Kent Bazemore’s story is one of the more inspirational tales around the NBA. Undrafted out of Old Dominion, a school with virtually no national profile, he had to scrape and claw his way onto an NBA roster. From there, he made it all the way to being a year-long starter on a playoff team in the Atlanta Hawks. Now, he’s a free agent in the richest market the league has seen to date, and he stands to get paid in a way he probably never imagined. But before all that, he turned around to give a message of hope to the players who didn’t get picked in this year’s draft.
If your name didn’t get called, don’t get discouraged. Use that sadness, embarrassment and disbelief as fuel and go outwork everyone. Always remember that slight in the back of your mind and play with that chip on your shoulder. I know I still do.
Bazemore’s detailed account of his journey from draft night frustration to coveted free agent (with an explicit desire to stay in Atlanta) is one of tireless work and positivity, but our favorite bit is his advice for improving one’s defense: spend time with the video coordinators, who “should be your best friends forever and always.” Sage words, Kent — now go get paid.