The city of Flint is celebrating a hometown hero who is now an NBA champion.
"We were just kind of having fun. They told us JaVale McGee was going to come and spend time with us. It's been fun," said Da'Quan Murray, football player for the International Academy of Flint.
Murray and his teammates got the chance to see Flint native and NBA champion JaVale McGee up close and personal on Wednesday.
"He was in our position because he actually went to our school back in his middle school years and it showed that he came from where we're at and he got to where he is. So he was trying to tell us that we can too. It just takes hard work and dedication," said Eric Owens II, student.
The 7-footer played a key role for the Golden State Warriors. He came off the bench to help the team win its second championship in three years.
Celebrations kicked off with a parade through downtown. One message was loud and clear for adults and children alike - Flint has hope.
"Just trying to inspire people to be great and do what they do," McGee said.
McGee took to the podium with a message of inspiration in mind, especially to the young kids still trying to make their way.
"Whatever their knack is or their niche, just be great at that and be able to be the greatest you can at doing something. It's definitely a positive thing and just being able to motivate the people," McGee said.
The motivation runs in the family. McGee's mother Pamela said resiliency is key.
"Believe in yourself when other people doubt you out. To be a champion you persevere and you're a warrior," McGee said.
She said Flint has a lot to do with their family's success.
"That's what you learn in Flint. That no one can ever count you out because we're resilient and we're champions period. And if you can survive here, you can survive anywhere," McGee said.
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver declared Sept. 6 JaVale McGee day throughout the city.
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