Family, friends and members of the Gaithersburg High School basketball community turned out on Saturday to welcome home NBA champion and current Toronto Raptors player Malcolm Miller — a 2011 graduate of the Montgomery County, Maryland, high school.
Miller, a 6-foot-7-inch forward, brought with him the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. He posed for pictures with fans alongside the nearly 2-foot tall trophy, which is designed to resemble a basketball entering the net. The trophy is made out of sterling silver with 24 karat gold overlay.
Miller also held a meet and greet with family, friends and fans to help raise money for several local charities.
“It’s a great experience being able to come home and give back to the community … it’s all for charity, I want kids around here to grow up and know they have a chance to really succeed if they put the work into it,” Miller said.
The gathering included a silent auction to benefit charities including Be The Match — a national bone marrow donor program; Stepping Stones Shelter, a Rockville, Maryland, facility providing shelter to homeless families; and Reach Beyond Basketball, a youth basketball program.
“It’s always important to give back. When you have a platform you need to use that platform for good,” Miller said.
“It’s so amazing — my son — he’s growing more and more than what I had hoped he would be,” said Robert Miller, Malcolm’s father, “he’s been an honor roll student ever since he was in first grade. We always had dreams about what to do, who are you going to be. Me and my wife, we always brought that about in our kids.”
Plenty of kids were among the fans who came out to shake hands and take pictures with an NBA champion.
“I think it’s very cool since he came to this school and was able to make it to the NBA and was able to win the championship and bring it back to his hometown,” said Isaac Page, 14, an incoming freshman at Gaithersburg High School, who plans to try out for the school’s varsity basketball team.
The NBA champ has simple advice for those striving to succeed.
“It’s always being prepared for the opportunity. You never know when the opportunity is going to strike. You put that work in, you grind through all those hours that no one else wants to grind through and when that opportunity comes you’re able to take advantage of it,” Miller said.