Lu Dort wants to send a message to children in Montreal
The past year has been a rollercoaster for the Oklahoma City Thunder's Canadian guard Luguentz Dort.
It was a year ago today that the Thunder inked Dort to a two-way contract after he surprisingly fell out of the 2019 NBA draft.
"It was just tough for all of us," Dort said Monday of that upsetting draft night.
But Dort didn't let his draft status impact him on the court, and after a few months in the G-League, Dort found himself a regular in the Thunder's starting lineup.
Now, two weeks after signing a multi-year extension with the Thunder, Dort can finally feel comfortable with his NBA future.
"It was a lot of relief," he said. "I never knew when I would get sent back to the G-league, so every time I was on the court was an opportunity to show myself."
Back home in Montreal-Nord, Dort said his community was ecstatic.
"It's really big," said Dort, the son of Haitian immigrants. "It's not easy to come out of this place. ... I had a lot of support and it's good for the kids to just see me being here and just like if I did it, they can do it too. It's a big motivation for them."
For Nelson Osse, Dort's AAU coach in Montreal, the contract should send a message to other children in Montreal's underprivileged neighborhoods to continue persevering through adversity.
"What you usually hear about Montreal-North in the news it's usually bad news, rarely stories like this," Osseo said. "For a young kid like him who was born there, who was raised there, to make it so big, it means he'll probably inspire more kids to always dream and fight for their dreams."
As for the past year, Osse said he's been impressed by Dort's resiliency.
"Lu was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth, so basically all his life he's had to earn respect," Osse said. "When you're talking about overlooked, wherever Lu went people never saw him as a basketball player. When he first came to our gym he was the last one to make the team. Everything was not easy. ... It wasn't an easy road, obviously what kept him motivated was his family, he was raised tough by his family and he knows what resiliency is all about."
Now, Dort said he wants to send another message to his community back home. This time, it'll be a statement on the back of his jersey when the season returns. Though he hasn't quite figured out what he wants it to say, he said he wants it to be in Haitian Creole or French.
"Lu just wants to show people where he's from," Osse said. "You're going to see all these messages in English, so he just wants to send a message to the French. That's just Lu, he's always thinking about other people."