Festus 'can't quit' on hoop dreams, eyeing NBA return

Festus Ezeli, Warriors

Whenever Festus Ezeli is done playing basketball, he should pursue a career as a motivational speaker.

You might be thinking to yourself, ‘Wait, isn’t Festus already done?’

He doesn’t think so. The former Warriors big man hasn’t played in an NBA game since 2016 but is still working toward a return to the Association. Ezeli was about to hop in the gym for a workout when he joined 95.7 The Game’s The Morning Roast on Tuesday for an interview about his ongoing NBA comeback attempt.

“I just can’t stop, I just can’t quit before I know the end of the story,” Ezeli said. “That’s what’s driven me to get to this point. If I didn’t have that in me, we would not be speaking right now.”

The 31-year-old Ezeli was not selected in last month’s G League draft but entered his name into the draft pool for the NBA’s developmental league. He said he has reached out to the Warriors and other NBA teams to gauge interest as well.

“I’ve talked to different coaches and [general managers] that I’m friends with, and obviously my people here at Golden State, and everybody’s definitely interested,” Ezeli said. “What I bring to the table is something that can help a lot of teams. With that, that’s just a different challenge that me and my agent have to figure out. But there’s a solution coming here soon.”

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The game is getting younger but you have to admire Ezeli’s no-quit attitude. The Warriors don’t have a true center but rookie James Wiseman is expected to return soon from a sprained left wrist. They reportedly didn’t expect to sign any centers once Kevon Looney went down with a sprained left ankle and it doesn’t make sense to add someone who hasn’t played in the NBA since 2016.

Nostalgia is great. No one will be able to take away the title Ezeli won with the Dubs in 2015. But an Ezeli-Warriors reunion isn't likely at this point.

Ezeli is keeping his hoop dreams alive but has also started an Instagram account called “Rebuilding The Beast” which shows people’s inspirational stories. As Ezeli noted in his interview, he only learned basketball at the age of 14 after immigrating from Nigeria. Now he’s hoping he can return from a knee injury in 2017 that cut his basketball career short at 27.

“You have to work for your dream and if you don’t give up on it, then it won’t give up on you,” Ezeli said.

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