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Before they were stars — NBA player’s childhood dreams


As weird as it may sound, some of the best NBA players didn't grow up hoping to play in the Association. Some found themselves learning how to play basketball late, realized they were good at it, and pursued it as a full-time job. Here are some of the players’ dreams and what profession they dreamed of as a kid.

Dirk Nowitzki - tennis player

Nowitzki’s first sport was not basketball but tennis. He was pretty good at it and was a ranked junior tennis player in Germany. However, due to his height, Dirk shifted focus to basketball. Good thing he was scouted by a former German international player, and the rest was history. Dirk was destined for basketball greatness, and if he pursued tennis, he would suffer career-ending injuries sooner since tall players are more susceptible to knee and leg injuries due to the texture of grass and clay courts. 

CJ McCollum - baseball player

McCollum did not have the height when he was in high school. He measured at only 5’2”. Good thing growth spurt hit him, and was able to grow several inches more, which was more suited for a professional basketball player. But if CJ had not grown, he would have been a baseball player. McCollum could play the pitcher and shortstop position, and his baseball skills were ahead of his basketball skills when he was younger.

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Tim Duncan - Olympic swimmer

TD would have been incredible in swimming if he decided to stick to it. Duncan originally dreamed of making the 1992 Olympic swim team. Unfortunately, Hurricane Hugo destroyed the only decent swimming facility in his hometown, so young Tim had no choice but to change sports. The Big Fundamental’s height would have given him an unfair advantage against swimmers. Good thing he focused on basketball, and San Antonio Spurs fans had to be thankful for that. 

Klay Thompson - high school coach

Thompson’s dream was still connected to basketball: a high school coach. He could still become one after his playing days are over.

"It's my dream to one day be an athletic director of a high school slash high school coach."

Klay Thompson, Complex

Klay’s cool and calm demeanor as a player could help him if he becomes a coach someday. But for now, he aims to get back on the court and help Stephen Curry win more titles for Golden State Warriors. Isn't it the ultimate Klay thing - he doesn't want to coach the college or NBA level but in a high school? Guess it would give him time to chill on his boat. 

Kyle O’Quinn - guidance counselor

Kyle O’Quinn’s dream was to become a guidance counselor, which may sound absurd due to his aggressive behavior on the basketball court. In his younger days, O'Quinn was involved in a lot of altercations. Kyle credits his former guidance counselor, who helped turn his life around, and he wants to do that for someone else as well. 

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