By Christopher A. Vito
In flashes, you can see Rondae Hollis-Jefferson on an NBA court and envision him wearing an orange-and-black uniform. The tools he developed at Chester High are the ones he showcases nightly on basketball’s grandest stage.
The smoothness that enables him to push the ball up the court in effortless strides. The creativity required to make acrobatic shots look routine. The aggressiveness to clean the glass against rebounders four inches taller.
Those attributes are constant, win or lose. And for Hollis-Jefferson, now 23, his team’s losses have far outnumbered its victories.
“I’m human. It wears on you. It definitely has its days,” he said.
Hollis-Jefferson’s most-pressing task, the one linked intrinsically with his pro career, is the ongoing rebuild of the downtrodden Brooklyn Nets. The third-year pro is compiling his best season as the club’s longest-tenured player, one whose leadership extends beyond his place atop many of its stat categories.
Beyond basketball, he focuses on change — changing lives, changing outlooks, changing what the future holds for children in Chester. The irony, he freely admits, is that a guy so dedicated to change remains the same.