On Friday afternoon, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Pacers guaranteed Keifer Sykes contract for the remainder of the season.
Sykes joined the Pacers in late December after the team released reserve point guard Brad Wanamaker. It has been less than two weeks but with all of the COVID roster shuffling and another player, Kelan Martin, recently released, Sykes seems like he’s been here all season.
While his play has been inconsistent and not necessarily more productive than Wanamaker on most nights, when he has the three-ball going Sykes is certainly a solid option for a reserve point guard.
Call him whatever you want, but now you have to call Sykes an NBA player and that means a lot to the journeyman pro who has been around the world and back keeping the hoop dream he heard on Friday alive.
After practice on Monday, Indy Star beat writer, James Boyd asked the Chicago native what this means and how his mom will react to the news. Whew, it got dusty in a hurry.
I asked a tearful Keifer Sykes (@ksykesyb), whose contract was guaranteed by the #Pacers, how he thinks his mom, Lisa (@Supermom00767), will react when he talks to her.— James Boyd (@RomeovilleKid) January 7, 2022
“She deserve this more than anybody. ... The sacrifices she made, man. We come from poverty. We had nothing.” pic.twitter.com/4JC9VJNSpW
The 28-year old guard has been on the pro grind since 2015 when he started playing in the G-League for the Austin Spurs. From there he has played in Korea, Turkey (a couple of times), Italy, China, Greece (a couple of times), Australia and finally Fort Wayne before making that last two hour trek down I-69 to the NBA.
The list above doesn’t include playing in The Basketball Tournament which Sykes did this summer, hitting the championship game-winner to earn his team, Boeheim’s Army the TBT title and winner take all $1 million prize.
But despite the obvious financial impact, the news the Pacers delivered to Sykes on Friday was priceless considering the journey he took to get this opportunity.
And mom? Yeah, she’s lovin’ it!
I am so Proud of my BABYBOY https://t.co/bmf4pXKX06— Lisa Lee-Sykes (@Supermom00767) January 8, 2022
Add Sykes to the list of individual players on the Pacers roster who are real easy to root for, even if the collective results of the team have been tough to root for this season.