Title: Norman Powell’s extension helps set example for the Raptors’ young roster
Date: October 8, 2017
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the message the Raptors are sending by rewarding Norman Powell with a sizable contract extension.
It is difficult to believe. Norman Powell, the workmanlike Toronto Raptors swingman who has long carried himself like an elder statesman despite only standing at the starting line of his third professional season, was not always the calm, stoic figure he is now. You have to go back quite a ways to find a time when Powell didn’t seem to have a good head firmly on his shoulders, but there was a time.
“I wouldn’t say all the time. High school I struggled a little bit, had a little attitude,” Powell said Sunday at the Air Canada Centre, where he was speaking to media for the first time since signing a four-year contract extension reportedly worth his maximum of approximately $42 million.
As he tells it, the ninth-grade version of Powell still had some growing up to do as a teammate, and his coaches bumped him down from the junior varsity and varsity levels he expected to play on, instead putting him with the freshman team. Powell was immensely talented and would soon grow into the type of player and leader that helped lead Lincoln High School to a Division II California Interscholastic Federation State Championship in his junior year. Their message at the time, though, had to be clear.
“It was a big wake-up call. I wasn’t special,” Powell said.