Justin _____, seen here mopping the floor at a basketball tournament he hosted, is trying to escape the stigma of his criminal past. Will society let him?
Are there some breaches of trust one can never come back from? Or is there a point when the stigma associated with a crime does more harm than good?
These questions have renewed attention as our society scrutinizes its relationship with the criminal justice system. For the Phoenix high school basketball community, they are concrete ones.
Justin _____, 36, is a fixture in the world of Phoenix high school boys basketball. As a scout, he connects teen athletes with college coaches, writes profiles on their backgrounds, and reports from the sidelines of games. He’s one of two members of the “The Show Basketball” company, under which label he organizes tournaments where up-and-coming players can show off their skills. Local high school teams and private clubs, including one run by Phoenix police, are regular participants.
_____ has been a scout for about three years and performs a very important role for teen players: Being scouted can lead to college scholarships, putting someone on the path to the NBA and, for some, a better future for their family. In an Arizona Republic article last year, he boasted about his close relationship with three players who have since accepted offers to play at college basketball’s highest level.
However, under his legal name, Justin Allen Lee, he has a serious criminal history that includes a conviction for having sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl when he was 23, and which requires him to register as a sex offender.