KENNETH Faried has found himself out of the NBA far sooner than he expected.
But the former Denver Nuggets forward, 33, hasn’t yet given up on resurrecting his NBA dream so he moved abroad to keep on hooping – and hoping he would return to the league one day.
Forward Kenneth Faried disappeared after eight years in the NBACredit: Getty
Faried made a name for himself with his spectacular dunks during his seven-year stint with the Denver NuggetsCredit: Getty
Faried became known as The Manimal for a reason.
Despite his average frame, the 6-foot-8 forward dominated rivals in the paint thanks to his unreal athleticism and hustle.
The New Jersey native played college basketball at Morehead State for four years, breaking Tim Duncan’s rebounding Division-I record of 1,570 boards.
He also declared for the 2011 NBA Draft as the college basketball’s Defensive Player of the Year and after averaged 17.3 points and 14.5 rebounds as a senior.
The big man was then selected by the Nuggets with the 22nd pick.
Over the next eight years, The Manimal entertained NBA fans with powerful, acrobatic dunks – often in transition at high speed.
In his first five seasons, Faried averaged 12.3 points and 8.7 rebounds to earn himself a four-year, $50million contract extension.
His rise even earned him a spot on the gold-winning Team USA for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, which featured Steph Curry, Anthony Davis, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and many other NBA stars.
The forward’s decline started in 2016-17 when he played through a back injury that still sidelined him for over a dozen games.
The Nuggets then signed Paul Milsap in 2017, a move that significantly diminished Faried’s role.
The Manimal got traded to the Brooklyn Nets before the 2018-19 season and then was waived during the campaign, before finding some solid rotation minutes on the Houston Rockets.
His defensive rigidness and lack of 3-point shooting have likely been a factor in Faried’s inability to make an NBA roster ever again.
And he struggled to make peace with the fact his time in the league could be over – and that he disappeared so suddenly.
“For me, it was the depression,” Faried told The Guardian
“You go into depression. I went into depression. I had to seek therapy.”
Faried has played in Russia, China, Puerto Rico, and Mexico as well as the G League over the last four years, trying to convince NBA teams he deserves another chance.
He will continue to do the same next season on Bad Bunny’s basketball team, Cangrejeros de Santurce.
And without doubt, Faried will grind away as he’s always done – because his rebounds and dunks have been serving a purpose greater than basketball.
“My rebounding this ball put extra years on my mom’s life,” he said.
“She’s been battling Lupus her whole life. It means my dad don’t have to work no more with his hands.
“I can work with mine instead.”