Looking to the legends: 300 word features: Ian Haley


photo illustration by Julia Bailey and Abbey Painter

Ryan Davidson, editor-in-chief

Outside, sub-freezing temperatures ravage Des Peres. Inside, Ian, 15, ravages the court at the Lodge.

Caught in a love affair with the game of basketball, Ian takes the form of Laker greats from Shaq to Kobe, Kareem to Magic. The post-up slam and the jab step into a jumper. The Skyhook and the no-look pass. In his mind, it’s all there. In his mind, all that matters is the shaking Staples Center. He loses himself in the game. All 5 feet 9 inches of him. But his journey to this point wasn’t easy. It took perseverance.

Five years ago, he was just a kid.

A kid who had just started at North Kirkwood Middle School.

A kid who idolized athletes.

A kid who didn’t mind studying history.

A normal kid.

A kid who endured some

family troubles.

A kid who looked to his parents

for support.

A kid who rebounded.

A kid who always carried a positive outlook.

“Some people have it way worse than me,” he says.

And just as things were becoming normal again, a kid who prayed for his ailing grandpa.

A kid who dealt with more than his fair share.

Now, he’s a man. His past has made him who he is today.

Whenever he feels down, he hits the hardwood. Everyone else sees the Lodge. Ian sees 20,000 fans, their cheers adding up to a seismic boom that tells him to never give up.

“If you put your mind to it, you can do it.”

This man isn’t breaking backboards. This man isn’t scoring 81 points. This man isn’t the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. This man isn’t the greatest point guard in history. Standing well under 6 feet tall, he may not have the highest frame, but he’s the tallest man on the court.