This summer, Fred VanVleet changed addresses, as he departed from the Toronto Raptors and joined the Houston Rockets, who placed him at the top of their free-agent wishlist. VanVleet's deal with the Rockets serves as an example that one's draft position isn't indicative of how successful and effective one will be on the basketball floor, as he went undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft yet still landed a three-year deal worth $128.5 million.
All told, the deal makes VanVleet the league's third-highest paid point guard and 14th-highest paid player altogether. VanVleet has developed a rather high profile over the course of his seven-year career, becoming an All-Star and NBA champion in Toronto.
VanVleet became a beloved sports figure in Toronto, which was his home away from home.
VanVleet has remained loyal to his actual hometown of Rockford, Illinois, as the 6-foot-1 floor general has held free summer camps for youths, block parties, and Fred VanVleet Fests in the Chicago suburb. The event has often included bowling tournaments, Slam Dunk contests, 3-point shootouts, and camps for grades K-12.
Houston Rockets guard Fred VanVleet receives well-deserved honor
Just last year, the seven-year guard decided to bring the festival to his alma mater, Auburn High School, which the school's athletic director expressed a high level of gratitude for.
“We are truly lucky to have Fred walk these halls and dominate this very court that we’re standing on,” said Brad Pemberton, athletic director at Auburn. “He could’ve easily moved on from Rockford and from Auburn High School as many professional athletes do, but he has never forgotten his roots and wants to do all he can to make Rockford a better place for everybody.”
In turn, the city rewarded him with a street in his own name, as Pierpont Avenue from School Street to Avenue Street will soon be called Fred VanVleet Way, as the city council recently approved the name change.
As a member of Auburn High, VanVleet became an All-State selection and let Auburn to their first Final Four appearance in nearly 40 years. VanVleet also decided against joining higher-profile prep clubs and opted to remain with Rockford's local AAU team.
Kudos to VanVleet for constantly remaining a pillar in the Rockford community and kudos to the community leaders for honoring him with his own street.