Newspaper article The Canadian Press

All-Star Experience Still Special for DeRozan in His Fourth Time Playing

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

All-Star Experience Still Special for DeRozan in His Fourth Time Playing

Article excerpt

DeRozan, Lowry ready for all-star experience

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TORONTO - DeMar DeRozan heads to Los Angeles this weekend appreciative of how far he's come in life and basketball.

The Raptors guard was 14 the first time the NBA's all-star game rolled through the Staples Center. Living in Compton, Calif., DeRozan had no access to the game, but recalls feeling part of the festivities.

"I just remember being in Compton, honestly, and being able to see the lights from downtown thinking I had something to do with all-star weekend because it was in your city," said DeRozan. "You see the advertising, you see all the stars going there - it was one of them things, as a kid, that you see and you wish to be just anybody important to be able to go to things like that, see all the stars."

In 2011, the last time the Staples Center hosted, DeRozan participated in the slam dunk contest.

This weekend DeRozan is headed to his fourth all-star game along with teammate Kyle Lowry - the pair will be a part of Team Stephen. The Raptors coaching staff led by Dwane Casey will coach Team LeBron.

"Not saying that I believed I would be a part of it, but it was just one of them moments where you're seeing things like that being in Compton, you just wanted anything, you wanted to be just a rapper out there, you want to be him, or a basketball player - anybody. That's all you cared about," DeRozan said.

The 28-year-old heads to the break averaging 23.7 points per game (13th in the NBA), a career-high 5.2 assists per game and shooting 32.7 per cent from three-point range through 57 games.

The Raptors (41-16) own the best home record (24-4) in the NBA and head into the all-star break on a seven-game winning streak while sitting atop the Eastern Conference standings.

"I'm pretty sure after Sunday I'm going to have a lot more to say about (the experience), but now I still don't believe it," said DeRozan, who is a starter for a second straight year. …

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