A dream come true – hooversun.com ear pain and sore throat

On Oct. 18, 2017, Josh Magette pulled up on the left wing and hit a 3-pointer to extend a lead for his team on the road in the season opener. It wasn’t any season opener, though. It was Magette’s NBA debut as an Atlanta Hawk. Dirk Nowitzki, a 13-time NBA All-Star, former league and NBA Finals MVP, inbounded the ball for the Dallas Mavericks.

“It was pretty incredible to have my parents, my brother and fiancée there. [The shot] was icing on the cake. It was a night I will never forget for sure,” Magette said. “You grow up watching all of these guys, and Dirk is a legend. To be on the same court was awesome. I was just happy to be out there and kind of arrived.”

It was the first NBA moment by a Spain Park High School or University of Alabama in Huntsville men’s basketball player. The family was invited down to the court after the game, where former Hawk Dominique Wilkins made it a point to introduce himself to the Magettes, and the family was invited to dinner with the team.

The night was the culmination of a six-year professional journey for Josh Magette, that has included time in Holland, a stint in Los Angeles with the NBA D-League (now G-League), a year in Greece and then the last two years back in the D-League in Los Angeles.

“It’s been a dream come true. The culmination of the last 20 years of playing basketball, especially the last six of my professional career. It’s something I never would have imagined happening, but obviously it’s something you have to pinch yourself sometimes to remind you where you’re at and how far you’ve come,” Josh Magette said.

Magette’s journey began in the Hoover Rec League, where he was part of an All-Star state championship team. After playing on the freshman and JV team at Spain Park High School, he was the backup point guard for the Jags when they scored more than 90 points in an upset of Gadsden City, in front of a packed house at the AHSAA Northeast Regional final to advance to the Class 6A semifinals. He was named MVP for the tournament.

“We had no business beating them, but we shot like 60 percent from 3,” Magette recalled. “It was one of those confidence things. Once it happens it’s like, ‘I can do this every night.’ Once you do it against the really good competition, it instills some confidence in you.”

“You looked at him, and he’d be the last one picked in a pickup game,” said Brian Moon, former Spain Park boys basketball coach. “But when we subbed him in, we knew we were better. He made everybody better. He’d make an average player good and a good player great, and I think that’s his No. 1 quality. He’s very crafty — he understands the game and he knows where his teammates are. He’s always looking to pitch the ball ahead to get it to the right person.”

UAH, an NCAA Division II program, was the only school that offered Magette a scholarship and planned to redshirt him until the players convinced head coach Lennie Acuff otherwise. Now in his fourth seasons in the NBA D-League/G-League, Magette has dished out more than 1,600 assists in the G-League, including leading the league in assists per game the last three seasons.

As a two-way player, Magette’s schedule was always fluid during the season. He opened the season with the Hawks in Dallas and played eight games in the first two months with the team, one game in January, one in February and then eight more in March and April. In his final eight NBA games, he averaged 4.3 assists and 18 minutes played.

“I’m having fun and truly enjoy playing the game every year. It hasn’t really felt like a job for me. I get to go out and play basketball,” Magette said. “I felt like every year I was getting closer to getting that shot at the NBA. I felt like I was improving and gaining ground on achieving a dream. I didn’t feel like giving up on that until I saw it all the way through or until I regressed. I felt like I was on the rise at all times.”

“He’s the most competitive kid you’ll ever see,” said Moon, who spent the last seven years in the Atlanta area at North Forsyth High School. “He’s going to keep going. I don’t think this is a one-and-done deal … It’s pretty cool to say you’ve coached a kid in the NBA. Not everybody can do that, and it’s good to be able to relay messages to a kid who may think he can’t succeed that Josh is a great guy to point to and say, ‘This guy did, and he looks like you.’ Josh is a great example of how you can reach excellence.”