Coby White views starting his career in North Carolina, where he went to high-school & college, as a blessing but is focused on the Bulls getting off to a good start.
It was quite the scene in Charlotte Wednesday. The scoring GOAT of North Carolina begins his NBA career in front of the North Carolina legend and true hoop GOAT.
Which perhaps is only slightly more impressive than me knowing the meaning of those acronyms.
"It's just a blessing for me, super blessed. To have my first game in my home state means a lot," Coby White was saying before the Bulls opened their 2019-20 NBA season in Charlotte. "But you just try to go out there and start the season in the right direction.
"I'm not really a big reactor type of guy, so I was just like, ‘That's pretty cool, it's a blessing,'" White said of his reaction when he first realized the Bulls would open the season in North Carolina. "I'm more focused on the now. It's a coincidence, but like I said it's a blessing. It's a blessing to be in my home state. I'm excited to play. I'm glad I have my friends and family to come see me play my first game."
And, oh yeah, that guy who scored all those points for White's Bulls, Michael Jordan, the Hornets owner who had a courtside seat — and any one else he wanted, actually — for the pro debut of the leading all time scorer in Charlotte high school basketball. During his senior season, White scored 1,056 points and averaged 30.2 points 10.3 rebounds and 9.1 assists per game.
Jordan actually wasn't the transcendent high school scorer, and not initially the highly recruited talent as a prep player. He appeared to figure out the scoring part.
It appears White may do so as well in becoming the second leading scorer among NBA rookies in the preseason and among the top league scorers at almost 20 per game. It opened some eyes around the NBA since White, even though the No. 7 overall draft pick, wasn't one of the more notable rookies coming into the preseason. Now with Zion Williamson out with a knee injury, there's talk about White as a Rookie of the Year candidate even as he comes off the bench for the Bulls.
"To me, I always think I'm underestimated," White said. "I always think I'm the underdog. That's based on people's opinion. I can't control what they think. But I know I have to go out there and play my game and whatever happens after that. Whatever they think is whatever they think.
"I wasn't really talked about," White insisted. "I feel like coming into college I wasn't really talked about and I proved myself time and time again. I like having that mentality. It always keeps me hungry not too be talked about, to be doubted."
There was no doubt with White when he entered his first professional NBA regular season game in the first quarter to a nice local response and made a three with his second shot attempt.
"I got like 13 tickets, not a ton. Just close family and friends coming," White said. "I (do) get butterflies before every game. That's just how I am; it's been like that since I was growing up. It's not bad. I'm kind of used to it now.
"I'm nowhere near where I want to be. I have a long way to go and a lot more to learn," White said. "It's all about a process. It's my rookie season. I know there are going to be a few ups and downs. Everything is not going to go my way, so I am prepared for that and I'm taking it game by game and control what I can control, going out there and playing hard and giving forth a lot of effort toward the game.
"I'm just blessed to be here," White acknowledged. "All I wanted was to make it to the NBA. That was my dream. It turned into reality and now I'm here. I never thought about where I would be at, what team would pick me. As long as I got picked by any team, that's good enough for me. Whatever I have to do to help my team win the game."
Worked for Mike.