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Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Other Paul Walker — Tyrese Haliburton — Gives an Update on His Professional Career

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Tyrese Haliburton, 22, was born in Los Angeles to actor Paul Walker and entertainment executive Sheree Fletcher Haliburton. As a 6-foot-4, 230-pound freshman at Southern High School in Inglewood, Calif., he was the star of the team, according to the Southern Daily Leader. And over the summer, he signed with Bleacher Report, which paid him $10,000 for the profile. The newspaper’s biographical page begins with the sentence, “A 6-foot-4, 230-pound basketball player, Tyrese had his sights set on the NBA Draft.”

The profile quickly features pictures of Haliburton in his childhood bedroom and basketball locker room. It includes five minutes of footage of the Rams playing an exhibition game in Los Angeles, where Haliburton was born, against Green Bay. Haliburton played on the South Hills High School basketball team in Pasadena and was named Toasty Corners player of the year his senior year. He went on to play for Chaminade High School.

But his teenage years were troubled by drug abuse. As a junior, he entered drug rehabilitation in “with the hope of rebuilding his life.” The Times recounted the experiences of Betina Steward, Haliburton’s godmother, who has worked with him, saying that Haliburton’s struggles to overcome his addictions to cocaine and OxyContin didn’t start until 2010. Haliburton tried rehab once, the New York Times reported, then went back to drugs when he enrolled at the University of Southern California. When he graduated and was recruited by the Chicago Bulls for their training camp, he was still using. He was later admitted to UCLA Medical Center for addiction treatment. After five months, he went home to marry his girlfriend, Madeleine Southard.

The Lakers announced their training camp roster on Monday, but did not include Haliburton. His name has not been added to the list, with the team saying, “He is part of our organization and we welcome him to come and be around and hopefully have a great career in L.A.” Haliburton did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Times reported that, before his drug use, Haliburton had had a dream about dunking for his high school team. In the case of another late-developing NBA prospect, LiAngelo Ball, it took two years for him to get a scholarship. Haliburton’s path into the league appears to be much more popular. Despite getting arrested in China and charged with shoplifting merchandise, LiAngelo Ball was named to the UCLA team and is recovering well, coach Steve Alford said.

For reporters working on the age of anonymity, Haliburton was named “sports bestie” for Bleacher Report’s Medium platform, while Walker’s brother, Caleb, covered him and other athletes for Red Alert Sports. A Walker Sports PR representative referred questions to Mel Kausing, Tyrese’s agent, who declined to comment.

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