Friday, November 25th, 2011 at 10:25 am  |  13 responses

OKC Thunder’s BJ Mullens Played Pickup Hoops With Prisoners

One could make the argument that 23-year old Thunder center BJ Mullens had the most unique basketball experience of all locked out NBA players this offseason. From ESPN: “The group walks through two more sets of fences and past several guardhouses before Mullens stands at the entrance to the gym. His pickup game is about to begin. In prison. Mullens was born in Canal Winchester, Ohio, and grew up playing basketball around Columbus. He lived off and on with his mother and five siblings until high school before moving into his own apartment, paying his expenses by working after school and on weekends as a plumber. During his junior and senior years of high school, Mullens lived with the family of one of his best friends. In his first year there, he and the friend visited a juvenile detention center to teach basketball clinics and talk to troubled teens about making better choices — and also to play pickup games. There wasn’t any particular reason they played there instead of a nearby gym or court, Mullens said. He just ‘wanted to go and play basketball’ and liked the ‘under-the-radar’ level of competition. After the Thunder’s playoff run ended last May, Mullens began offseason workouts with a trainer and played pickup games at Ohio State University, where he played for one season before going pro in 2009. But after talking this spring with friend Jeff Lisath, the assistant warden at Ross Correctional Institution in Chillicothe, Ohio, Mullens decided to play inside prison walls once again. ‘I played ball at some places for juvenile kids when I was in high school and I kinda wanted to get back into it,’ Mullens said. By mid-July, he played in his first pickup game at Ross, which houses mostly level 2 and 3 prisoners — medium and ‘close’ security, respectively. (The scale ranges from 1 to 5, with 1 representing ‘minimum security’ and 5 symbolizing ‘administrative maximum.’) ‘They play some really good basketball up here,’ Mullens said.”

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  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    lotta respect for this cat.

  • CubicleWorker

    Boom! Slam with feel good stories this morning

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Believe it or not but BJ Mullens used to be one of the highest ranked prospects in his draft class. But as you know he dropped to 24 on draft day and hasn’t got much shine since.

  • http://360special.blogspot.com/ dev0

    and this from the dude who got the lowest rating in 2k12

  • http://www.twitter.com/gerardhimself Gerard Himself

    he really ‘locked them up’ on D

  • CubicleWorker

    Don’t drop the rock in the shower..

  • http://nba.com GP23


  • http://slamonline BossTerry

    The Johnny Cash of the NBA..

  • http://www.twitter.com/gerardhimself Gerard Himself

    haha bossterry, nice

  • http://slamonline.com 1982

    Good man. Open and shut case, Johnson.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Shout out, to Hook Williams, if you haven’t seen his documentary showing some of his prison highlights and his life. Check the documentary out. The greatest player EVER, not to make the NBA. BOOK IT!!!

  • kantankruz

    Awesome stuff.

  • cwill

    I’m just glad to see an NBA player who is out doing something productive with their time instead of becoming the next rap artist like most of them have tried to do during the lockout.