Back on December 30, New York Knicks forward Cleanthony Early suffered an extremely cruel end to the year when he was robbed and shot in New York City.
Early has been with the Knicks since being picked 34th in the 2014 draft, and it must have added an extra sting to the attack that he was shot in not only the city he represents on the court, but also his birthplace, too.
On March 20, the 24-year-old made a successful return to the court in an 88-80 loss to the Sacramento Kings. It was a feel good moment for the young Bronx-born star, who returned within just under three months of the incident.
In truth, a gunshot to the knee could have been a career-ending injury and one could speculate that the offenders knew exactly what they were doing when they targeted that area of Early.
After his successful return from the injuries sustained in the attack, more good news has followed for Early.
As per a report from the Associated Press, a Brooklyn man has been charged in connection with the robbery and shooting of Anthony.
A complaint filed in federal court says 22-year-old Delvon Dowling was part of a group of masked men who staked out the club in December.
Documents say when Early exited the club and got into an Uber car the group approached the vehicle with guns drawn. Police say Early was ordered out of the car, shot in the right leg and robbed of necklaces, gold caps from his teeth and other items.
Authorities say Dowling was arrested Friday on unrelated charges and admitted to being part of the crew that robbed Early. He didn't admit to being the gunman.
It's unclear if he has an attorney.
Andrew Keh of The New York Times reported back in December that teammate and franchise player, Carmelo Anthony, was particularly dismayed by the attack on Early.
Anthony said: "We all are targets, at the end of the day, regardless of how much love people show you. "
Anthony went on to say there's always someone "who feels you shouldn’t be in the position that you’re in, that you shouldn’t be as blessed as you are."
Given how close to home this attack was for Early, Anthony's words resonate with this situation loud and clear.
JR Smith, then-teammate, now of the Cleveland Cavaliers, also tweeted out his support for the senseless crime.
Early's 25th birthday is approaching on April 17 and once the men who attacked him are brought to justice, he will be hoping he can put this incident behind him and concentrate on his fledgling NBA career.
After a decent rookie campaign where Early averaged 5.4 points and 2.5 rebounds from 16.6 minutes - in a franchise that managed a record of 17-65 - hopefully, the Knicks man can start building on his promise.