MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A year ago Hassan Whiteside was playing at a YMCA, now he’s playing for the Miami Heat.READ MORE: CBS4 Investigates: Man Accused Of Killing Ryan Rogers Could Have Faced Two Decades In Prison For Prior Crime
On Friday, he was teaching kids to swim at a YMCA in Miami Lakes. It’s been quite a meteoric rise for one of the NBA’s biggest players.
“You can dream about it and hope for it, but when it actually happens it blows you away. Everybody got dreams and everybody got somewhere they want to be. Once you start seeing it pay off it’s a really good feeling,” said Whiteside.
He’ll make just under a million dollars this season but some experts think he’ll be worth North of $18 million annually when he hits free agency in 2016.READ MORE: Glenneisha Darkins Perseveres During Art Week Despite Challenges
“I don’t really get caught up in the number you know. I’m just excited I get to play with the Heat another year. I’m not really thinking about the numbers right now,” said Whiteside.
For now, he’s in a Heat uniform, enjoying every minute of his new found fame. He’s using his platform to have fun on social media and at the same time, he’s connecting with fans in the Miami community.
“I grew up with not much. Just the fact that people get excited to see me – it’s just surreal to me,” said Whiteside.MORE NEWS: New Warning For Parents Regarding Omicron COVID-19 Variant
Whiteside’s summer isn’t over just yet. He’s headed to Europe with teammate Tyler Johnson to meet up with Goran Dragic for a little fun before the NBA season gets underway.