All Renaldo Balkman wants is a legitimate second chance.
A legitimate chance to prove that he’s grown up and that his past transgressions are something that he truly regrets. A legitimate chance to make amends and jump-start his basketball life again.
“To get a second chance, to put your foot back in the door, to get your name circulated within the NBA, that’s hard sometimes,’’ Balkman said. “Everybody grows up, everybody matures, and I feel like I have matured.
“Everybody deserves a second chance. In my case, yeah, I deserve a second chance.’’
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On March 8 while he was playing for the Petron Blaze Boosters of the Philippines Basketball Association, Balkman had a meltdown. He shoved some of his teammates and an assistant coach while aggressively confronting three game officials about a call that didn’t go his way.
Three days later Balkman was banned from the PBA. Less than two months later he was playing in the Puerto Rico Basketball League.
Last month, the Dallas Mavericks decided to give Balkman a chance to redeem himself. They knew the 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward from his time with the New York Knicks (2006-’08, 2011-’12) and Denver Nuggets (2008-’11), with whom he averaged 4.0 points and 3.5 rebounds in 221 career games while working mainly as a defensive specialist.
“He’s long, he’s fast, he’s tenacious, he understands the game,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s a veteran player, he knows the NBA game and he quietly goes about his business, but he makes solid plays.”
Balkman has tried to maintain a positive attitude since the incident in the Philippines. But he steadfastly believes there are some coaches and general managers who will hold his past against him.
“Wherever I go now, if it’s here, if it’s there, people are going to hold anything against me for what I have done,’’ Balkman said. “I made my own mistakes, I did what I did, I can’t go back and turn it.
“If I could I wouldn’t have done the things I did, but I did it. But whatever they think of me I’ll just show them differently.”
When asked if he would hold the issues Balkman has had in his past against him, Carlisle asked: “How many of us haven’t [had issues]?
“He’s an NBA player and I like him. I like what he’s doing. Being around him now for a couple of weeks he’s got a subdued personality, but his game is loud.”
Carlisle hopes Balkman will have a “loud’’ game at 7:30 p.m. Monday when the Mavs (1-1) host the Orlando Magic (0-2) in preseason play at American Airlines Center.
For his part, the 29-year old Balkman wants the world to know he’s a changed man.
“I’m out here with a positive attitude and a different mindset than I was when I first came in the league, and I’m a little more mature than I was before,” he said. “It’s a blessing that I’m here for a second time.
“Everybody deserves a second chance, and this is my second chance to not only show Dallas — the Mavericks — that I’m still an NBA player. But to show the rest of the 29 teams out there, also.”