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DeMar DeRozan was exposed to the lush life well before he ever became a
Toronto Raptor or made his first million. As a teenager on an AAU team
sponsored by hip-hop mogul Percy “Master P” Miller, DeRozan fostered a
still-close relationship with Miller’s son, rapper/actor Romeo, and would
spend weekends at the Miller home, surrounded by a level of opulence that
belied his modest existence back home in Compton, Calif.

Visits to shopping malls with Romeo usually ended with a swarm of fans
trailing them every step of the way. DeRozan got to sit in on video and
movie shoots. He learned about the work required to earn and maintain
celebrity – and decided that the chase for fame would never outpace the
drive to succeed.
“I got to see both worlds. You see that lifestyle early on and you realize,
‘This is what it is?’ ” DeRozan told. “I already had my mindset when I had
nothing. It’s cool to have all that, but it’s all about the work and the
grind to get to that.”
DeRozan describes his lifestyle off the court as “stagnant” because he
craves quiet more than attention. Time not spent playing basketball or
working on his game likely involves watching basketball or cartoons with
his daughter Diar. “It’s not what some people expect. They look at you,
like, ‘You’re in the league. You’ve got all this. You’re supposed to do
this. You’re supposed to do that,’ ” DeRozan told . “Keep it simple,
nothing special. I’m just content with doing that. You know, the little
things matter.”

With the All-Star game in Toronto for the first time, DeRozan hopes that he
and Lowry represent the Raptors. Should he join Carter and Bosh as the
franchise’s only players to make multiple All-Star appearances, DeRozan
still plans to stay low-key and heed the advice Master P gave him before
basketball changed his fortunes.

“Never get caught up in the lifestyle, because you can have it all one day
and lose it the next. He really taught me that early on. So I think it, it
helped me now, because no matter what I get, or how much I have now, I
still remember what it feels like to have nothing,” DeRozan told . “I try
to get better every single year, to where people do realize, every single
year, I got better. You can never deny that. I’m going to stick to that,
until I’ll be one of those old guys out there and the young guys are
running past me. Until that day comes, I’m going to have that mindset.”

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