Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has not yet played an NBA game, but he already accomplished something many people can only dream of: he bought his mom, Rylanda Hollis, a house.
The Nets rookie and his older brother, Rahlir, who played for the D-League's Delaware 87ers last season, pooled their funds, found a realtor and formed a group of family and friends to find a home. According to Hollis-Jefferson, who is providing a diary of his rookie season to the New York Post, the previous owner of the house broke down in tears when she heard why Rondae and Rahlir were buying the house.
Then she bought a cake.
Rondae and Rahlir surprise Rylanda on her birthday by leading her to a mystery location, soon-to-be referred to as Rylanda's home. Rylanda breaks down in tears when they tell her whose house she is in.
"Instead of worrying about where your mom is going, what she's doing, it puts you at ease knowing she has a place of her own, and that she has somewhere to lay her head at night," Rondae says. "It's pretty special."
Rylanda raised the boys in Chester, Pennsylvania, a city between Philadelphia and Wilmington that is consistently ranked among the most dangerous in the nation. In 2010, Yahoo! ranked Chester No. 1 for violent crime. While Rondae and Rahlir's father, Ross, bounced in and out of prison, Rylanda worked two jobs. She regularly woke up at 6 a.m. to work as a dietary supervisor before coming home in the mid-afternoon to pick up the boys from school. She would leave again at 6 p.m. and work until 2 a.m. as a bartender.
"When they were little, I wanted to make sure I could provide for them so they wouldn't be in the streets selling drugs," Rylanda said in April 2013. "I tried to give them everything within reason so they wouldn't need to get it on the streets."
Now it's Rondae's and Rahlir's turn to provide. And they're happy to do it.