Today we’ll take a look into the life of a former NBA superstar, who was picked second in the 1999 NBA Draft. He came close to beating the invincible Vince Carter in the memorable 2000 Slam Dunk Contest. His life took a huge turn once he started playing ball in college and made it into the NBA. Today’s topic is “What Happened to Steve Francis?” But before we get into the video, don’t forget to click on that like button and subscribe to the channel.
Steven D’Shawn Francis was born on February 21st, 1977 in Takoma Park, Maryland. His grandmother started to look after him in 1995 because his mother passed away from cancer, and his father was not in the picture. He came from a poverty filled background living off food stamps and sharing an apartment with 18 people. He even started selling drugs at only 10 years old just looking to survive.In high school he attended six different schools, but only played in a total of two high school games.
After his mother’s death, he dropped out of school at 18 years old. He received an offer to play at San Jacinto Junior College, so he completed his GED. From 1997-1998 Steve attended San Jacinto, and then from 1997-1998, he attended Allegany College of Maryland. After two great seasons, he attended the University of Maryland in 1998 for his junior year. He started in the shooting guard position, and by the end of the season he earned a spot on the All-ACC first team, and the All-Tournament team. They were nationally ranked number two and made it to the Sweet 16 in the national tournament.
After only playing one season at Maryland, he declared for the 1999 NBA Draft.
NBA Draft/Rookie Season:
He was the second overall pick by the Vancouver Grizzlies, but he didn’t want to play for them. He got what he wanted and was traded before the season started to the Houston Rockets. This was considered the biggest trade in NBA history involving three teams, and 11 players, plus two future draft picks.
His rookie season, Francis earned co-Rookie of the Year with Elton Brand. He also came in second place to Vince Carter in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest. Going into his sophomore season, he was chosen to start in the 2002 NBA All-Star Game and came in second place again, this time to Jason Richardson, in the Slam Dunk Contest. He only played in 55 games this season because of a foot injury. The Rockets didn’t perform too well without Steve playing.
Going into the 2002-2003 season, the Rockets picked up 7’6 center Yao Ming. The Rockets missed the playoffs again this season, but with the addition of Yao, the team improved their record drastically. Francis and Yao were both picked as starters in the 2003 All-Star Game this year.
In the 2003-2004 season, Jeff Van Gundy became the new head coach, but his style of play tended to clash with Steve’s playing style. His stats started to decline dropping from 21 points per game to 16.6 points per game. However, the Rockets finally made the playoffs for the first time since 1999, but lost early on to the Lakers.
Francis ended up getting traded to the Orlando Magic for Tracy McGrady, Juwan Howard, Tyrone Lue and Reece Gaines. Van Gundy made these trades because he decided to focus most of his offense around center Yao Ming.
In the beginning of the 2004-2005 season, Steve adjusted to his new team and flourished in his new run n’ gun offense. He averaged 21.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 7 assists per game. Although the season started off strong for the Magic, they didn’t finish strong and ended up missing the playoffs.
After this season, there were trade rumors going around about him getting traded, and one day right before the trade deadline, Francis was traded once again. He joined Stephan Marbury and the New York Knicks for the 2006-2007 season. Due to tendinitis in his right knee, his stats weren’t as high as usual. He averaged only 11.3 points per game.
After the season ended, Francis was traded once again during the 2007 Draft. Portland bought out the remaining two years of his contract, which turned him into an unrestricted free agent.
In the summer before the 2007-2008 season, Francis made his return to Houston and signed a two-year $6 million contract deal. He didn’t get much playing time, and only averaged 5.5 points and 3 assists. He suffered from a season ending injury to his quad and had surgery. For the 2008-2009 season, Francis decided to stay in Houston. He missed the preseason still recovering from his quad injury, but as soon as he was able to take the floor again, the Rockets traded him back to Memphis, the team who he was originally drafted to. But, before we could play any games in a Memphis jersey, he was waived from the team. After this, no other teams showed interest in him.
In November of 2010, Francis signed to play overseas with the Bejing Ducks, but he left the team after only a month of being in China. He only played in four games.
After Steve left the basketball world he struggled with the death of his stepfather. He started drinking constantly and was even arrested for multiple DUI’s and for allegedly breaking into a women’s car. He never served any jail time, but had to complete tedious hours of community service and pay a fine as well.
So the three time NBA All-Star and Rookie of the Year had it tough in the league. Being constantly overlooked and tossed around from team to team, and then being completely given up on, was a harsh reality he had to deal with.