I have always had a connection to DeMar DeRozan for a lot of reasons. The first, came before I ever had met him. He wanted to come to the NBA not just to get rich and become a superstar and buy a sports car. He came to the NBA to make his mother’s life better. Demar’s mother suffers from lupus. Here is a link to an article from Doug Smith back in 2009 that I read at the time that outlines this.
As many of you that are long time readers of the blog, or have become personal friends of mine know, I look after my own mother. She in an attempt to fix her badly damaged knees ended up worse off and while her pain is gone she had to have a leg fused and is unable to walk.
I try not to make much mention of this, as I never wanted people to support this blog out of some sense of pity for me. I wanted people to come here because they felt it was good., Still at times I have mentioned it as means of explanation. My first job is to care for her. This job, I created for myself, as much as I truly love it, I will always feel comes second. I think DeMar DeRozan in some ways is like this too. His goal to be a great basketball player was tied to giving his mother a better life.
So, if you think that I am bias when it comes to DeMar DeRozan, your damn right I am and proud to be.
There is also the fact, that I was able to get access to the Toronto Raptors at the same year he arrived here. In my logic I felt that made us on equal footing even though it probably wasn’t true.
Something else I have in common with DeMar, is the fact of being a hard worker. It might be easier to see that DeMar works hard as opposed to me. After all, it is not like I am a workout machine and I am pretty confident I will never dunk a basketball in my life. Still, I work hard and have scratched and clawed to get respect for myself.
I have watched DeMar have his own battles to gain respect through his 4 years in the NBA. I watched him get screwed in not one but two dunk contests. I listened and read people talking at length about what DeMar could not do. Yet it seemed that they did not appreciate the things he could do.
I watch on almost a nightly basis this young kid fight for respect from officials to get calls as he drives to the hoop trying to help his team. More nights than enough it doesn’t happen. Yet he keeps coming back having his body take abuse over and over. He rarely misses a game and keeps after it and shows the determination it takes for a kid coming from Compton, California needs to have to make it.
I watched and defended the contract extension he was given from the Toronto Raptors at the start of the season. I was honestly pissed off at the reaction of people to that contract. Maybe not as much about the basketball things about it but more about knowing how hard he worked and what that money means for him and his family and his mother.
Make no mistake about it, if anyone bashed me, if I did something to improve life for my mother and my family, I would not have taken the high road as DeMar DeRozan has done. I would tell you how hard I worked, how much I deserved it and how I don’t give a damn what you think.
So to say that I am proud of DeMar DeRozan this season and all he has done would just not even come close to how I feel about it. I am beyond thrilled for him. He has worked hard and we are finally starting to see the signs of all that hard work.
When you compare this to Andrea Bargnani it just makes you sick or it should. While you can argue that Bargnani may in fact have more natural talent than DeRozan, the compete and effort levels of the two are polar opposites. It also could be said of Vince Carter who DeRozan drew comparisons to when he was drafted. Vince Carter at the same age was no question more talented than DeMar. That said the level of effort of Vince compared to DeMar is not close either. Vince if he had the work ethic of DeRozan would be compared to Kobe Bryant. Kobe Bryant commented a few years back on just how hard a worker DeRozan is.
In the summer at the time of the draft I was interviewing DeMar and Amir Johnson was going around chopping everyone like Ric Flair. In fact as a side-note in the new podcast: This Week in Raptorland the WOOING in the intro is actually Amir Johnson. DeRozan is a Flair fan too. If you’re not a wrestling junkie you still probably know who Ric Flair is. Back in the 70’s and 80’s Flair would routinely go out night in and night out and wrestle for 60 minutes and would put on a fantastic show in the ring.
DeMar in the last couple games has played over 100 minutes of basketball. He has done it with an ironman like effort not unlike Flair. If you go to a more modern example from wrestling, he is more playing the role of CM Punk in a way. Punk is the current WWE Champion and has been on this quest to be respected by everyone. DeMar DeRozan is not playing the role of the heel like Punk. However, he is on a mission to earn the respect of all.
I feel that way too in many ways. I sometimes feel there are people out there that don’t respect me. Sometimes, I write this blog with a chip on my shoulder. I take glee in telling you when I am right about things. Maybe that isn’t always wise to do that. If I am not going do it, who will? I do things a certain way in this blog and it is to represent fans and myself. It might not shock you to learn that some people don’t always respect your opinions and views on the Raptors. While, I may not agree with them, I always do try and respect them. No one is going convince me of things I feel strongly about as being wrong. That said, if a time comes that I am than I am willing to admit it and have.
There is something special that I feel connected to DeMar DeRozan. It is not like we will ever be buddies and hangout. He does know me if he sees me, but might not even know my name. It doesn’t matter really as he has earned my respect long ago. He is earning the respect of a lot of hypocrites too. Those are the ones that screamed about his contract and now are praising him left and right.
I am never out to start any wars with anyone. I never name people by name very often if at all. I think you people are smart enough to know who those people are. I am sure, not everyone loves me and that is fine, but what no one can ever say about me, is that I am not consistent. I remain loyal to the people I believe in, starting from my mother, to the people that read and support this blog, to the players and media that have earned my respect.
DeMar DeRozan has a much bigger bank account than I do. Still, that doesn’t matter because I share some common things with him. You would never think that a big ex-high school lineman in 30’s and white from Hamilton, Ontario would have anything in common with a star in the NBA that grew up in Compton California in his early 20’s.
Life is funny like that. So after all of this, hopefully you respect DeMar a little more and maybe even me. If you don’t, it really is fine, because I am pretty sure both of us will keep doing what we love for the people we love.