ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) The city is still buzzing after Rockford welcomed home its first ever NBA Champion. Fred VanVleet has become the voice for the Forest City and he is ready to speak up for his hometown.
"It's a huge blessing, it's a huge honor and it means a lot to me."
VanVleet never asked to be in the spotlight. He never asked to be given all the love the city of Rockford has shown him time and time again.
But it does not mean the 25-year-old is not appreciative of all the support.
"I take full pride in all of those roles," said VanVleet. "A lot of that stuff I didn't ask for, but I'm kind of put on that pedestal, so I got to live up to it. That's why I go so hard in terms of coming back and giving back making sure I pour some of that back into the community and just try to change things the best that I can."
VanVleet has continued to help shape the Forest City. Not only does he have his own store downtown, but he brings the Stateline together through basketball.
Bryan Ott, his former high school coach, agrees.
"It's a bigger than that," said Ott. "This whole region seems to have celebrated Fred and so I think, giving them an opportunity to come out and say welcome back and applaud him personally, I think is well-earned, well-deserved."
VanVleet's basketball camp is coming up in two weeks and it's another opportunity for Fred to give back to his hometown.
"I think it's important for me to be hands-on in my camp. My name is on it. I'm a little obsessive when it comes to stuff like that. I try to be a perfectionist and I try to run great camps and part of that is being there and being involved."