VanVleet exhales after signing $85 million contract

Rockford native building towards second NBA championship with Raptors
Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 9:57 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Fred VanVleet says there’s not always a happy ending.

He admits his career has had its share of lows including not being drafted, but it’s how he was able to pick himself out of that hole that has earned him the contract he deserves.

“I knew that it would work out for me,” said VanVleet. “At that time I might have been one of a handful of people who believed that, but here we are today.”

When addressing that crowd on draft night 2016, VanVleet knew everything would be fine. He did not know how long or where his decision to bet on himself would take him, but four years later, he’s cashing in.

“It’s funny to see it all come full circle, but that’s what makes this journey that much more special is the fact of how I had to do it and how fast it turned around for me,” VanVleet said.

Since signing as an undrafted rookie with Toronto, it’s been a long trek for VanVleet.

The Rockford native worked his way up with Raptors 905, helped them win a G-League title, slowly earned NBA minutes, proved himself as the leader of the bench mob, won an NBA championship, and turned himself into an everyday starter.

Now that he is on the other side, he can finally take a breath.

“The biggest thing for me is just being able to relax and exhale for once,” said VanVleet. “I’ve been on this journey for 26 years and it’s a lot of pent up anxiety and feelings of trying to get to this moment.”

But this is only the end of one chapter of VanVleet’s career. He still has top secret personal goals he wants to reach, not to mention he has plenty of room on his hand for more rings.

“Now I’m just locked in on building towards that next championship,” VanVleet said. “That feeling of winning a championship trumps anything I’ve ever done in my life and my career aside from my kids.”

But what are the chances of that $85 million changing the Auburn grad? VanVleet says his determination and motivation will never waver.

“As a player and a competitor, I only know one way to play,” said VanVleet. “I’ve done everything that I’ve wanted to do so it’s not like I’m getting all of this money and now I can go live an extravigant life. I’m good. This is a generational thing. This is for my family and this is for the future.”

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