Philly is still home to the Hornets' Hakim Warrick

Hakim Warrick , a Philadelphia native and a graduate of Friends' Central, returns home in the offseason. Getty Images
Hakim Warrick , a Philadelphia native and a graduate of Friends' Central, returns home in the offseason. Getty Images
Posted: November 08, 2012

NEW ORLEANS - It's a good thing Hakim Warrick keeps his offseason home in Center City, because the Friends' Central alumnus and eighth-year NBA veteran is now on his fifth team in five seasons. Warrick is a deep reserve on the New Orleans Hornets. He's a legitimate NBA player, albeit one who has become a journeyman at this stage of his career.

That's why each summer, Warrick stills returns home. And he admitted that even now, at 30 years old and more than a decade since he left Philadelphia to play at Syracuse, he still circles games against the 76ers on his schedule. Warrick and the Hornets will host the Sixers on Wednesday night.

"With this business, it's a lot of change, it's a lot of different places," Warrick said. "A lot of people, they get [to the NBA] and they want to move. They want to go to [Los Angeles] or Miami, but with my family being [in Philadelphia] and all my closest friends, I just felt more comfortable staying there."

Warrick did not play in the first three Hornets games. He came to New Orleans in an offseason trade with Phoenix, where he landed in 2010 with a four-year, $18 million deal. He spent the 2009-10 season in Milwaukee and Chicago after playing in Memphis for the first four years of his career.

"Just trying to change and adapt. That's the NBA," Warrick said. "In college, you get there, you know you're going to be there for three, four years. But in the NBA, you just never know. You've always got to be ready [to move]. You've got to be ready to adapt."

Warrick has a career scoring average of 9.5 points per game, but he has never played more than 26.2 minutes per game in a season and started only 94 of 498 games. He has proved to be a solid NBA player, but never enough to be a part of a team's future plans.

Each offseason, Warrick returns to Philadelphia to train with players on the Sixers and Philadelphia natives in the NBA, along with college players. He is close with Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry (Cardinal Dougherty) and feels a kinship with all players from the area.

"Some guys you haven't even met, but you've got that bond," Warrick said. He ran down a list of players in the NBA, from Sacramento Kings guard John Salmons (Plymouth Whitemarsh) to Salmons' teammate Tyreke Evans (American Christian). Most of the Philadelphia-area players in the NBA are guards, though, making the 6-foot-9 Warrick one of the few big men representing the city.

"There's not too many bigs from Philly," Warrick said. "Every now and then, you get a Rasheed Wallace, an Eddie Griffin. But historically, it's been an Alvin Williams, Cat Mobley. It's always been a lot of guards."

Warrick is the second-oldest player on the Hornets, but he thinks he can extend his career a few more seasons, if he stays healthy. And every time the Sixers appear on the schedule, the game will mean something to Warrick.

"Even if it's not in Philly, you know your family and friends will get a chance to watch," Warrick said. "When the schedule comes out, it's one of those games, you always look at it."


Contact Zach Berman at zberman@phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @ZBerm.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|