Jamal Crawford explains what top pick Paolo Banchero means to Seattle

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·3 min read
Jamal Crawford explains what top pick Paolo Banchero means to Seattle
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As a native of Seattle, Washington, Paolo Banchero represents his hometown proudly. Whether it be on the court or off of it, Banchero shows love to the Pacific Northwest often and they give it right back to him.

He recently returned to the city and is among the players that have participated in the CrawsOver Pro-Am this summer, an annual league started by NBA legend Jamal Crawford. Alongside Chet Holmgren, Banchero put on a show, dropping 50 points.

Banchero is among the growing number of players to rise up to the NBA from the state. With Crawford now retired, the area claims several other current players, including Zach LaVine, Jaden McDaniels, Dejounte Murray and Isaiah Thomas among others.

When the Orlando Magic selected Banchero first in the NBA draft, the city of Seattle was once again put on the map. He played basketball every step of the way — including high school and AAU — in his hometown before leaving for Duke last season.

By all accounts, the city has embraced its star in the making.

Crawford, speaking with Bryan Kalbrosky of For The Win, said Banchero becoming the top pick will have a lasting impact on the next generation of players in the area.

It means everything to Seattle, to be honest with you. Twenty-five years ago, we were sending more guys to college for football than basketball. So our rise has really started so recently. So we saw someone who played AAU since third grade for Seattle Rotary, which is right in the heart of the city, and stuck with the same program all the way through. Then he was able to become the No. 1 overall pick.

That resonates with adults but it resonates with kids, too. He’s the guy my son is looking up to and the younger generations are looking up to. They’ll be like, ‘That’s Paolo! I remember when he was a freshman in high school.’ They’ve held on to that and to see him go to Duke and play for the legendary Coach K and then be the No. 1 overall pick, and do it from the same streets that we walk and the same gyms we shoot on, is inspiring for that younger generation.

Banchero credited Crawford recently for helping bring him up through various basketball events in Seattle. Crawford got Banchero playing in the pro-am in high school, which, in turn, enabled him to play against bigger competition and improve his skill set.

Crawford also offered Banchero plenty of advice through the years that ultimately helped shape the player and person he is today. Throughout his 20 years in the NBA, Crawford established himself as a great teammate and mentor, and Banchero is another player that learned from him.

The three-time Sixth Man of the Year will continue to give back to the city as much as possible, but it will now be on Banchero and others to continue those efforts.

It is something Banchero will have no problem doing.

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Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire