Photog: Camilo Rios
Stylist: Serena Basil/Labionda Styling

Trust the process.

Keep having faith.

After an up and down battle for 4 years that started with going undrafted in the NBA to having to having a breakout impact game with the Miami Heat this season, Willie Reed is where he is today because he had faith in the process. For him, that road wasn’t exactly easy.

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“My wife and kids really helped me to keep continuously pushing through to achieve my dreams.” Photo: Camilo Rios Stylist: Labionda Styling

 

Willie graduated from high school in 2008 and went on to play college basketball at Saint Louis University for two years. He declared for the NBA draft in 2011, but went undrafted. From there, he spent most of his playing career in the NBA’s D-League. He got a taste of the NBA during those first two seasons in the D-League, but he couldn’t make anything stick. He kept fighting though; he kept believing in the process.

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“That was frustrating. I thought that maybe this is just a sign that says this is not what is meant to be.” Reed on not receiving a call from the NBA after his best season in the D League.” Photo: Camilo Rios Stylist: Labionda Styling

After his third and best season in the D-League, still nothing from the NBA came his way. If there was ever a time to want to throw in the towel, this might have been it for Reed. “That was frustrating. I thought that maybe this is just a sign that says this is not what is meant to be. But, my wife and my agent… told me just keep going. Everything is going to work out if you stay faithful to the process.” He kept grinding and working, still aiming to be the best that he knew he could be.

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“I’m just trying to be the best Willie that I can be.” Photo: Camilo Rios Stylist: Labionda Styling

 

In 2015, while playing in a league in the Dominican Republic, he got a call from the Miami Heat to play for their summer league. This was his chance. “This might be the last opportunity that I have to make something of this dream. So, how bad do you really want it.” He prepared himself for this, gave it everything he had, and after that summer league, and eventually earned himself a contract.

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“Believe in the process. Keep having faith. The usually say things get the toughest right before something good happens….Just stick with it. Be patient. Stay Positive. And understand that you are here for a reason and everything happens for a reason.” Photo: Camilo Rios Stylist: Labionda Styling

His journey was four years in the making. It wasn’t the typical way that someone would make it to the NBA, but it was his way. “I wouldn’t change anything. I think that it made me even more hungry. I don’t know how I would have been had it been given to me. I would have never met my wife… my two beautiful kids. And, I wouldn’t be put in a position like this where I really had to grind for something that I really want.”

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“The game against Phoenix was just magical. It was something that I had dreamed about my whole career.” Photog: Camilo Rios Stylist: Labionda Styling

Simply put, you never know when you are going to get your moment. Surrounding yourself with people who believe in you, and working hard day in and day out to be the best you can be is the only way to be ready for when your moment comes. Willie Reed’s moment happened to come in the form of a 22 points and 18 rebounds night against the Phoenix Suns, even drawing comparisons to Hassan Whiteside from the media. And while nothing is guaranteed, he will take that moment and continue working, because he is always working to be the best Willie Reed he can be.

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