The bullet grazed his neck, Sundiata Gaines says, just grazed it, using that word again and again.
And then, after prodding, he points to the two-inch scar in the front of his neck and the half-inch circle at the hairline on the back of his head, and it’s clear it was worse than that.
"It was much worse than that," said his father Ronnie Gaines, tearing up 14 years after the incident. "That was the toughest time in our lives."
Gaines spent two weeks in the hospital after he was accidentally shot on a New York street as a 4-year-old. He was outside a copy store waiting for his older brother when he opened the door for a man who turned out to be a New York City police officer carrying a gun in a briefcase. The cop dropped the briefcase and the gun went off, sending the bullet through Gaines’ neck.
"It knocked me on the ground, but I didn’t really feel anything," he said. "I was about an inch away from probably dying."
The rest of this 2005 article above can be found here.
To be honest, I don't recall a lot about the Timberwolves' Sundiata Gaines era, even though it was fairly recent. Probably because he played a total of 65 minutes, tying him with Quincy Lewis for 18th-fewest in franchise history.
Gaines is a Queens, NY point guard who started every game at Georgia during his four years there. He's always been a survivor, one of those guys for whom it is easy to root.
Undrafted, he played in Italy for a year. Then he joined the Idaho Stampede of the D-League and played well enough to finally earn a shot in the NBA - a ten-day contract from the Jazz. In fact, see the offer here:
The smile says it all. Then, in his 5th game, this happened:
Since then? The next season, 2010-11, he signed with the Wolves and lasted two months. Ten-day contracts with Toronto and New Jersey followed, leading to a longer term deal with the Nets on March 21. Two days later he fractured his hip and was out the rest of the season.
During the lockout, he returned to Europe, this time suiting up for a team in Georgia (appropriately) before returning to the Nets. Last month, he signed with the Pacers. Perhaps you saw 'Yata play a little against MN this preseason? I hope he has a good season.