Crowned an NBA champion, Larry Drew returns to KCK where he cultivated his craft

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. - BeEthel Smittie said it was important to her that her kids knew the value of hard work.

"I would tell them, well, I've worked all my life, and I'm not dead yet, so it's not going to hurt you," said Smittie.

She raised all of her kids to work hard, including son, Larry Drew. Drew played for the Missouri Tigers, then went onto play for several teams in the NBA. He then turned to coaching, and in 2014, became the assistant coach to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"You never know how things are going to turn out," said Drew.

Drew says he was hopeful this would be the year he'd help his team win the NBA Title, and he says he's honored to have done his part.

"It comes down to playing good basketball at the right time, and we were able to do that," said Drew.

He says his team set out to do something special, but to him, the real special stuff starts at home.

"I always look forward to coming home- win, lose or draw," said Drew.

Drew was born and raised in Kansas City, Kan., and about once a year he comes home to see his family.

"I really look forward to this moment, you know this- this is kind of a great opportunity for me to take a deep breath and relax after a long, grueling season," he said.

It's here that Smittie says her son cultivated his craft, running in his free time.

"He would get up at midnight and he would go up to Wyandotte and run the bleachers by himself," she said.

She says at times when he was on a run, guys threw water balloons at him, but he never stopped working.

"He went through all of that to get where he is now," Smittie said.

It's a far cry from where he wanted to be at age 10.

"I said, what you want to be when you grow up? And he said, Momma, I want to drive a diaper truck," she said smiling.

But Smittie says she thinks it all turned out all right.

"I am so happy that out of all these years that he's going to get a ring. It's well deserved. It really is," she said.

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