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Four times Myles Turner made it impossible not to like him

Indiana’s starting center Players’ Tribune article somehow managed to make him even more likable.

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NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Indiana Pacers Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Myles Turner’s journey to the NBA is probably familiar. He was a chubby preteen who developed into a lanky teenager with a sweet jump shot who idolized Kevin Durant, drew comparisons to LaMarcus Aldridge, and meticulously worked to overcome gait-gate in order to fulfill the manifest destiny written by his parents on his birth announcement two decades earlier, “Future First Round Draft Pick”.

It’s an endearing story made more endearing today by the minutiae he included in an article he penned for the Players’ Tribune entitled, The Anomaly.

The 20-year-old averages 2.5 blocks per game and is shooting as good as any center in the league from mid-range who has attempted at least 80 field-goals from that distance, but his most likable qualities have little to do with basketball.

He doubted himself:

Existing within a profession so often defined by self-confidence and bravado, Myles Turner refreshingly revealed a time back during either his junior or senior year of high school at a premier summer camp when he perceived himself to be surrounded by superior athletes. Intimidated whilst leaning on someone else for strength, Turner — at least for a brief moment — was just like the rest of us.

These guys were going up, putting it in between their legs, doing 360s. I looked at my dad like, Man, I can’t play with these guys. He said, “Son, one day you’re gonna be better than anyone out here.” It was pretty hard to believe that at the time. I was discouraged, to say the least.

He admitted that reading comments about himself bothered him:

In an age when many of his peers routinely claim willful (blissful?) ignorance when it comes to what’s being written about them in the press or by keyboard warriors spewing vitriol on social media platforms, Turner confessed that he let some of the mean tweets get to him during his rookie season.

At this time last year, I was feeling a lot worse about everything. After every game, whether I played good or bad, I would go on IG or Twitter and type my name in and see what people were saying. Today I could give a damn about the comments, but back then I just had to know what people were saying. I know that you can’t let what people say about you affect you … but last year I kind of let it affect me.

It’s so hard to stop yourself sometimes, but you have to — your fans, kids who look up to you and your family depend on you. If someone tweets, Myles Turner, you suck! You wanna react so bad. People make fun of my hair, which isn’t that big a deal when you’re joking around with your boys, but when it comes from a random Twitter user, you can’t help but take it the wrong way. There’s no way to reply to that stuff and come out ahead, though. You just gotta log off.

(A quick aside about the fantasy sports situation: I realize that fantasy provides value for the league and it is a way for fans to connect and be more tuned into the game. But it is a field day for hecklers. People cuss me out every other day, people make racial slurs and are unappreciative of the work we do on the court to get a win.)

Good on him that he opted to block out the hate. Better on him that he revealed the human-side of public figures who are routinely inundated by said hate.

He’s one very loyal teammate:

Remember that one time that one player from that one team said his former college teammate was having a better season than his current four-time MVP teammate?

Yeah, Myles Turner did the exact opposite of that.

I love playing with Paul George. To me, he’s the best player in the NBA. People say Russ, LBJ, KD, or Harden, but to me Paul George is the best player in the NBA. He can do everything.

He doesn’t think “making it” is solely about materialism:

For me, I learned that’s what making it is all about. Not about how many houses or cars you buy, not about how many shoes you got, but putting yourself in the position to help the people you love.

It’s the most rewarding feeling ever.

As evidenced by him gifting his aunt and grandma with a vehicle to thank them for driving him to his AAU games as well as his WARM (We All Really Matter) Program which seeks to help those less fortunate by providing them with care packages, it’s clear that his desire to serve others isn’t just him paying lip-service.

Of course, courtesy of Indianapolis Monthly’s Nate Miller we do know he that he did splurge on one spectacularly eccentric item for himself.

What was the dumbest thing you bought after signing your rookie contract, the thing that made your parents say, ‘Are you kidding me, Myles?’

No one’s asked me that before. Let’s see. One time, I bought a giant sock monkey. It was probably 150 bucks. My parents were like, “What the hell, why did you do that?”

Yeah, exactly. Why did you do that?

I don’t know. I like random objects in my place. The giant sock monkey was there. I had to do it.

Alright, so maybe there are five times Myles Turner made it impossible not to like him.