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Skal Labissiere reflects on journey from Haiti to UK and now NBA

UK freshman forward Skal Labissiere did an in-depth interview with The Players' Tribune about his journey from being nearly buried alive under the effects of a massive earthquake.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Of all the prospects about to hear their names called in the 2016 NBA Draft, you'll be hard-pressed to find one with as unique of a journey as Skal Labissiere.

It almost ended before Skal even stepped foot onto American soil. On Jan. 12, 2010, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the island, leaving death and destruction in its wake. Some of that destruction included the building where Skal lived in a third-floor apartment.

As many as 300,000 people were killed and 1.5 million were left homeless. Though Skal and his family survived, things didn't look good as they were buried in the rubble of their apartment after the quakes ended.

"I knew what it was right away," Skal told The Players' Tribune. "We had had an earthquake back in 2004. It wasn’t a big one, but I recognized the shaking. So I ran from the bathroom straight to my mom. My brother did the same from where he was on the balcony. I got to her first.

"And just as my brother got to us, the house collapsed. The third-story floor fell from beneath us, and I remember seeing the light come in from outside as the walls and the roof broke apart. The whole thing sounded like thunder. Then everything went dark and silent.

"We were stuck there for about three hours. But it felt like forever. My legs were folded under me so awkwardly that after a while, I couldn’t feel them. They were going numb, going dead. As the hours went by, I went from screaming, to praying, to silently thinking, I’m going to die."

While Skal's struggles at UK don't even being to measure up to what he faced in that earthquake, but Skal get another learning experience when it came to overcoming adversity and not giving up.

"Coach Cal has this saying: "Don’t let go of the rope." It means that when things get hard, or when you get tired, or when things aren’t going your way, keep fighting. Keep pushing. I didn’t have the easiest freshman season at Kentucky. But I learned a lot about life, about myself and about my game that I know has prepared me for the next level."

This piece is a great reminder of just how much Skal has had to overcome to get to the point where he can play in the greatest basketball league in the world.

Be sure to read Skal's full interview with The Players' Tribune here.