The grass is always greener on the other side, as they say. The biblical tale of the Prodigal Son exemplifies that euphemism.
For those unfamiliar with the parable, here’s a quick synopsis: a young man asks his wealthy father for his share of the inheritance. He goes out to a distant country and exhausts whatever money he was given. With no money and remaining, he decides to return home to beg for his father’s forgiveness. To the son’s surprise, his father welcomes him home by celebrating with a feast
We’ve all been in that position of the son as humans. Our innate sense of self-belief leads us to rebel against our parents early as a teenager, eventually move out because we’re tired of our folks, and later seek a sense of fulfillment in the workplace through seeking new opportunities. Sometimes these risks paid off in spades, at others we’ve all fell flat on our face; but without taking these risks where would the fun lie in life?
Luckily, nothing you ever do in this life is put to waste. You learn something from each experience and gain a sense of humility along the way.
Enter Jordan Farmar. The point guard, who was born and raised in California, very recently completed a journey eerily similar to the son from the biblical parable.
Farmar was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 26th overall pick in the 2006 draft. He spent the first couple of years as a seldom-used reserve player, learning the intricacies of Phil Jackson’s system. His first run with the Lakers culminated in being featured as a prominent member of the “Bench Mob” during the Lakers’ three consecutive trips to the finals between 2008-2010.
In a strange twist of fate in the summer of 2010, Farmar elected to sign with the New Jersey Nets, as he felt his skill set was being maximized in the Triangle offense.
With the Nets in 2010-11, Farmar set career highs in minutes played per game (24.6), rebounds per game (2.4) and assists per game (5.0). Don’t forget that he hit this nifty game winner versus the Clippers. However, while his minutes increased marginally, he was still stuck playing behind Devin Harris, and later that season the Nets traded for Deron Williams, which further clogged up the depth chart.
Farmar spent one more year in the Meadowlands before embarking on an international tour of duty: he began in Israeli Basketball Super League (2011), returned to the NBA, albeit briefly, with the Atlanta Hawks (2012), before lighting up the Turkish Basketball League, along with another “Bench Mob” alum, Sasha Vujacic, this past season.
This brings us to present day.
Farmar took a massive pay cut, reportedly in the ball park of $9 million if he would’ve re-joined his Turkish team, in order to come back home to Los Angeles for a second chance to don the famous Purple and Gold jersey.
When asked by Mike Trudell, the team’s official reporter, in a one-on-one interview about why he left SoCal in the first place if he loves it here so much, Farmar replied, “At that time I was just looking for an opportunity to grow as a player and as a person, and that’s really what I did.”
Think about it, how many players leave the Lakers, only to rejoin them later? The legendary Derek Fisher in the summer of 2007, and before that the unflappable Vlade Divac in the summer of 2004; Farmar joins a pretty rare group of players who were afforded a second opportunity.
In a summer where a certain seven-footer became the first marquee name in a while to walk away from the heralded organization via free agency, a lesser known player showed that being a Laker still has immense value to the right person.
Farmar’s return may to Los Angeles may not have sent shockwaves through the National Basketball Association, nor will it dramatically increase the team’s probability of hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy in June, but it does give us fans a reason to cheer throughout 82 games. Jordan Robert Farmar exemplifies everything we want to see out of a Laker.
The narrative of Farmar’s return is inspiring, and ultimately relatable — because really, which one of you reading this right now haven’t wished for a second chance before?
The parable of the Prodigal Son concludes with the father explaining the reason behind the feast to his older and more responsible son: “but it was appropriate to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother, was dead, and is alive again. He was lost, and is found.”
Welcome home, Jordan. We’re all behind you.
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