OJ Mayo was labeled as former Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley's "little Kobe Bryant" when the 6'4" shooting guard was acquired during a draft-day trade for Kevin Love during the 2008 NBA Draft. A turbulent career that derailed his expectations led to him playing in the Chinese Basketball Association and SI Senior Writer Alex Prewitt detailed how Mayo is now caught in the middle of their attempt to resume play.
As Grizzlies fans know, Mayo was a prolific scorer dining his rookie campaign, playing at a level close to eventual Rookie of the Year Derrick Rose for the majority of the season. Mayo averaged a career-high 18.5 that season, with his production and confidence seeming to diminish as his four-year tenure with the Grizzlies progressed. A botched trade deadline deal, being relegated to come off of the bench and black-eye suffered from teammate Tony Allen during a card game were all the low-lights of his disappointing time here
Mayo now finds himself in the Chinese Basketball Association after a two-year ban for use of an illegal substance had him out of the NBA. He has been successful there and decided to stay there during the pandemic after once wanting to leave for mistakingly safer pastures back on American soil. Mayo is now in a place where is waiting for the league to resume play after several postponements and push-backs of the originally planned return date. The former Grizzlies guard has taken a total of four tests for the COVID-19 coronavirus and is preparing himself for a season that is still in question, to say the least.
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