Blazers’ CJ McCollum reveals the time he almost quit basketball
Most NBA players have hit a breaking point in their basketball career at which they had to decide how far they would pursue the sport. For Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum, it came as a child trying to decide between football and basketball. The latter was undoubtedly his natural sport, but the struggles made him second-guess himself.
Transcript via Jamie Hudson of NBC Sports Northwest:
“It’s crazy, I almost quit basketball when I was younger,” McCollum told Brooke Olzendam of NBC Sports Northwest in a recent video chat. “Just all those things that I’ve gone through from a sports standpoint to having confidence — [my parents] had confidence in me, the faith in me before I really had it in myself. So, I’m forever grateful and thankful. And I always tell them, you know, ‘I’ll try to repay you the best I can, but you gave me the gift of life, so there’s nothing much I can do.’”
McCollum explained just how he almost gave up the sport that has now made him a millionaire:
“I was young. This wasn’t going well for me. It was like a turning point in my life where I had to make a decision. You know, how much are you going to dedicate yourself to this? And if you’re not, plan B, like — I gotta get a 4.0 because [my parents] told me they weren’t paying for my school early on. So, I had to figure out a way to kind of delegate my time. I was working out and I wasn’t really performing the way I wanted to so I kind of had to figure out, okay, ‘what are you really going to do?’ And my mom was like, ‘you’re not a quitter, I didn’t raise no quitters…’ And the rest is history.”
McCollum wound up making the right decision, sticking with basketball and eventually starring at Lehigh University as a four-year star.
The Blazers took him with the 10th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. He recently cashed in on a three-year, $100 million extension this past offseason after getting a four-year, $106 million extension in 2016 — giving him quite the haul and likely more than what he could have made as a quarterback in the NFL.
Not a bad decision at all.