Roy Hibbert never had a little brother or a big brother for that matter. Growing up his parents worked long hours often on weekends. He recalls lonely times a boy trapped in a man’s body. “I didn’t grow up in a great neighborhood so I stayed inside a lot” said the Queens N.Y. native and only child. “I went to a boarding school so I stuck to myself. In college I was focused on ... getting to the NBA so I had a different mindset than everybody else. “People would go out and party but I’d stay in to get my rest so I could be up at 7 a.m.” Five-plus years after joining the Indiana Pacers Hibbert is mostly that same person a tireless worker with some insecurities. But when word leaked last week that teammate Paul George was signing a maximum NBA contract Hibbert shifted into what’s become his big brother role. “Big Money” he shouted at George causing a smile soon to be worth at least $80 million over the five years of the contract. George knew the stay-humble message would come from the 7-2 290-pound locker room force. “That’s Roy’s role especially with me” George said. “He’s someone I look up to and (have) since day one. He’s been a big brother. He took me under his wing showed me the ropes ... set the tone and the bar of what a professional is.” Hibbert just needs a big brother once in a while himself. Early in his career he labored through the slow development that basketball big men often seem to experience; and last season’s slow start exposed him to the critics he feels he has always had. With training camp underway and Hibbert’s sixth NBA season approaching the Pacers have given him someone to call his own. Meet Ronald Jerome Jones a Tennessee native known to the sport as “Popeye.” In August Jones was hired as an assistant coach because of his work with Brook Lopez who is coming off his first All-Star season with the Brooklyn Nets. Lopez’s game is different than Hibbert’s but the mental challenges are similar said Jones who despite being 6-8 once grabbed 28 rebounds in a NBA game.
Hibbert embraces role as the Indiana Pacers' big brother
Indianapolis Star | Sep 29