DeMar DeRozan was just a simple kid from Compton when he was drafted to Toronto in the 2009 NBA Draft.
Gang violence and death were all around him during his childhood and if a desk next to him at school was empty for too long, nothing needed to be said.
Leaving all of that behind, the Raptors gave DeRozan a guarantee that if he was the number nine pick, the franchise would draft him.
DeRozan explains the wild turn of events that ensued because he’d never left the US before.
“So I had to go sit my ass down at the federal building and get a passport a couple of days before the draft,” DeRozan said on Podcast P with Paul George.
“That’s how it worked out. I didn’t have a passport, nothin’ and the crazy thing – my whole first year I was by myself because nobody in my family had a fu*king passport.”
In that first year, DeRozan averaged 8.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 77 games.
The basketball court wasn’t the only place he was a rookie.
“Wintertime comin’ round, I’m wearing chucks in the snow,” DeRozan continued.
“Bro it was crazy.
“I was still eating gyros off the fu*king side of the street, that was my dinner.
“I was thuggin’ it. That’s for real…I didn’t know…My first couple of years in the league, everything is such first that nothing somebody could tell you could prepare you for it.
“You gotta go through it. You know what I mean?
“And those moments for me was everything, honestly.”
When the Raptors drafted DeMar, he was a one-year college player from USC who had just turned 20 years old.
Now, he is a six-time All-Star and is one of the most clutch players in the league playing for Chicago.