If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a city to produce a professional athlete. Whether a player is heading to the NHL, NBA, or anywhere in between, there were surely countless friends, coaches, and mentors who helped them reach the highest heights. For Miami Heat forward Bam Adebayo, no one was more central than his mother.
Earlier this month, Adebayo made his first NBA All-Star Game. While that was a testament to his on-court ability, it was also due, in large part, to the dedication of his mom.
Bam Adebayo’s basketball career
During high school, Bam Adebayo started making a name for himself on the basketball court. He played three seasons at Northside High School before transferring to High Point Christian Academy; while he faced tougher competition at his new school, Bam continued to thrive. By the time graduation rolled around, he had been named North Carolina Mr. Basketball and a McDonald’s All-American.
Adebayo then headed to the University of Kentucky, hoping that John Calipari could get him to the NBA. While NCAA action wasn’t always easy—the big man averaged 13 points and eight rebounds per game during his one collegiate season—he got his wish. The Miami Heat selected Adebayo with the 14th overall pick of the 2017 NBA draft.
While Adebayo’s NBA career started slowly, he’s blossomed into an all-star. The big man was always strong on the defensive end of the floor but has incorporated more and more offense into his game. Most of his work still happens in and around the paint, but Bam isn’t an obsolete big man from a bygone era; he’s capable of scoring, rebounding, and assisting on a nightly basis.
Everything started at home with mom
These days, Bam Adebayo is one of the NBA’s rising stars. Everything started, however, years ago at home.
Adebayo grew up in a single-wide trailer with his mother, Marilyn Blount. While life wasn’t easy, she made sure to set her son up for success. Every morning, Blount would wake up, cook her son breakfast, then go to work; she earned $12,000 a year as a cashier.
Even when Adebayo was outside of his mother’s watchful gaze, she still kept tabs on his success. Blount even went as far as calling Bam’s school principal, asking him to “talk stern” to her son, despite his academic success. When Adebayo was old enough to realize his mother’s sacrifices, he dedicated himself to repaying her.
Even as a pro, Bam Adebayo is succeeding with his mother’s mindset
While virtually every professional athlete has the physical tools to succeed, not everyone has the right mindset. Bam Adebayo, however, has that side of the game covered thanks to his mother.
“It’s not really a shocker,” Adebayo told Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald when asked about this season’s statistical success. “I feel the biggest thing about my success is just being a humble person and being on time. Just being a great guy in the locker room, a great guy on the court, being a fierce competitor with a fierce work ethic. I feel like the sky is the limit for anybody who has that.”
Team president Pat Rilley agrees. While the NBA veteran has seen plenty of players throughout his career, he’s still impressed by the young man’s attitude.
“His real core values are core values,” Riley said. “There’s no other way you could explain somebody that young that is so mature. He’s a man child. He’s so respectful of the game. He never complained. Even those years when he was not playing that much, playing behind Hassan [Whiteside] or with him. As he was growing, he just kept working.”
“When NBA players just shut their mouth — and I don’t say this negatively — and they work and they ask, probe on how they can get better, they become who Bam has become to this point.”
Based on his current trajectory, Bam Adebayo has every chance of being an NBA star. His mother, Marilyn Blount, deserves a share of the credit.