“There’s no way Derrick White has ever crawled a part of the NBA Finals.” Well, well, well. See White now.

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The dream was impossible, especially for a skinny 9 -year -old Colorado boy sitting in front of a television and imagining how fantastic it would be to wear Chauncey Billups sneakers, as Mr. Big Shot led the Detroit Pistons to the NBA. winner in 2004.

“You watched the NBA Finals when you were little. It was like watching a dream,” Boston Celtics guard Derrick White told me Wednesday during a phone interview. “Watching Chauncey Billups do it was amazing. He was a role model. It seemed wild to me, knowing people from Colorado could play basketball on the biggest stage.

Well, are you ready for the wild part?

Sports are more bizarre than fiction. And sometimes even cooler.

White, unable to put basketball in the game until the end of his senior year at Legends High School in Parker, will print sneakers on Thursday, wear a Celtics jersey, then take the field for the NBA Finals against Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors.

Even people who love White will testify that this is an impossible dream that no business will ever happen.

“Derrick White? In the NBA Finals? I never thought that would work for seconds. I hate being that person. But it’s true, ”admits Marcus Mason, who began giving White personal tutoring on the nuances of hoops way back when it was unremarkable.

“When was Chauncey Billups named NBA Finals MVP? Was it 2004? Really? When I met Derrick, when he was probably 14 years old, if I saw this Chauncey player and this skinny little boy, I would say there was no way Derrick White would burn part of the NBA Finals. ”

Colorado is a fertile ground for big dreamers, developing ambitions to scale a 14,000 -foot peak and launch rockets into space. But no man in the history of this country has ever risen more than nowhere and climbed more than White in the sport of basketball.

In high school, did you know what White dreamed of? Height 6 feet. The only university that has shown a consistent interest in him is Johnson & Wales, which is better known for cultivating culinary genius rather than the magic of the Euro step.

“When I went to college, I didn’t think it was far possible that I would ever play in the NBA Finals,” said White, who enrolls on the Colorado Springs campus in the University of Colorado system, feeling lucky to be given a uniform in the Division II program. “But I just love basketball. It’s all about it. I like my friends on the team. Besides, I don’t have anything left.

What happened to White was a hoops version of the Marvel Comics superhero story. He is Dr. Bruce Banner of Hardwood. Late bloomer? While in college, White grew to be 6-feet-4, with a new body being infused by gravity-defying athleticism. It’s the Incredible Hulk stuff.

“Don’t lie: Derrick White wasn’t athletic until his junior year in college,” Mason recalls. He recounts the astonishing student transformation of a human anatomist in detail about a case study of a child learning to fly.

“I remember him telling me for the first time he was going to let a dribbler into the loop so he could block a shot from the back like LeBron James,” Mason said. “And I said to him: ‘It’s the dumbest thing (bleeping) I’ve ever heard in my life. But not long after that, I watched him let him pass and Derrick went up to pin shot into the glass with both hands. This is the same kid. who can’t dunk until he’s a senior in high school? Impossible. ”

Instead of a pinch, White moved to the University of Colorado, where he led the Buffaloes by scoring 18.1 points per game in a single season for coach Tad Boyle. Before the 2017 NBA draft, I remember the roll of eyes given by Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly when I advised him to do worse than take White with a 13th pick in the first round. Connelly even designed Louisville keeper Donovan Mitchell (awesome!) And sold it to Utah to Trey Lyles (ugh!) And Tyler Lydon (wait … what?).

The San Antonio Spurs shot White at the end of the first half, sent him to the G-League to perfect his skills, taught him the great value of being able to keep everyone from Kawhi Leonard to Kyrie Irving and nurtured him with 155 starts. over five seasons.