Detroit Pistons’ guard Langston Galloway knows the story of a dream deferred, as he went undrafted coming of of St. Joseph’s University in 2014. He persevered and played with the New York Knicks Summer League team, showing the front office his full repertoire, earning a training camp contract. Disappointment followed as he was waived, but he didn’t give up. Galloway played for the Knicks’ G League affiliate Westchester Knicks, before rejoining the Knicks after a pair of 10-day contracts, and he never looked back.
Galloway is now in his fifth season and he continues to treat every play as if it’s his last. He believes in hard work and being a student of the game. I had an opportunity to catch up with him recently as we spoke on a range of topics including the 2014 draft, playing in his home state of Louisiana, and much more:
How did you get into playing basketball?
Growing up, I mean, I started playing at 3 or 4 years old, and I’ve been loving the game ever since. It’s a kid’s game and I really have enjoyed just the time being around basketball. It’s always—whenever I’m on the court or working out—freeing for my mind, so I’m always just enjoying doing what I love.
Do you remember the first NBA game you ever attended?
Yeah…so my first time going to an NBA game…it was the [New Orleans] Hornets and my high school team, we had a game to play right before the Hornets’ game. So we went to the arena and we played our game and won, then after the game we got to stick around, give the players high fives when they were introduced and we got to watch the game. We were sitting in the nosebleed [section] all the way at the top, but it was a great experience, it was great to see that.
What did playing in that arena and watching an NBA game do for your development?
Being able to play on the floor, I mean that meant a lot to me. You grow up just to be able to watch the game on TV and then when you’re able to go on the court, it makes it real in your mind, it made me feel that I could get to this point because that was my dream and it inspired me to continue to work and continue to enjoy it.
Who did you look up to growing up as a guard?
So growing up, being from Louisiana, I always watched the bigger guards and there were a lot of different guys that came through Baton Rouge, but getting a change to watch AI [Allen Iverson] and Chauncey Billups—those two guys meant a lot to me because at the time I was a smaller guard because I was so young—I wanted to aspire to be like them.
You stayed for all four years of college and you went undrafted. Can you talk about the decision to not leave early and stay four years in college?
I had no idea that your mom was from Philadelphia, what was it like to play in college and the pros at home in front of your family?
It was amazing, I really cherish those times, especially being in Philadelphia. My grandmother now is 87 and at the time she was about 80—just to have that opportunity to go over her house and hang with her and just talk with her… She’s like one of my biggest fans, I truly love her so much and it meant a lot to her to be there, to be close. And at the same time, I had my uncles. One of my uncles was an assistant coach at St. Joe’s, so to have my uncle Geoff Arnold on the staff to push me like he did, it just meant so much. And then going back home to play in Louisiana [Galloway played half a season with the New Orleans Pelicans in 2016-17]…I mean, it was a show every time I went out there because I knew that all my family were in the stands so it was always cool.
What was draft night in 2014 like for you?
Going undrafted was tough, but that night I sat down with my family and took a step back to see what I wanted to do next and figure out if I wanted to make money playing this game or keep enjoying to do what I do. I told my family that I wanted to stay close to home and not go overseas and chase the money [so] I stayed home to chase my dream of trying to play in the NBA.
At what point did you come to understand that you could play on the NBA level?
I think after my second year in college. Playing at St. Joe’s, we played a lot of different schools over the years, being able to play against them and test my talent, to see if I was fit enough to be in the upper echelon of talented guys. When I played against guys who were highly touted, I was able to hold my own against them, so that really sparked something inside of me and I knew that I would be able to do this.
You went undrafted and it seems like a badge of honor.
Yeah, it means a lot to my story. I don’t think I would be in this place where I am right now without going undrafted, so I really cherish my journey and it means a lot to me to always speak about it and I always talk about it, especially with so many guys in this league. If you think about it, it’s only 450 guys in the NBA and when you get your opportunity, you have to make the most of it. I speak to any guy that I come in contact with and tell them to continue to grind, keep their head down, don’t worry about what’s going on around you, control what you can control and enjoy it.
I know you are a man of faith and being undrafted is a tough thing to endure. However doors kept opening for you, is that how you stay centered?
Yeah, my faith has kept me grounded and nothing has gotten to be overwhelming to me and I think that God…without God, I wouldn’t be at this point right now. I am truly very blessed and I try to put my best foot forward. With anything in life you just try to put your best foot forward and I give all the glory to God and I think we are blessed when we can be a blessing to others, I really believe that.
You’re really big on family and now you have a family of your own. How has fatherhood changed you?
Aw man, it’s amazing. I hope that every dad, husband, or father figure, is able to be part of this process—to understand the responsibility of having a child number one, and number two, waking up everyday and someone is there depending on you is just humbling. My son right now is 5 months and to see him smile, to see him laugh or play around just really brightens my day. I am truly blessed to have him in my life and it’s a blessing to see him grow. I want him to be the best that he can be and whatever God has in store for me to be a father and teach him, I’m going to teach him.
You’re really into sneakers and sneaker culture…talk about your shoe and the ownership aspect of it.
This time last summer I had an opportunity to dive into the whole sneaker world and really understand, what’s going on and what’s the in’s and out’s, and I was learning a lot. To be able to find Q4, a brand new up-and-coming company, I noticed that they were on the rise and trying to get different athletes to be a part of their brand. They give me an opportunity to talk about my story and then put my story into a shoe, I mean that’s what every kid aspires and dreams of. You want to be a part of the bigger brands, but at the same time Q4 kinda reminds me of myself, it’s like the underdog brand—they’re for the players and they truly care about players first—and being able to put my best foot forward with them and being able to wear my shoe every single day, you have to take pride in that. I really enjoy being able to wear my shoe, and then for me to have the ability to sell the shoe is cool, it’s pretty cool. Having ownership means so much more when you are talking about your brand and growing your brand.