It’s been two years since Marshall Henderson last entertained a nation with his trash-talking and 30-foot three-point attempts. And dammit, you’re not human if you don’t miss watching this fireball of energy grace the court and crush post-game beers.
But the sharpshooter has found a new place to ripple the nets — and it’s unexpected.
In Baghdad, Iraq, of all places.
Henderson plays in the Iraqi Super League. The former Ole Miss star hears gunshots from time to time in the city. He doesn’t leave his Baghdad hotel too often, where working electricity can be a daily challenge. And there are rarely female spectators in the stands at his games.
Henderson is about as far away from his NBA dream as possible, and yet he finds himself in a much better place personally while playing in Iraq.
“It’s not as bad as people make it seem back home,” Henderson told Yahoo Sports in a Skype audio interview last week. “We just chill in the hotel. We don’t go anywhere. We could go places and it would be safe. We wouldn’t be worried about getting captured or anything. It’s definitely better than I would’ve expected.”
Henderson, who fought drug and alcohol problems during his college career, tells Yahoo! he hasn’t used either substance since he began playing overseas.
The profile reveals some of the unique challenges playing in Iraq has presented.
The terrorism concerns in the Middle East aren’t lost on Henderson. Players from the Al Shurtah Police team were in a hotel in Baghdad that was attacked. Luckily, none of the players were harmed.
“I was talking to the Americans [on Al Shurtah] and they had to switch hotels because a car bomb went off and blew up half of their hotel,” Henderson said. “They showed me pictures. It was crazy that they were telling me the story so calm. That would have freaked me out a little bit. The picture the guy showed me, the room right across from his room was destroyed.”
Henderson still harbors dreams of making it to the NBA. I think I speak for all of us when I say that would be terrific.
The league needs another loose cannon out there living by his own rules, like a Mr. Hyde version of Kyle Korver.
In the meantime, someone needs to get this guy in a tank fast, if only for internet-breakin’ purposes.