Shelle Knows: The Journey of DJ Kennedy

Kennedy-mug-shotEveryone has a story to tell. Everyone wants that happy ending. One thing that everyone is not willing to go through is the process to get there. I want to introduce you to David “D.J.” Kennedy. He goes by the name D.J. He was born and raised in the city of Pittsburgh, where he attended Schenley High school. At Schenley, D.J. was apart of a stellar basketball team named the Schenley Spartans from 2003-2007. There he played along with a team of excellent talent including San Antonio Spurs own Dejaun Blair. While playing with the Spartans he got the name D.J. “Big Play,” signifying how great of a player he really is. Together they won back to back city championships and even a state championship in 2007 beating Chester 78-71.

2007 STATE CHAMPIONSHIP (right-left) Dj Kennedy, Jamal Bryant, Dejaun Blair

2007 STATE CHAMPIONSHIP (right-left) Dj Kennedy, Jamal Bryant, Dejaun Blair

After graduating in 2007 from Schenley with much success from a high school career, Kennedy went on to college at St Johns University located in Queens,New York. Kennedy became apart of the St. Johns Red Flashes from 2007- 2011 playing guard/forward standing at 6’5. In his career at St. Johns, Kennedy played 129 games, playing 30.5 minutes per game and averaging 11.7 points per game.

At the end of Kennedy’s senior year he hit a set back as most would see it as. At Madison Square Garden is where it happened. Less than six minutes into a Big East quarterfinal St. John’s forward D.J. Kennedy drove to the basket, got his right leg twisted in a tangle of bodies in the lane and crumpled to the ground. He was carried off the court and after examination it was reported that he tore his ACL. That is an injury that athletes see as their worse nightmares because you never know when or how your going to come back from that. Though he had to watch his team take part in the NCAA Tournament from the sidelines, DJ Kennedy’s mark on the St. Johns program will be indelible. During his senior season, he passed St. John’s legend Walter Barry on the Johnnies’ all-time scoring list. Taking the time to rehabilitate his knee as he constantly trained to get back to a healthy state, nothing seem like it was going to step in his way of pursuing his career as a professional athlete.

In 2011 Kennedy signed to the  NBA Developmental League’s Erie BayHawks still battling his knee injury. Then at the end of the 2011-2012 NBA season Kennedy was signed to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He led Cleveland in scoring with 12 points when he made his NBA debut on April 25, 2012. Then on July 25, 2012, Kennedy was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies waived him on September 18, 2012, but they re-signed him later that month. After that the Grizzlies waived him for a second time on October 7, 2012. Afterwards, Kennedy rejoined the Erie BayHawks.

On February 4, 2013, Kennedy was named to the Prospects All-Star roster for the 2013 NBA D-League All-Star Game. Then On March 5, 2013, Kennedy was traded to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers where he later helped them win a Championship scoring 27 points.

2013 southwest summer league game friday july, 12, 2013

2013 southwest summer league game friday july, 12, 2013

Now D.J. “Big Play” is back in action again as he played in the 2013 Southwest Orlando Pro Summer League, lighting up the court. Playing for the Heat in the Summer League, DJ hit the go-ahead floater with 15.6 seconds left to lift the Heat over the Detroit Pistons for a 90-85 victory. Kennedy told Dan Savage,

“I knew he was under the rim and going to try and block it, so I just tried to get it up high,” Kennedy explained. “I was able to get enough under it and able to get it to go in.”

Following Kennedy’s journey there were many possibilities and occasion where he could have chosen to give up. Kennedy shared after the summer league game,

It felt good being able to show people what’s there,” he said. “I didn’t have the week I expected, but I understand that you have to keep fighting through it, stay positive and I was able to finish strong.”

He could have given up after his knee injury. He could have given up through the trades. He could give up right now as he is still not guaranteed a position playing in the NBA. But what D.J. has shown through each instance is the willingness to go through “The Process.” The process meaning that he understands that certain things has to happen in order to get where he wants to be. He seems to understand that everything he is going through is building him up to become a better person and a stronger competitor. He has demonstrated that he is determined to push through adversity and do what it takes to prepare himself for when it is time to take center stage. So one day many will know the story of D.J. “Big Play” Kennedy and all it took to get him where he is destined to be.

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