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Payton Pritchard worked crazy hard to get here

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Respect the work, respect the game.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Boston Celtics David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

If you ever wanted a glimpse into what it takes to be an NBA player, the work, the dedication, the sacrifice, just head over to The Athletic and read Jay King’s deep dive on Payton Pritchard. Just a great read all around.

His parents remember those startling 5:30 a.m. wake-up moments when a loud, thwacking sound pierced the morning silence from the family’s two-car garage. Payton would be smacking a weighted basketball off the garage floor. Left and right he would direct the ball. Around his legs. Behind his back. He would dribble it low, dribble it with force, dribble it like Pistol Pete Maravich.

“He would pound the rock so hard, just to work on his ball control, that his hands would start bleeding,” said Grant.

You hear stories like that all around the league. Pritchard has his own story, but it has a familiar ring to it. From Tatum to Pierce to Bird (and even some non-Celtics!). These guys eat, sleep, and breathe basketball from a very young age. “Mono-maniacs on a mission” is how my dad used to describe it. Spoiler alert: I didn’t have that drive.

Then there’s the support system. It sounds like Payton had a father that pushed him and friends (and family) that competed with him.

Not everyone gets to play basketball for a living, but following through on dreams with hard work is something that anyone can emulate.