A freshman at GlenOak high-school, C.J McCollum was doubted by many who believed he only made the varsity basketball team because he was the younger brother of Errick, a senior on the squad.
McCollum recalls one instance where an opponent from a rival high-school approached the brothers to give his thoughts on C.J's basketball ability.
"I'm the younger brother, so I'm usually one to start stuff," C.J. told CloseUp360. "And Errick's arguing with this dude. I'm, like, 'Bro, don't waste your time arguing like this.'
"[Errick's], like, 'Nah, he don't understand. He doesn't understand. Watch, my brother's gonna get a scholarship, he's gonna go to college and he's gonna go to the NBA.' And the guy's, like, 'Yeah, right, he's gonna go to the NBA. Yeah, right!'"
McCollum channeled the criticism and has proved all the doubters wrong, carving out 400+ NBA games in the Portland Trail Blazers backcourt, holding career averages of 18.0 points and 3.0 assists, while Errick pieced together an impressive professional career across Asia and Europe.
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Despite their success, the McCollum brothers are prepared for life after basketball, with C.J holding a journalism degree and Errick a business degree.
"It's something that we're gonna have to think about as we progress," Errick says of their post-career lives. "I'm 31. He's 28. And we just want to be ready to make that transition, so I guess now we're practicing and just preparing because at that age, you still want to do something.
"Even though we're financially blessed, you still want to be productive and maybe make a difference in society doing something or maybe helping people, and I think that's important to me and my brother."
Part of their ambition to give back to their community is the basketball camp they run in the summer for 100 local kids between the ages of six and 16. The camp is held at the J. Babe Steam Community Center in Canton and mixes skill drills, personal instruction and Q&A sessions.
Giving back extends beyond basketball for C.J, with the 'Dream Center' opening at the Blazers Boys and Girls club in 2018. Using technological tools, youths have the opportunity to use their creative side to grow, and McCollum still hopes to open a similar 'Dream Center' in Canton.
The McCollum brothers have come along way since those days on the high-school basketball team, but Canton will always be home.
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