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What Happened to Georgetown’s Victor Page?

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If he so chose, former Georgetown guard Victor Page could go back to college and get his degree. Or he could impart the knowledge obtained from his basketball-playing life on others as a coach in his hometown of Washington D.C., where he still resides.

Never mind that Page turned 38 on February 17. Or that he is missing his right eye, which he lost in a 2003 drive-by shooting. Or that he’s found himself on the wrong side of the law time and again over the past decade. Page’s hoops legacy — first as a schoolboy legend at McKinley Tech High and then as an electric player with the Hoyas — still carries enough weight where if he just asked for help or an opportunity, he’d probably get it.

But he rarely, if ever, reaches out for help. And time might be running out on him.

“I don’t think he’s up to much of anything,” said Bruce Johnson, a longtime TV reporter and anchor for DC’s CBS affiliate and the author of a 36-page, e-Book biography of Page that was published last May. “He doesn’t work steadily since he doesn’t know what work he’d do or what he’s capable of doing. He still has incredible credibility out there as a basketball legend, but he’s losing that in a lot of circles.”

Page’s rap sheet has a lot to do with that. His trouble with the law has included the following:

  • 2004: Arrested for carrying a pistol without a license; plead guilty to a lesser charge and received probation.
  • 2005: Arrested for theft; case dismissed.
  • 2011: Arrested for 4th degree burglary, resulting in this horrendous mugshot.

And in 2006, a 19-year-old cousin, Jerome Stroud, was sentenced to 91 years in prison for killing two teenagers in 2004, allegedly in retaliation for the ‘03 shooting of Page.

This doesn’t even account for Page being shot a second time, in 2005. “I only got shot in the leg,” he almost nonchalantly told The New York Times in 2006. “It was an accident though. Wrong place, wrong time.”

Page is falling victim to a life of destitution in and around the same DC neighborhoods which, 20 years ago, his skills as a basketball player were supposed to deliver him from. He grew up in Barry Farm, one of the most notoriously violent and impoverished areas of the city. By the time he graduated high school, both his parents were dead — his father from pneumonia, his mother from complications due to HIV.

Had it not been for basketball, Page could have wound up a statistic like his parents. He was arrested during his senior year of high school for cocaine possession and gun-related charges. He needed two years of post-graduate school before he could enter Georgetown as a 20-year-old freshman.

Once on campus, Page “did what he was supposed to do as a student,” according to Johnson. And while he was occasionally a headache for then-coach John Thompson, his talent was clear as day. After earning Big East Tournament MVP honors in 1996 while starring with Allen Iverson, he averaged 22.7 PPG and earned First Team All-Big East honors as a sophomore.

“He had everything,” Johnson said. “He had a great jump shot and was a great defensive player. And he was tenacious, Michael Jordan-type tenacious.”

It’s an apt comparison from Johnson, as the Bulls brought Page in for a workout after he declared for the 1997 NBA Draft (he went undrafted). But once he was a pro player, Page couldn’t get out of his own way.

While at the Bulls camp, Johnson says Page went out on all-night drinking binges and was quickly dismissed. Thus began a journeyman pro career that took him to the CBA, USBL, Philippines and Italy. The “highlight” of it all was the 1997 “Christmas Day Massacre” in which Page — then a member of the CBA’s Sioux Falls Skyforce — used a broom from behind one of the baskets to chase and jab at an opposing player.

After the 2003 shooting that cost Page his right eye, his playing career was over.

The manner in which he has dropped off the map, save for occasional news of an indiscretion with the law, has many people fearing and/or assuming the worst for Page. Johnson debunked the rumor on Page’s Wikipedia page that he was homeless, but Page’s fleeting contact with people is perpetual pause for concern.

“He calls me from a cell, then the number changes and he may go weeks without calling me,” Johnson said of his conversations with Page. “When I talked to him a month ago, he was coming from a place where he didn’t give me a lot of detail.”

Johnson says he believes Page lives in the Trinidad section of the city and often gets calls from Page in the middle of Hoyas basketball games — especially those later in the season and during the tournament — to talk about what Georgetown should or should not have done. Other conversations turn to Thompson, who Page still regards as his father figure.

It’s been 16 years since Page last suited up for Thompson and the Hoyas. With all that Page has been through since then, it probably feels like longer. Chances are that if you asked a non-die hard Georgetown hoops fan about the dynamic player that starred for the Hoyas the year after Allen Iverson left for the NBA, they wouldn’t have any clue who you’re talking about.

Victor Page is slowly but surely losing his legacy as a D.C. hoops icon. At the current rate he’s going, it won’t be long until his legacy and chances to turn his life around are gone.

 
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