Sports offer great stories of persistence and triumph. I don’t know of a better one at the moment than Bam Adebayo, forward/center/star for the Miami Heat. The Heat just advanced to the NBA Finals after beating the Celtics in six games behind great effort from the young player (23 years old in his third season).
Bam and his mother left Newark, NJ when he was young because his mom wanted to get him away from an apartment in a bad neighborhood with the street life and drugs all around, giving him a better chance to succeed in life. They moved to rural, eastern NC, and as Bam grew up he saw how hard his mom worked to afford the food and electricity in their single wide trailer. A gifted basketball player, Bam had many people in the community looking out for him and helping equip him for a bright future, but it was his mother who raised him, listened to him, and expected discipline despite her demanding working hours.
Catch up to present day…he accepts a scholarship to University of Kentucky, gets drafted in the first round, and becomes an All-Star in the same year he helps lead his team to the Finals. Bam’s hard work is absolutely paying off, but what he cares about, and what he strives for, is the ability to take care of his mother and give her the life she deserves. That has been his mission all along. HIs competitive spirit was built in that small town in NC watching his mother work so hard, convincing himself he had what it would take to make things better for them. Instead of stopping here and being amazed at Bam’s life, look below the surface of his talent and success:
HS Coach describes Bam: “He was always evolving. 7th grade Bam was not 9th grade Bam. 9th grade Bam was not 11th grade Bam.”
Club Coach says: “He wanted to master new moves and skills he learned. He would leave a training visit and go home in his yard and figure out the move with his feet hands and ball.”
Heat Coach Eric Spoelstra says: “He is the strongest guy we've ever had, and as ferocious a competitor as has ever been through these walls."
When drafted in 2017, Bam and his mom embraced and cried. And shortly after, Pat Riley (GM of the Miami Heat) calls and says it’s time to get to work. And Bam did.
If you think you’ve arrived, you will quickly be passed by.
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