On Sunday, Bam Adebayo will play in his first NBA All-Star Game, the culmination of a lifelong dream and a lot of hard work. This morning, ESPN’s Zach Lowe posted an excellent feature on Bam’s journey to the spotlight that’s worth your time.
As Kentucky fans, we are all familiar with Bam’s childhood growing up in a trailer in North Carolina and how his mother, Marilyn Blount, worked at a meat farm to make ends meet. His year at Kentucky was aimed at getting to the NBA so he could change his mother’s life. As Lowe writes, Bam’s desire to provide for his mom turned into a relentless work ethic that pushed him to playing at an All-Star level. While most of the profile talks about Bam’s NBA career, there are some great gems from Kenny Payne and De’Aaron Fox about his time in Lexington.
Adebayo worked on other skills after practices and in night sessions with Kenny Payne, a Kentucky assistant. “He wanted to be a guard so badly,” De’Aaron Fox, Adebayo’s teammate at Kentucky, says with a laugh. “He also went to every class — a lot more than I did.”
Adebayo’s speed and fundamentals on defense leapt out in games. He trusted Calipari, trusted scouts would see his ball skills in practice and grab intel from Payne.
“He would say, ‘My mom will no longer live like this,'” Payne says.
Adebayo won over some executives at the draft combine with his single-minded focus. He had a line ready when teams asked about off-court interests: “I play basketball, hang out with my mom, and take s—-.” Some executives cackled at Adebayo’s deadpan delivery.
For more, including the one item Bam — who is fiercely frugal — recently splurged on, head on over to the Worldwide Leader.