/The Exciting Life and Lonely Death of a Basketball Vagabond

The Exciting Life and Lonely Death of a Basketball Vagabond

It would make a great story, I told him, and we decided to reconvene after the Iranian domestic league ended. But we never spoke again. He could never sit still very long, and I was focused on other work. We had one additional exchange on Facebook, when I passed along a greeting from Mike D’Antoni, who had coached him when he briefly played for the Phoenix Suns in the N.B.A. “Tell Mike I said, Hi,” Vroman replied. And then nothing.

But the chance meeting with the woman in Toronto would inevitably turn my attention back to an athlete who might have become a sensation in the N.B.A. had he made his career here and not overseas. Imagine what the American media would have done with a player who dressed in costumes in his spare time, hung out at art festivals, essentially worshiped a tiny white dog, partied relentlessly and — it should be noted — was a relentless rebounder.

The Toronto encounter would also lead me to to Jackson’s father, Brett, a former center at U.C.L.A. and the one person whose life, in some ways, was just like his son’s. And I would also get to know Brett’s second wife, Pari Habashi, a therapist who…

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