Watching an NBA game at the Franks’ household is special these days
The big screen hangs on the wall.
The curved sofa sectional provides plenty of seating space.
It’s a living room in east Vancouver.
Or is it a sports stadium?
Hard to tell the difference at the Franks home these days.
“The neighbors could have heard us next door,” Robert Franks Sr. said. “It was loud.”
He was referring to the reaction in the Franks household when Junior caught a pass, lifted up, shot, and scored his first first NBA points last week.
Robert Franks, a 2015 graduate of Evergreen High School, was in Orlando that night, playing for the Magic against the San Antonio Spurs.
The long journey to the NBA was realized earlier that day when Franks was signed to a 10-day contract. But actually playing in the game, then scoring on that 3-pointer, made for an even bigger moment.
A moment that was shared some 3,000 miles away.
“It was amazing. Very amazing. When he first got in, and he made his 3, it was tears of joy,” Franks Sr. said. “Tears of joy. From 4-years-old, through high school, college, and to see this, it’s very amazing. Very amazing. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure it’s true.”
The Franks family screamed. Robert Sr. and Shannon and their daughters Razanique and Rozzheana were at the epicenter of the Robert Franks fan club that night.
“It was like we were at the game,” Franks said.
On Sunday, the TV room was a little quieter. Shannon had to work. It was just Senior and me, watching an NBA game that included a former Evergreen Plainsmen.
Robert Franks had texted his dad earlier in the day, saying that the coaches told him he’d be in the main rotation that night. Sure enough, Franks was one of the first players off the bench in the game against the Houston Rockets.
It was Robert’s fourth game with the Magic, and the third game he logged minutes. He scored five points to go with a blocked shot and an assist. (On Tuesday, he would score seven points. For more on Robert’s first experience in the NBA, see: https://www.clarkcountytoday.com/sports/robert-franks-reflects-on-his-first-week-in-nba/)
On Sunday, Senior cheered on the TV, just like he would if he were at a game.
“Take your shot,” he said, even before Robert got the ball for an open look.
Franks swished the 3-pointer.
“There you go. There you go. There you go,” Senior said.
“To see him now, in a real game. I told him, ‘You belong out there. You’re not lost.’ He looks like an NBA player. He wasn’t scared. He was right there,” Senior added.
There has been frustration leading up to these triumphant days. Robert Franks was hoping to get there sooner. But he never lost faith in himself, never lost confidence in his game. His dad always offered words of strength, as well.
“Trust God and keep praying. It will happen for you,” a father told his son. “Stay the course. Trust the process. With Robert, he never shows emotion. You never get emotion out of him. To see this here, though, it was like a ton of bricks came off his shoulders.”
The hope, of course, is a long stay in the NBA. That is yet to be determined. No matter what the future holds, Roberts Franks made it to the biggest stage in basketball.
“It’s the grind. He’s been grinding and grinding,” Senior said. “A lot of kids get to this point and get tired of it. They get tired of working out. They say the heck with it. But Robert just kept pushing, pushing, pushing.”
Dad remembered when Robert was 3 or 4 years old and was given a toy basketball goal, to be used in the house.
“He fell in love with it. He would not go to sleep at night,” Senior recalled. “Up all day, all night, on that basketball goal.”
At one point, his mother worried he had attention deficit disorder. Nope. Robert Franks was just focused on one goal, even back then.
“From that day on, it was his love,” Senior said.
Now, Robert Franks is on TV, playing in the NBA.
“It means a lot, just coming from this neighborhood,” Senior said. “Just making it is big for Vancouver.”
And on that couch on Sunday, we learned just why Robert Franks wears No. 0 with the Magic.
“When he went to Orlando, he told me he was going to wear zero for no doubts,” Senior said. “He worked so hard and there was no doubt he was going to make it.”