Everyone gave their moment to the crowd in the gym, but no one triggered as much applause as Sessions, who in just one year went from playing in the D-League to setting team records with the Milwaukee Bucks.
A few weeks ago, I spent the day out at Reebok Headquarters in Canton, Mass. and got to watch some full-court games and go through cross training workouts with not just Sessions, but John Wall, Jameer Nelson, Isaiah Thomas and four high school standouts from the Reebok Breakout Challenge.
And during my time with Sessions, we talked Cleveland and his rags-to-riches story.
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Dime: Talk about this Reebok Challenge event. What has it been like mingling with the kids?
Ramon Sessions: It’s been good. Anytime you can get younger guys in that are trying to get to where you’re at, just to talk to them and see the excitement on their face. It reminds me of when I was young. If I ever had an opportunity like this, it would’ve been huge. Coming from a small town you don’t get as much exposure as from a bigger city. There’s diamonds in the rough. Those kids can play and this is a great thing for them.
Dime: When you were in high school â€“ you said you’re from a small town â€“ were you heavily recruited?
RS: No. Not at all, same situation as those guys. A couple of smaller schools in-state were recruiting me, but it wasn’t nothing big. Everybody always asks me how I got into Nevada from South Carolina so there you go. It just shows you that I was a late bloomer and it worked out for the best though.
Dime: Coming up as a small kid being exposed to some bigger events, how were you able to get an attitude to where you could stick out? Sometimes those things can be overwhelming for someone from a small area…
RS: I just always said I was doing it for my hometown because there weren’t many guys who were fortunate enough. I did go to Nike one year and was going to Vegas to play in tournaments. I just always said that I’m going to prove to these guys that hey, being from a small town that doesn’t mean anything. I was the first player to ever go into the NBA from my town but I wasn’t going to let that hold me down when I was growing up. People used to say “You ain’t gonna make it. You are from a small town.” That’s always driven me to be the player that I am today.