Projected as a top-three pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, the path taken by Scoot Henderson to get to this point has put him on the fast track to stardom, both on and off the court.
When it comes to NBA players being on the big screen, there’s usually an order of operations to it. First you play well enough to make a name for yourself in NBA circles.
As your popularity grows as an NBA player, so do the opportunities which at some point include appearing in a movie.
And then there’s Scoot Henderson who is expected to be among the first three players taken in Thursday’s NBA draft even though opportunities have come his way as if he’s heading into his fifth NBA season—and not first.
Henderson’s journey, one that has him on the precipice of achieving his ultimate dream of being an NBA player, has been anything but your run-of-the-mill path to the league.
One of the top point guard prospects in the class of 2022, Henderson finished his academic work in high school ahead of schedule and reclassified as part of the 2021 class.
This allowed him to sign a two-year, $1 million contract with the NBA’s G-League Ignite team, and in doing so made him the youngest player ever signed by the league at the youthful age of 17.
But just as important, and what’s often lost in the narrative of Henderson’s evolution, is the work he had to put in just to position himself to capitalize on his basketball talents sooner rather than later. And on top of that, he signed on as a professional basketball player at the age of 17 rather than take his talents to a college campus near you for one year.
Historically, teens that have entered the draft straight out of high school had limited options.
That is not the case with Henderson, a 6-foot-2 guard who comes into the NBA with eyes wide open, recognizing from the jump that he has a limited window of time to be great.
That’s why he joined the G-League Ignite team when many questioned the move as a high-risk decision that could derail a young, promising basketball career. More than one NBA scout wasn’t sure if the then-17-year-old could handle himself from an emotional standpoint to effectively compete with players several years older and wiser.
Henderson put those doubts to rest real quick, showcasing the skills that elevated him from being a top point guard prospect to one of the overall best prospects in the draft.
That’s why he jumped at the opportunity to be in the movie Shooting Stars, which chronicles the journey and the bonds formed between LeBron James and some of his childhood friends who were instrumental in James’ success in high school.
Like James, Henderson has taken an unconventional path to achieve his dream which has had its share of doubters along the way. Henderson, who plays the role of Romeo Travis in the LeBron James’ movie, spoke with EBONY about NBA journey.
“My path is unheard of, and unorthodox,” he said. “I went to the G-League early, as a professional athlete.”
One of Henderson’s greatest qualities on the court is his ability to make quick, in-the-moment decisions with the basketball.
A similar trait exists when it comes to him making life-changing decisions off the court.
And while it may not make a lot of sense to others, Henderson is quick to point out that there is indeed a method to his sometimes-perceived madness.
“Everything I’m doing now is very strategic,” he said. He readily admits to enjoying the life that he’s building for himself.
But he also knows the movie appearances, the fanfare, the corporate partnerships and sponsorship deals—it means very little if he doesn’t put in the time to steadily improve his craft as a basketball player.
“The fact that I’m doing everything now early, on the floor and off the floor...that’s what I want to be,” he said before adding, “Everywhere. A household name. The fact that I can do it before the draft, before I get into the league, is a blessing.
He added, “I’m one of none. I’m just living in the moment.”