Romero Osby was drafted in the second round by the Magic in 2013, but failed to make the team. (Greg Nelson/SI)
Romero Osby is part of a dying breed. As a college senior entering the 2013 NBA draft, Osby's name might as well have started with a scarlet 'R' on draft boards. Osby was a standout player at Oklahoma and was named first-team All-Big 12 his final year. But his pro prospects were fairly bleak despite his production. At 6-foot-8, 240 pounds, he was a tweener forward -- too small to play power forward in the NBA, too slow to play the three -- and several years older than players he was being considered against,.
When the draft was held in June, Osby almost didn't hear his name called, until the Orlando Magic swooped in with the No. 51 pick to select the Sooner. But Osby's future with the Magic was far from guaranteed, he'd have to prove he belonged on the team. The gauntlet began at NBA Summer League.
Osby's story is one of several told in Summer Dreams, a two-hour documentary on the 2013 NBA Summer League, which premiers on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET (CBS). The Hard Knocks-like doc offers an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at what lottery picks and long shots go through during the grueling preseason whirlwind.
One of the most intriguing storylines from the film is Osby's. Unlike the 76ers' Michael Carter-Williams or the Mavericks' Shane Larkin, who also star in the film, Osby is fighting for his NBA future without the cushion of a guaranteed contract. The drama and decisions that face Osby in the infancy of his professional career are perfectly captured in a scene in Summer Dreams where Osby, his family and his agent are weighing the possibility of playing overseas or in the D-League if the NBA doesn't work out.
"The cameras are right there in our faces and right up under this," Osby told SI.com. "For these shows to be successful they really have to be able to capture the moment in every situation. You have to try and let yourself be free and let the emotion carry you. It was different, and frustrating at times, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was a blessing that someone was following me trying to tell the story of my life."
Osby failed to make the Magic last season and was released before the season, but hopes the documentary can bring some added exposure to his career as he still fights to realize his dreams in the NBA. He played for Fort Wayne and Maine in the D-League last year before a season-ending shoulder injury cut short his rookie campaign.
Osby said he's six weeks removed from successful surgery and will resume shooting in April. After that, he expects to resume full-contact activities in June and be ready in time for another shot at Summer League and the NBA. He said he's had offers from overseas and had a couple of NBA teams inquire about his future, but for now he's keeping his options open and getting ready to try and prove he belongs in the NBA at the summer showcase once again.
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"At the time (of the documentary), I viewed going overseas as a bad thing because I didn't want to give up on my NBA dream. But that's really the case anymore. For me, the NBA is just a matter of time. But I'll feel fortunate if I get a chance to play basketball anywhere. Right now I'm in a situation where I can't play due to my injury. I'll never take an opportunity for granted."
And if the documentary Summer Dreams somehow helps Osby's career, that's just an added bonus.
"That would be great if it could happen to me. I just want my story to come to light, because I think it could be a good example to other people. They need to know they aren't alone when they think they can't make it or when things aren't going well. I want to show them that you can fight back and you can overcome it. Even though I'm not where I want to be right now, I know I eventually will be."