Denton: Oladipo Brushed Aside All Doubts


By John Denton
Dec. 1, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Amid the thousands of cheers, Victor Oladipo would always somehow hear the couple of whispers and doubts.

Oladipo was, for the most part, a celebrated basketball player in the suburban Washington, D.C. area while growing up, one who steadily improved to the point that he surged through the AAU, high school and college systems to reach the NBA as a No. 2 draft pick. But along the way, there were always those who openly doubted whether Oladipo would ever make the high school varsity team, would ever play college basketball or would ever make it to the NBA.

Oladipo, now a guard with the Orlando Magic, used every one of their words as fuel for a work ethic that would ultimately propel him to basketball’s biggest stage. The doubts made him better when he failed to make his varsity team when he was a freshman. They made him better when he was the third and then the second-best player on his AAU team. And they drove him to wake up at 4 in the morning so that he could make the hour drive for pre-dawn workouts.

Oladipo can take special satisfaction now in the fact that he will return to Washington, D.C. on Monday night as a starting NBA point guard who brushed aside all of the doubts about his abilities. On the one hand, he has a tremendous sense that he’s made it, rising through the ranks to reach the NBA. But on another level, he knows that he is starting anew again and that there is still so much for him to prove and accomplish at the professional level.

`That was people’s opinions back then, just like some people don’t think I’ll be very successful at this level, either,’’ Oladipo said of the doubts he encountered along the way. ``Everybody has their opinion, so I just used it as fuel to keep working hard every day.

``It’s a nice feeling to be out here (in the NBA) and play this game, but I feel like I’m just scratching the surface,’’ he continued. ``I’m trying to be great, man. It’s all a growing process. But I am definitely blessed and thankful to be in the position that I am, to play with the guys that I get to play with and be a part of the Orlando Magic.’’