In what looked like an unexpected series of events, Greek team Kolossos H Hotels, located on the island of Rhodes, recently announced the signing of free-agent point guard Ty Lawson.
The team started the season with two other guards at the helm: JaQuan Lyle and Dusty Hannahs. Both had turned heads in college but never managed to find chemistry in an ensemble that is still trying to figure things out in the Greek League. Kolossos currently stand at 3-7, being placed nearer to the relegation zone rather than to the playoffs.
But the present status of the team is likely to change. Lawson, 33, a consensus second-team All-American and NCAA champion in 2009, was at one point considered one of the best guards in the NBA. However, China became his home for the last three years, excluding a five-game stint with the Washington Wizards in 2018.
Kolossos marks Lawson’s first professional contract since being banned from the Chinese Basketball Association in September due to some Instagram comments that were considered racist. Prior to his release, he averaged 27.3 points, 8.7 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per game.
One of the keys to his latest deal, which has already been announced, is the relationship that Lawson developed with Kolossos’ head coach Ilias Kantzouris, when the former played with Lithuanian powerhouse Žalgiris Kaunas during the 2011 NBA lockout and the latter was an assistant coach at that time.
TalkBasket.net had an exclusive albeit brief chat with the 5’11’’ guard, who is ready to embark on another overseas journey. Kolossos H Hotels management told him not to do any interviews until he steps foot in Greece and is officially presented by the club.
So, what follows is not an interview, but Ty Lawson explaining his present status.
“I’m waiting for my Chinese visa, so that I can get back to China after I come to Greece. I believe it will be done Thursday or Friday (7/8 January). As soon as I get it, I am on the next flight out. The team will book my tickets once I get my visa. Then, I’ll be on my way to Greece.”
When asked why he stayed in China, he replied: “Because the COVID situation is really non existent. Right now, there’s hardly any cases and I’m allowed to work out in the gym, play basketball, go eat somewhere. In the United States, I live in California where everything is shut down. So, I thought China is a better place to stay.”
Ty Lawson says he’s trying to stay in shape: “I have been practicing here. My big brother, who I stay with, has a gym in his hotel. I play basketball, I work out and I have a gym 24/7 at my disposal.”
The former Nuggets point guard has caught up with the developments in his new club, including some of his future teammates: “I’m aware of the situation. We’re hoping to make the playoffs because the team is one game from there and one win from last place. So, I understand the importance of winning games. The coach has sent me some of the games, so I can watch the plays. I know about the team and everything. For instance, there’s Enes Kanter’s brother on the team. I know Enes and I’m big fan of him. I’m excited.”
Last but not least is Zalgiris, a club that Lawson is still very fond of: “It was good. I had to leave early because I was still under contract in the NBA and then, when the league started, I had to go back. I love Zalgiris and I’m very aware of European basketball.”
Let’s see what Rhodes may have in store for him.