Sports

WEARING THE DREAM

Former Mater Dei basketball player dons Lakers uniform for NBA play

By Dan Arritt     3/20/2018

A  dream became a reality for Travis Wear on March 3. 

The former Mater Dei High School basketball star stepped on the floor wearing a Los Angeles Lakers uniform, and this wasn’t him trying to imitate Kobe Bryant, or Shaquille O’Neal, or any of the other famous Lakers he idolized while growing up in Huntington Beach with his twin brother, David. 

Wear was actually entering an NBA regular-season game for the Lakers, having signed a 10-day contract the day before.  

He didn’t just soak in the moment when he entered the game against the San Antonio Spurs with 54 seconds left in the first half either. He took a 3-point shot on his first trip down the floor. Wear missed that one, but didn’t miss his second try, a 3-pointer with 10:08 left in the game that cut an 11-point deficit to eight. 

Wear would stay on the floor the rest of the way and score five more points to help the Lakers rally for a 116-112 victory, their season-high fifth win in a row. 

“I’ve been thinking of this moment for three years since I last played in the NBA,” Wear told the OC Register after the game. “I wasn’t really nervous. I just knew my role, came and played to the best of my ability, and then let fate take its course.” 

Wear has been turning heads ever since he and David stepped on the floor as gangly 6-foot-8 freshmen for Mater Dei in the fall of 2005.  

Travis played in every game his freshman and sophomore seasons, but was mostly overshadowed by Taylor King, who had committed to UCLA the summer before his freshman year, which was two years before the Wears arrived at Mater Dei. 

The Wears grew to 6-10 by their junior year and became the focal point of the team. Travis averaged 16.1 points and 8.3 rebounds, and David 16.8 points and 8.9 rebounds as the Monarchs defended their Division II state title in 2008. 

The brothers played a year at the University of North Carolina before transferring to UCLA and completing their college careers. Neither was drafted by an NBA team, but Travis tried out for the New York Knicks and played well enough to make the squad. 

After one year in the NBA, he played professionally in Spain for a year and then returned to the U.S, where he signed with the Lakers in September 2016. He was waived after two preseason games, but didn’t give up, joining their NBA Development League affiliate, the Los Angeles D-Fenders. 

Wear kept plugging away in the minor leagues before his opportunity to play for the Lakers arrived on March 2. 

Wear had just finished practicing with the South Bay Lakers of the G-League when he received a phone call from his agent telling him the Lakers were planning to sign him to a 10-day contract. Another call followed from South Bay general manager Nick Mazzella, telling him to get on the next plane to San Antonio. 

“Obviously, that was a great moment and a surreal moment,” Wear said. “Coming from wearing a Lakers jersey and stuff in the front yard and the driveway, to a real jersey, is a dream come true.”  

The only thing that could possibly make the experience better is if the Lakers extend his contract through the end of the season. 

Don’t be surprised if he keeps living the dream.  

 

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