Getting to the NBA is not easy. Of the millions of kids playing basketball around the world today, only a very small percentage will make it to the Association. Along the way, there will be highs and lows, ups and downs.
As they prepare for the 2007-08 season, 30 current players reflect back on their journey to the NBA and some of the things they went through to fulfill their dream of playing basketball for a living.
Finish this sentence: Growing up, the basketball court was my...
CB: Recreation. It was fun for me. I had a lot of fun. Playing basketball was my recreation. I really didn't have to escape from anything. I had fun at home. Playing basketball was always fun for me.
To what lengths would you go for a chance to play basketball, even if it were to just shoot around?
CB: I used to walk probably about three quarters of a mile from my house to go hoop. I rode my bike to play with my friends. I don't think I'd do that now (laughs).
Who was your basketball hero and why?
CB: Kevin Garnett. He was the first guy who was long, athletic, could handle the ball, shoot it, despite the fact that he was nearly seven feet tall. Seeing somebody like that who was tall like me and playing the game the way he did was very uplifting for me.
What is your favorite childhood basketball memory?
CB: When I was in high school we won the state championship my senior year. That was the best.
Best piece basketball advice I received was...
CB: I can't remember who told me but always try your best no matter what happens and always work hard is something I've always remembered.
What advice would you give to someone who aspires to play in the NBA?
CB: Always work hard. Basically that's what it's about. Outworking the other person. Always believing in yourself and despite what happens, you have to keep your dream alive.
How old were you when you received your first basketball and what did it feel like to have your very own?
CB: I probably had my first one ever since I could walk. It was just something to play with at first but then after a while I wanted to learn how to shoot, then how to dribble, then I wanted to play, so that really got me started.
When did you realize you had serious game?
CB: Like 16, 17. It was real fascinating to me. I got better and better. I was using the other potential All-Americans as a measuring stick and once I found out I could play against those guys and hold my own, I was really excited about that. That is also when I really started thinking, man, maybe I can play. Maybe by a long shot I will be able to make it to the league one day and I just started dreaming about it and hoping that eventually my goal would come true.
Did it ever strike you in the middle of a game in front of a packed house, "Man, I can't believe I'm here..."
CB: I actually do but it's not during the game. I'm always focused on my goal and opponent but after that it is like, "Wow." When I have a little bit of down time it's like, "Wow, this is really cool. This is the NBA." Just from where I came from, from hooping in the park and playing just for fun, to practicing for high school and all those different stages, it is pretty amazing.
How proud is your family that you made it to the NBA?
CB: They are very proud. They enjoy it just as much as I do. They're always happy to see me play games. For my parents to be able to see me play on TV and say their son is in the NBA I think is a great feeling for them.