting.

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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