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Still Easy to Root for Shawne

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Bob Kravitz joins me in giving Shawne Williams a second chance after considering all the circumstances involved. Kravitz delved into Shawne's hard knock life as a kid growing up in Memphis. Considering he's only 21, that life is still clearly visible in the rear view mirror, or front seat as the case may be. Shawne knows the stakes, which he mentioned to the media on Friday.

"I look at where I'm at now and where I was back then,'' he said the other day. "And I sure don't want to go back there. I'm a pro ballplayer now and I've got to separate myself from some people because I know some of them are bringing trouble.

"You're around people 17, 18 years, that's all you know. A lot of them aren't doing the right things, but they're the ones who supported you. But now I've got to keep them away. I can still talk to them, but they've got to know, if they're doing wrong, it's my face showing up in the newspapers, and it's me and the team that's getting embarrassed. It's like coach Cal (Memphis' John Calipari) used to say, 'Just smile and say, hey.' "
I read this quote as genuine words from a genuine kid. Yes, I've been burned before. Ron Artest's words always seem genuine, and at the moment he's talking I'm sure the words are genuine, but Ronnie always tripped up on the part where his actions didn't back up his words. I'm willing to take Shawne at his word and root for him to back them up on and off the court, as he matures in the public eye.