Lonzo Ball reveals how DeMar DeRozan gave him his ‘Welcome to the NBA’ moment even before he played his first game in the league. The 4-time All-Star dropped 40 points on Zo during a summer run at the Lakers’ facility.
Over the last couple of years, the Chicago Bulls have been a lottery team at best. Even though the Bulls organisation is one of the best dynasties in league history, they are yet to reach the NBA Finals in 23 years.
In recent history, the Bulls franchise hasn’t even advanced to the postseason since the 2016-2017 season. However, the Chicago front office has been working to change that narrative this offseason. Providing help to Zach LaVine was their topmost priority entering the 2021 Free Agency. And in a few exciting deals, the organisation managed to add incredible guards Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan on the roster.
With the LaVine, DeRozan, Ball trio, the Chicago Bulls are easily a better team than last season, and could very well finish as one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
Lonzo Ball reveals how DeMar DeRozan gave him his ‘Welcome to the NBA’ moment
Luckily for the Bulls, Zo and DeMar already have great respect for each other. In fact, their camaraderie goes way before the former Pelicans guard had even played a single NBA game. Coincidentally, it was his newest teammate- DeRozan, who handed the eldest Ball brother his ‘Welcome to the NBA’ moment.
Back in 2019, during an interview with “The Players’ Tribune”, Zo was asked to name the five toughest players he had ever guarded. On that list, the 6-foot-6 pass-first guard had named Damian Lillard, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and… DeMar DeRozan. The two-way All-Star calibre player spoke about the immense respect he had for the former USC Trojan. And also revealed how 2-time All-NBA player handed him his ‘Welcome to the NBA’ moment even before playing a single game in the association. Ball narrated:
“I give him a lot of respect … well, obviously because he’s from L.A. But also because the first time I stepped on an NBA court after getting drafted was against Demar. It was during the offseason and we were at the Lakers’ facility before training camp even started. There was a bunch of guys working out in L.A. and we got a game of five-on-five going.”
“They put me on Demar. And I’m not even joking … this guy was calling out his moves before he was even doing them. Going right. Going left. Fadeaway. Step-back. Shimmy. Turnaround jumper. And he just kept hitting shots. It was like clockwork. There was nothing I could do with it.”
“He put like 40 on me that day. It was definitely my “Welcome to the NBA” moment. So out of all the guys in the league, I gotta respect Demar DeRozan, because he was the first one who showed me the level I needed to be at to compete in this league. That’s something I’ll never forget.”