WASHINGTON -- Jerian Grant can recall serving as a ballboy for the Washington Bullets in the late 1990s, catching rebounds for Chris Webber, Juwan Howard and Rod Strickland. Grant would wear team gear and dream of being just like the players someday. Now, at 27 years old, he is on the Capital City Go-Go and part of the same NBA organization that his father, Harvey, played seven seasons for.
Jerian, a four-year NBA veteran, is trying to work his way back to the league after a brief stint in China. He was claimed by the Go-Go off waivers just over a week ago and hopes to earn another NBA deal, possibly with his hometown team.
"This is good for me. I feel like I'm back home and I'm feeling comfortable," Jerian told NBC Sports Washington.
Like his father, Jerian was drafted by Washington. He was the 19th overall pick in 2015 and traded on draft night to the Knicks in a three-team deal that brought Kelly Oubre Jr. to the Wizards.
Jerian grew up a "huge Wizards fan," he says and would have loved to start his NBA career in Washington. Instead, he played for the Knicks for one season before spending two years with the Bulls and then last season with the Orlando Magic.
Jerian is a 6-foot-4 combo guard who is known for his hard-nosed defense. On offense, he is a sound floor general with a decent outside shot, as he hit 36.4 percent of his threes last season.
Whether Jerian ever plays for the Wizards or not, the fact the latest stop in his basketball career is in D.C. means a lot to the Grant family. Harvey now lives in the Annapolis, Md. area and is just an hour drive away from the Go-Go's arena in Ward 8.
Harvey has another NBA son, Jerami, who plays for the Denver Nuggets. Whenever Jerian or Jerami's teams would be in town to play the Wizards, Harvey would show up at Capital One Arena to watch. For now, he can see Jerian much more often.
"It's awesome. I can just get in my car and drive down," Harvey said.
Back when Harvey was playing for the Bullets, the Grants lived in Bowie, Md. Jerian and his brothers would often have neighborhood kids over to play pick-up games, which according to him featured "a lot of fights and a lot of crying."
The Grant brothers went on to play high school ball at DeMatha in Hyattsville, Md. Jerian later played at the University of Notre Dame before joining the NBA ranks.
There is a stigma among college basketball coaches about kids from well-off families and about those who descend from NBA players. They call them 'three-car garage kids' and the assumption is they will not put in the necessary work or be hungry enough to make it.
That certainly wasn't the case for the Grant brothers.
"When they wanted to play, I sat them down and said 'don't play because of me, play because you love the game.' They said 'pops, we love the game,'" Harvey said.
"You can tell when somebody loves the game. They get up at 5:30 in the morning and go to DeMatha and practice, then go to practice and then stay after practice. They did all of that."
Jerian remembers it similarly. Being around the game of basketball his entire life, and seeing up close what it was like to be an NBA player, he did everything he could to become one.
"I love the game. From when I can remember, I was in love with it. I wanted to be great. To be great and to make it to the NBA, I knew that you had to work really, really hard," he said.
Jerian would work with now-Wizards assistant Dave Adkins often before school started at DeMatha. Those extra hours, he believes, got him to where he is today.
Now the Grants are hoping that same work ethic can get Jerian back to basketball's highest level.
"He belongs in the NBA," Harvey said.
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