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Golden State's Marreese Speights wins NBA title

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Tue. June 16, 2015 | Bob Putnam | Email

Golden State's Marreese Speights wins NBA title

Golden State’s Marreese Speights played a total of two minutes in the final four games of the NBA finals. He scored one point during that span.

Still, the diminished role mattered little to Speights Tuesday night after the Warriors beat Cleveland to win the series 4-2. In the postgame revelry, Speights, a former standout at Gibbs, Admiral Farragut and Florida, traded smiles and handshakes as he celebrated the first NBA title in his seven-year career.

Speights also joined some exclusive company, becoming just the 40th player to win an NCAA and NBA title. The list includes plenty of basketball icons such as Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Bill Russell.

Before the finals, Speights talked about what it would be like to join that club.

“I think I’ll appreciate it more with this NBA title because when I won an NCAA championship with Florida I was a freshman and didn’t really have much a role,” Speights said.

Though Speights was mostly a spectator against the Cavaliers, he did some memorable moments – good and bad.

In the opening game of the series, Speights returned from an injury and ignited Golden State with eight points off the bench. In the following game, Speights missed on a breakaway dunk before end of the third quarter as the Warriors lost.

Speights did not see the court much after that but did not let that squash his confidence.

“Why would it be in my head?" Speights told the San Jose Mercury-News. "I played five minutes. Yeah, I missed a dunk, but at the end of the day, it happens in this league. People don't realize I was plus-four that game.

"My confidence is always high no matter what it is. Missed dunk, (if I) missed eight shots in a row, I still impact the game in a different way as in playing defense, boxing out my man or helping out on defense."

Speights’ biggest impact came during the regular season when he averaged a career-high 10.4 points as one of the most valuable reserves in the league.

With Speights’ rise to basketball prominence, the platform and possibilities have grown tremendously for him to provide social good and community uplift to hometown St. Petersburg.

After providing financial assistance for a local AAU team for years, Speights will continue his game plan to assist youth on a bigger stage.

In August, Speights will host an event at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg featuring local rap artists and dancers. The event is held in conjunction with Speights’ birthday, a celebration that plans to be even bigger now that he is an NBA champion.
 

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