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A Great Story About the Newest Dallas Maverick, Monta Ellis

Jonathan Abrams — formerly of the New York Times, now of Grantland — is probably the master of the NBA profile. He talks to everyone, and then he talks to more people, and his way with words and storytelling proves he’s more than just a skilled reporter. All of that is evidence in this profile from April of the Mavericks’ new starting shooting guard (emphasis on shooting), Monta Ellis. A sample:

Monta Ellis’s game is simple. Unless he’s lighting it up with one of his trademark scoring barrages, he appears to be fairly unremarkable. He isn’t big. He doesn’t talk trash. He shows little emotion. He is singularly focused. He often imagines himself as a kid again, shooting into that milk crate with no backboard, willing the ball in so he won’t have to chase down an errant shot. Growing up, he trained himself to tune out the noise on Jackson’s Bailey Avenue: the hustle of a drug deal, the crack of gunshots. Those memories, the same ones that consumed his brother Antwain, still haunt Monta. “It wasn’t pretty,” Ellis says. “I still have nightmares about the things that I’ve done seen.”