OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — If you head over to East Oakland and ask about Juan Toscano-Anderson, folks will tell you he’s a neighborhood hero.
The Golden State Warriors rookie saw his life come full circle this past year and the road to get here has surprised him, just as much as it may have surprised you.
Juan Toscano-Anderson took the road less traveled to the NBA. In fact, he didn’t even know the NBA was on the map.
“Did I ever think I was every going to make the NBA, I would have told you no,” he said. “I wasn’t even tripping off the NBA. I am just trying to hoop, travel the world and be happy.”
But just five years after he didn’t even put his name in the NBA Draft, with stints in Mexico and the g-league, he finds himself as a growing fan favorite in his hometown.
“I am reminded everyday. This is a blessing. This is an amazing opportunity and things just came together,” Toscano-Anderson said. “This is the epitome of the stars aligning.”
On the court, he emerged as a spark in Steve Kerr’s rotation, averaging over 20 minutes per game in April and March. But his biggest badge of honor was being able to do this in the community that raised him.
“I love being from here. I represent Oakland with so much pride, and so being able to be on the Warriors, the Warriors are a team that everyone is watching,” he said. “And being able to represent the Warriors on a world scale, I carry that, and I honor that.”
And the East Oakland native, recently displayed that pride when he lead a “Walk In Unity” protest through Oakland to highlight racism and police brutality in a community that has suffered through tragedies like the Oscar Grant murder.
“To do the protest, I was re-sparked by the George Floyd incident. It just brought out a lot of emotions that I have been suppressing for so long being a young minority, half black half Mexican man.”
He also inspired two of the most notable athletes in the Bay Area to come out and join him. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.
“When they take the time out of their day and come and support my community, to me that means the world,” Toscano-Anderson said.
Toscano-Anderson says he hopes to be a member of the Warriors organization for a long time.
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