“Just because you don’t get drafted doesn’t mean you give up on your dream,” said a wise professional basketball player. Dexter Terez Strickland, or more professionally known as Baden Jaxen, was the creator of such great input in the prologue of this fascinating story. One lovely fact about this man is that he just so happens to be my sibling. He changed his name to ‘Baden’ despite him being named after his father. He was born October 1st, 1990 and he is turning 32.
Early on, my brother went to middle school in Rahway. There he played AAU basketball and later on played at St.Patrick’s High School where he was the standout guard. He led the team to three consecutive state championships! In the year 2008, before I was born, he signed a letter of intent to play for the University of North Carolina. At UNC Chapel Hill, he averaged 2.7 assists per game, and 7 points per game over his four-year career.
Around the time he got out of college in 2013, Baden played in France for half a year and after that he played in the NBA G-league for the Portland Trail Blazers. Next, he played in Canada for a team in the NBL and later on he played in the NBA G-league again for the Los Angeles Lakers. Baden also played in Cyprus and then moved on to playing in Qatar in the Middle East. He then went from Riga in Latvia, to Samara in Russia, and then to Ukraine. During that time, Baden averaged 7.5 points per game, and his shooting was 25% from three point range and 45.6% from the field.
He has always felt connected to basketball. Playing was like a dream come true and besides not making it to the NBA he still did what he loved to do because it never felt like too much to carry. “When you start to love your work, it won’t feel like work,” my brother said to me any time I felt like something was too much to bear.
Something his career taught me was to push forward and never stop pushing until you have reached your initial goal. At the end of the day, the work you put in and what you get out of it is more important than the fame you receive.