Every player who makes it to the NBA has a one-in-a-million story, but nobody has one like that of LA Clippers rookie Jason Preston.
As somebody who was involved in this fantastic tale, I’m writing from a biased perspective with a personal investment in Preston’s success. That’s because the first time I ever heard of him was when he was a young aspiring NBA blogger who wanted to write for Piston Powered, the FanSided site I ran at the time.
Jason Preston has had a basketball story almost too good to believe, and the LA Clippers are the best place for the next chapter of his career.
He was too young to write for a FanSided site at the time, but I told him to check back in after he turned 18 and we would get him set up. My own expectation was that I would probably never hear back from him, he would move on with his life in whatever direction it would go, and I would continue to work with other writers who wanted to cover the Pistons.
As it happened, on the exact date of his 18th birthday, he contacted me to get started. And get started he did. While many writers have come and gone in my time with various FanSided sites, he stood out because of his eagerness to start, and because he took on as many responsibilities as he could.
So when this past March Madness rolled around and a certain young basketball player for Ohio University popped up into national relevance, I was asked about him.
“Do you know the name Jason Preston?” I was asked one morning by a friend. I said no and asked why. My friend responded, “He used to write for Piston Powered, and now he’s a star for Ohio.”
I wracked my brain and checked my old emails, Slack messages and Twitter DMs, and the name “Jason Preston” wasn’t coming up. Then I stumbled upon emails from a Jay Preston, and everything clicked into place.
Jason grew up a Pistons fan in an era that being a Pistons fan was tough. Basketball was his outlet and his escape after his mother passed away, but at 6’0″ and 140 lbs, actually playing the sport didn’t seem like it was in the cards. But with his passion and knowledge, he figured he could maybe make a living by writing about it.
This is where Piston Powered and I came into the picture. His first article in 2016 was an in-depth piece about which Piston starter would make the biggest leap in the coming season. His second article was about a quote from Reggie Jackson about his belief that the Pistons had no ceiling in 2016-17.
Jason’s growth spurt came at just the right time, and his skills and knowledge manifested themselves into a mid-major star as he sized into an NBA-ready body. Less than five years after writing about Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris as Piston starters ready to take a leap, he’s going to be teammates with both of them on an LA Clippers squad that is colloquially referred to by Detroit sports fans as Pistons West.
To make this even more serendipitous, the pick that the Clippers used to draft him in the second round was originally a Pistons pick.
As an 18-year-old who spent hours writing about and studying the 2016-17 Detroit Pistons, this version of the Clippers are the best spot for him. He could find himself lobbing alley-oops to Marcus Morris, and he might even have Reggie Jackson himself looking over his shoulder as the ascendant Preston looks to conquer the next hurdle on his journey.
For now, let’s set aside the journey and the hurdles. At this point in his tale, there’s no better place in the world for Jason Preston, and as somebody who once upon a time edited his work, getting to watch is going to be a great privilege for me.