Ten days ago, during a french professional basketball pre-season tournament, I had the amazing opportunity to met Romeo Travis and Dru Joyce III together. These two guys won a national high school championship with LeBron James, but mostly played together in the same high school, college and professional team overseas at the beginning of their careers ! This year, for the first time in their life as a professional athlete, they will be opponents on the same basketball court… Power forward Romeo Travis will be playing for Le Mans, while point guard Dru Joyce III will be wearing the AS Monaco’s jersey.
Can you tell your unbelievable basketball story in common?
Romeo : From high school, we played together for 8 years in a row. Then, we separated but it’s good to be back playing against him in France. I will get to seeing him more. It’s a good thing. I am happy for him, he is going very well. It’s positive to be in the same league.
Dru : That’s very special for us, very good friends, to be able to play together all that time. It was great always having him on my side and just growing together.
When LeBron went to the NBA, you attended the University of Akron. Do you remember that time?
Dru : Everybody knew that LeBron was going to the NBA. He was a very gifted player. Romeo and me, we had to mature more and work on our games. Every basketball player has his own journey, his own path. Also, we did collegiate years, we played very well and then we started our professional career. We’ve been able to maintain playing at a high level for 11 years now. It’s the path we have.
So you also started your pro basketball careers in Europe in the same team (Ulm in Germany) during two years. Romeo only played a few games the first year while Dru played the whole season…
Romeo : I was in Spain first. Then, I left this country, and Dru called me everyday for about two weeks. He got me a contract in Germany. Dru resurrected my career and brought me back to a happy place where I played more.
This year, you will play in the same national championship with each a different team. Is this a first time?
Romeo : It’s the first time ever we will play against each other overseas. It’s gonna be fun, challenging, interesting. I told him I am gonna to foul him the first play. It’s definitely gonna be fun to play against a very good friend.
Is it imaginable to see you again playing in the same team before the end of your careers?
Romeo : I would love to play with Dru again. We’ve been trying to be in the same team for years now, and we still trying. Hopefully before the end of our careers, we can get in the same team again and just enjoy each other. It could be a kind of sunset together.
Do you see yourself during the summer in Akron?
Dru : Sure, during the summer, we catch up and workout together.
Romeo : We live two minutes from each other (laughs). His wife and my wife are friends, our kids are friends. I still talk to his father, he is my friend. We live around the corner. This year, he actually get the chance to workout because he started at 7 a.m. I workout at 9 a.m. He was earlier than me. This year, we had the chance to workout together again, and that is a great feeling. I was happy to have this guy in the gym.
Dru, before signing a contract in Monaco, did Romeo asked you to come in France?
Dru : (Laughs) No, I already knew that I had a team interested in France. I was try to found a way for him to join me, but he is always in the french league and he is playing very well over here. My journey has taking me to France. I just love playing basketball. I am glad I can play in the french league, which is a very good league and a great place to play.