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..."
CP: My kingdom, my home, my domain.
You enjoyed being there.
That being said, what would you have done to play on a basketball playground even if it was just to shoot around?
CP: I almost have to have basketball to live to breathe. I love it so much. I'd go to any extreme.
What was the craziest thing you've ever done?
CP: I'd go to the gym and there would be this guy there at 2 in the morning. I'd be at the gym from two to six.
Did you have a basketball hero as a kid and why that person?
CP: Michael Jordan. I've always been a huge fan of Michael Jordan and how he pushed the game and how he carried himself off the court. How he used basketball as a platform to just become one of the biggest and best basketball players ever.
What was your favorite childhood basketball memory?
CP: How far back does childhood go is that high school?
Yea you can do that.
CP: Probably the 61 points for my grandfather, the grandfather that was murdered.
Best basketball advice I received was?
CP: To use basketball and never let it use me.
What advice would you give to someone who aspires to play in the NBA?
CP: Never let anyone tell you that you cant do something. Use it as motivation and stay focused.
How old were you when you received your first basketball and how did it feel to have your very own?
CP: I was probably around five years old, I was playing in a recreation league. You just feel like you're big business now, like you feel like a trooper when you have your own basketball. You don't have to go to the Gym and wait for someone to miss a shot so you can shoot the ball. You have your own.
Was it a rubber playground style basketball? Or Leather?
CP: It was a leather.
When did you realize that you had serious game?
CP: When I was younger, I was always pretty good at basketball. My dad was my coach. He knew that I could score in bunches, so he made me pass the ball and run down the floor, get ready and get the rebound. Therefore if they miss, then I can score.
So you went with the other fundamentals besides putting the ball in the hoop?
CP: Oh yeah, that's where I think I get my pass first mentality from.
Did it ever strike you in the middle of a game in front of a packed house like, "Man, I can't believe I am here"?
CP: Oh yea. That still happens. To this day and especially being a part of All-Star weekend my rookie year.
How proud is your family that you made it to the NBA?
CP: My family is extremely proud that I made it to the NBA. It was one of those things that when I made it, it wasn't just me. It was an opportunity for me and my family to see a whole other world, another side of things that you never expect to happen. My family is extremely proud. They know that they are responsible for me being here as much as I am.