From Dream to Reality

I always played basketball, and I played other sports as well, but basketball was always my true love and the one I liked the most. I got pictures of me playing basketball when I was 2 years old, on one of those little plastic hoops. And I was dunking on that, going way back. Growing up, I always knew that I wanted to go to college and then go to the NBA. That was my dream. That was my goal. My favorite team in the NBA, it was the Chicago Bulls, of course.

Everyone liked the Bulls because of Michael Jordan.

I had a great time playing basketball in high school, at The Colony in Dallas. My first year, my freshman year, I got moved up to the JV. I didn’t get moved up to the varsity, which I’m still mad at my coach, Tommy Thomas, about to this day. Because I was way better than the senior who was starting! I still remind him regularly; I bust his chops every day.

Coach Thomas was my mentor in high school. He kept me straight, kept me focused on what was important in life. He and my mom, they both helped me a lot. My mom got me involved in basketball. She played in college, and she really got me going with basketball at an early age.

In Dallas, as far as a look, well, you know, we kind of country in Dallas. People were wearing leather shorts. It’s 110 degrees outside and people were rockin’ leather shorts! I didn’t do that, though. When I was a kid, I was a sneakerhead, but I could only look at them. I couldn’t afford Nikes, but my uncle used to buy them for me. But once I got a pair of the shoes Jason Kidd wore, the Air Zoom Flights, and I was so happy that I ran down the street for like a mile! They were all black with a white strip up the middle of the shoe with a little air pocket on the back. My favorite pair of all time would have to be Air Force 1s, any and all colorways. And I like the Nike Dunks, too.

I had a moment my rookie year, standing at the free-throw line, and I was like, Damn, I’m really playing in the NBA! I dreamed of this and I’m here! These days, I probably keep the same shoes for about three to five games now. I usually give ’em away to a kid. I kept my shoes from the Rookie/Sophomore game I played in, and I kept a bunch of my Playoff shoes from last season, too.

When I was younger, I loved to watch the NBA Playoffs and NCAA March Madness. That was the most exciting thing. There’s something about March Madness. I think it’s the “one and done” thing. If you lose, you’re out. There’s no best of five, best of seven, come back from three down, anything like that. Anybody can win.

I had a blast in the Playoffs last season. It was one of the best times of my life. The year before, I was sitting at home watching Dallas beat Phoenix.

It beat that for sure. It was fun, it was exciting. I didn’t know what to expect, but I played in the Final Four and the Championship Game in college with Illinois, and it was a great experience, but I had even more fun playing in the Playoffs this season than I did then.

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