Since he left the NBA in 2005, we can't give Kenny Anderson the award for the league's Most Improved Player. But if there were an off-the-court award for players who suddenly developed their character after a sordid past, it would go to the former Georgia Tech star who now lives in Pembroke Pines.
A feature article in the Washington Post describes how Anderson left college after his sophomore year, signed a $14.5 million contract and then embarked on a reckless, sybaritic lifestyle. It quotes Dick Gilbert, a longtime friend of Anderson's:
"He was too young," says Gilbert. "He was single. And when you have that kind of money coming in every month, I don't know too many kids who could fight that off for very long."
He soon became known around the league as a big spender, someone who liked bling, pretty women and, especially, fancy cars. At one time, he had 10 or 11 of them, he says now. He shakes his head when he says it.
"It was my fetish," he says. "It was ignorant. My accountant and my people told me -- and I should've listened -- like, 'Yo, you only need two cars.' But I was a kid."
A 2006 article in the New York Post slammed Anderson for being a deadbeat dad, but by that time his finances were in freefall.
Whatever the sins of his past, Anderson's made himself accountable now. And it appears he has ambitions similar to those of a former college hoops star who played at the same time and recently lived in the same south Broward city: Like Deon Thomas, Anderson's hoop dream is now to be a coach.