By: Ross Freeman (Sophomore)
After a Friday night game, interviewers were asking Mckinnie in the locker room; how his journey felt of making it to the big stage after many years.
26-year-old NBA player Alfonzo Mckinnie had some hard work and preparation to go through before gaining a spot on the Golden State Warriors 2018-19 roster.
Before his journey to the NBA, he was sitting in Mexico at a bar getting wings while watching the NBA playoffs. He sat there as he thought to himself, “I could be playing there.” And then he knew that’s what he wanted to do. So he started competing in the best professional men’s basketball league in Mexico and that’s where he averaged 11 points and 6 rebounds a game. And even then, he still wanted to join the NBA.
After his final season in the Mexico league, he returned home. While he was in Chicago he finally got a chance to prove himself because he knew someone that was running a 3×3 international wide tournament. And his team made it out of the US to represent our country. While competing he caught a lot of attention from NBA scouts and G League scouts. The scoutings lead to him earning an opportunity to join the Toronto Raptors G league team where they averaged over 17 points. And the following season was on a two-way contract with the 905 Raptors and Toronto Raptors where he played in quite a few NBA games.
Mckinnie was doing well in the G league, but he was a kid from Chicago who came from nothing and wanted more. He worked out at least twice every day in the summer. It ended up taking him 4 years to make it into the NBA.
Mckinnie returned back to his hometown Chicago this summer and got a call from the Warriors. They invited him to join the Warriors training camp. He showed off his best moves when he got there. He ended up impressing them so much that when he got back to Chicago they ended up calling him and ordering a plane ticket for him to have a meeting with them in Oakland. He didn’t know what to expect, and when he got there Steve Kerr told him that he earned the last full NBA contract on their roster.
The story of Mckinnie really touches me and motivates me because he was a kid from Chicago, just like me. And the fact that he was unsure whether he was going to fulfill his dreams or not he still kept going. I understand how much this opportunity means to him because he’s from the west side of Chicago. A lot of kids on the west side end up dead or in jail, or just roam the streets for the rest of their lives.
To be a kid at my age, hearing that someone who had the same struggles as I make their dreams come true, really pushes me through and makes me want to work hard so that I too can fulfill my dreams.