Whether he’s carving up defenses on the hardwood or in front of a camera effortlessly stealing the spotlight, people take notice of De’Aaron Fox.
Fox's magnetic charm has drawn people in as he has continued to advance throughout his basketball career - from five-star high school recruit to breakout college star to now, point guard for the Sacramento Kings.
“When the lights are bright, I love it,” said Fox upon being introduced among his fellow rookies during a press conference at Golden 1 Center.
That much was clear in the way De’Aaron carried himself since he’s been under media attention. The ease of his interactions, ability to navigate conversations ranging from Dragon Ball Z to on-court Xs and Os are likely to have many second-guessing the fact that he’s just 19-years-old.
His laid-back and tranquil personality often shines, but don’t be fooled – he's always one of the most fiery competitors on the court.
The competitiveness stems from the guard’s childhood, where at just four years old, his family left New Orleans to move just outside of Houston, Texas. With Fox’s parents both being former college athletes with tireless work ethics, it’s no doubt that more than just athletic genes were handed down to help form the Lottery selection into the player that he is today.
“The work schedule my Mom had just made me want to work harder,”said Fox to SLAM Magazine.
Fox detailed his mother working the graveyard shifts at work, sometimes logging dozen hour shifts or laboring through the entire night.
“[I’m] just trying to work hard, so she doesn’t have to do that anymore,” Fox continued.
As his skills advanced and people began to take notice, De’Aaron’s father Aaron offered up advice when faced with the potential of his son transferring to a private high school, similar to many other top basketball prospects in history.
“Like I told him - blaze your own path. You don’t have to follow nobody else,” said Aaron Fox.
Blaze would be an appropriate term for De’Aaron’s path, as he quickly rose to become one of the top high school players in the nation with his fiery competitiveness and unmatched speed. With 50-point contests, offensive showcases and jaw-dropping athleticism on display throughout his high school career, Fox worked his way into Lexington as he enrolled at the University of Kentucky.
Led by storied collegiate head coach John Calipari, the Wildcats’ newest recruit had done enough to earn the attention and praise of the longtime sideline caller.
“The heart, you can’t fake that,” said Calipari. “This kid is more than just about himself. He wants other people to feel good. He wants to use his position to help others. This is the kind of guy you want running your team.”
“You want to be about relationships and you want to be about the people, you can’t fake that. It’s gotta be who you are and it’s gotta be in your DNA - and it’s in his.”
Headlining the newest rookies to be selected by Sacramento, De’Aaron hopes to be an instrumental piece to the young core of the Kings.
“The difference between good players and great players - people say work, but - even good players work hard. Great players just kind of have a different mentality,” said Fox. “The way that they put in the work. What they’re thinking about, even when they are not playing. There’s a lot of good players out there. There’s people that are good that don’t even try. Being great - it’s just different.”
“You have to have that mentality that you want to be great.”