Arron Afflalo just dropped the greatest article in the brief history of the Player’s Tribune and it’s not even close. Afflalo, who joined the New York Knicks this offseason, grew up in Compton, California and was a hustler from day one.
He begins his story, talking about donuts. Not a game. Not the game. We talkin’ about donuts. When Afflalo was just 13 years old he would buy donuts before school at 50 cents a pop, and flip them for $1 to all of the kids at school.
He would later graduate to moving bootleg CD’s by the time he got to High School, and his business was booming by the time 50 Cent’s ‘Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ dropped. Using Napster and Kazaa, he would downloaded the entire CD, track by track, and burn bootlegs throughout the night- selling them the next day for $5.
Soon, the word was out: If you need a CD, talk to Arron. When 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ album was coming out, I literally had so much demand that I started taking pre-orders. People were giving me money up front to be the first on the list. It was crazy.
If you heard “In Da Club” coming from a car stereo in Compton in 2003, there’s a really good chance that CD was burned by Arron Afflalo. 50, I’m sorry man, but I probably took $200 from you that summer.
It got addicting. I would stay on the computer all night downloading songs. I had a setup in my room where I had some weights and I’d work out while I was waiting for the CDs to finish burning.
If you heard “In Da Club” coming from a car stereo in Compton in 2003, there’s a really good chance that CD was burned by Arron Afflalo.
Every 15 minutes, a CD would pop out of the tray. It was like a bakery. Every 15 minutes was another $5. I’d stay up until three or four in the morning. There was a point during high demand when I’d set an alarm every 15 minutes and I’d just pass out asleep right on my desk, then the alarm would go off and I’d swap in a new CD.
Eventually, Arron met a guy from his school named Kendrick Duckworth who asked if he could burn Jay-Z’s ‘Reasonable Doubt,’ which he gladly sold him for $5. Of course, Kendrick Duckworth is now known as Kendrick Lamar.
This one guy from my school named Kendrick Duckworth was really into hip-hop. He asked me to burn him Jay Z’s Reasonable Doubt. That’s an all-time classic from ’96. You couldn’t just go to the store and buy all these albums, you know? It would cost too much money. But you could come to me and get it for $5.
Kendrick eventually started making his own music. He got pretty good at it, too. You’ve probably heard of him. He goes by the name Kendrick Lamar.
Afflalo’s journey from a donut-slinging teen to a sharp-shooting NBA guard is a great read, you can check it out in it’s entirety right here.