Minnesota Timberwolves rookie shooting guard Zach LaVine is one of the NBA’s rising stars along with teammate Andrew Wiggins and was thrust onto a larger stage during NBA All-Star Weekend 2015.
LaVine competed and won the 2015 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest with blazing athleticism and creativity that reminded fans of the creativity of Vince Carter when he won the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest.
He is having a modest rookie season averaging 7.6 points-per-game, but along with Wiggins and teammate Shabazz Muhammad have teamed to form an inspiring nucleus of young talent in Minnesota.
1. LaVine Comes From an Athletic Family Background
LaVine comes from an athletic background where both of his parents played professional sports. His father, Paul, played football professionally in the USFL and NFL and his mother, CJ, played softball.
In high school he was listed as the No. 1 shooting guard on the West Coast by Scout.com and the No. 6 point guard, nationally, by Scout.com — a five-star recruit. He was also listed as the No. 1 high school senior in the state of Washington by ESPN.com and the No. 6 player on the West Coast by ESPN.com. He won the 2013 Associated Press Washington state player of the year as a senior.
2. He Attended UCLA Before He Was Drafted By Minnesota
LaVine attended UCLA for just his freshman season before turning pro after the 203-14 season. He was a highly intriguing prospect due to his athleticism and personality — he loved Space Jam as a kid.
The Timberwolves made him the 13th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
3. The Guard Is Dating His High School Sweetheart
LaVine’s girlfriend’s name is Hunter and the two have been dating since high school.
4. LaVine Won the 2015 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest
LaVine competed in the 2015 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest along with Brooklyn Nets center Mason Plumlee, Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The day after the contest, LaVine was doing a little trash-talking, and said that he could beat LeBron James in a dunk contest.
5. He Emulates His Game After His Childhood Idol
LaVine grew up idolizing Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, which made his 2015 Slam Dunk Contest win all that much sweeter. Bryant is the youngest player to ever win the Dunk Contest at 18-years-old, and LaVine is the second youngest at 19-years-old.