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News » Golden State Warriors' Corey Maggette battles perceptions

Golden State Warriors' Corey Maggette battles perceptions

Golden State Warriors' Corey Maggette battles perceptions CHICAGO Hurt. Confused. A bit angry. That's how Warriors forward Corey Maggette said he feels about his home fans booing him, which has been the case of late at Oracle Arena.

"It's not pleasant at all," Maggette said. "I remember the time when Al Harrington was here, and he was getting booed and he was asking to be traded. And I saw it when (Stephen Jackson) was here, and he was asking to be traded. And now, I'm getting booed for wanting to be part of this team through all this nonsense."

Then, he breathes, and he remembers. See, for Maggette, this is not so much about his relationship with the fans as it is yet another inner tussle. It's the latest in a career of challenges to his developing character, in a series of spiritual obstacles that eventually, he prays, will make him into the complete person.

The negative attention he got for being Duke's first one-and-done. His reputation for being selfish. His propensity for injury. Even the current struggles of the Warriors . Maggette views them all as training to build the kind of strength others can't see. It's times like today, when he can return home to the Chicago, that Maggette remembers where he gets the wherewithal to repeatedly power through.

"That's why, man, you've got to have faith," Maggette said. "It's from my grandfather, Rev. Willie B. Dugan, and what has been instilled in me. It helps me through any situation. You can beat up on me. You can spit on me. I will keep getting up."

Though he grew up on the west side of Chicago, in Melrose Park, Ill., Maggette got into Fenwick High in suburban Oak Park. Think "Finding Forrester," the 2000 movie featuring Sean Connery about a young, African American from the 'hood who wound up playing ball for a prestigious, Ivy League-type of high school.

Maggette was that kid, trying to keep up, to show he was more than an athlete, to show he wasn't a sellout.

The struggle continued at Duke, after he was a three-time Parade All-American at Fenwick. Maggette bolted for the NBA after one season with the Blue Devils. He was considered part of what was wrong with young ballplayers having been among the first to leave Duke early, especially after it surfaced that he took cash payments from AAU coach Myron Piggee.

So by the time he got into the professional ranks and became a bona fide scorer in the NBA, it was easy to label him as selfish. Sure, Maggette has been on one winning team in 10-plus seasons and he averages 2.2 assists for his career.

But him? Selfish?

"I don't think he's selfish at all," guard Monta Ellis said. "He tries to make plays for others. He tries to get everybody involved. He tries to do what's best for the team. With anybody, when your play is called for you, that's your play. Him selfish? Naw, I wouldn't say that."

Maggette said he's growing such that he doesn't see jabs at him as attacks anymore. Instead, they are tests of his faith.

They all are. The talk about the five-year, $50 million contract he signed with the Warriors in 2008 being too much. The fact that he's never played a full season. And, yes, his being booed at home every time he misses a jumper.

They all serve as opportunities for even more development. Cross training for the soul.

"It's been a big thing for me to always try to prove people wrong," said Maggette, whose Corey Cares Foundation is bringing 20 kids from his old neighborhood to tonight's game. "I just need to endure what's going on. It's a spiritual battle. I know there's a light at the end of the tunnel. I'm going to press on. It's a fight. ... In the beginning, I didn't understand it. Sometimes I still don't. But I've got to understand that and keep moving."

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: December 11, 2009


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