Given that it was in my local newspaper, I’m ashamed that it took me so long to come across this Boston Globe article on Nerlens Noel’s deep ties to his hometown of Everett, MA. Tardiness aside though, it’s a read well worth your time.
Some background: Everett is the type of tough, blue collar city featured in every Mark Wahlberg movie ever. Its sports history is as storied as any in the state, and it has produced no shortage of stud athletes, especially in football. Now that Noel’s ticket to the NBA is officially booked, though, he’s become the unquestioned pride of Everett— Particularly among its Haitian community. Here’s a quick look at what the flat top feller’s draft night meant to his hometown:
As the city took note of Nerlens Noel’s new status, Jim Noel tried to absorb just how big an impact his younger brother had made on the city’s Haitian community.
“He’s a big role model for Haitians here. To see a little kid that the whole city helped raise; who has succeeded, just touches everybody’s hearts,” he said.
On draft night, 30 people crowded into Lou Diamonds’ barbershop, where owner Jean Altenor gave Noel his first high-top haircut eight years ago.
“I had goose bumps. I was nervous,” said Altenor, who cut Noel’s hair two weeks ago – a style he refers to as a tight, high-top fade, no Gumby. “He’s the American dream, and also the Haitian dream. He set a good example for all the young kids in the community. They all look up to him, they all love him; a lot of kids are getting high-tops because of him.”
I’m sorry, people-who-question-Nerlens’-character, I can’t hear you over the sound of everyone else telling me what an exemplary role model he is.
Read the article. It’ll warm your heart.