Fred VanVleet’s Career Has Come Full Circle – When Betting On Yourself Pays Off

Photo Credit: Frank Gunn/CP


When the 2023 NBA free agency opened last night, Fred VanVleet signed a 3-year, $130 million max contract with the Houston Rockets.

The first max contract of this year’s free agency, also is the largest for any undrafted player in NBA history. VanVleet famously uses the phrase “bet on yourself” to describe his career trajectory, and did so again Friday night amid his move to a new team.

The moniker started after VanVleet went undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft. In most cases, the worst thing that can happen to a college player with hopes to make it into the NBA, is to declare for the draft and then not get selected.

On draft night, we almost exclusively talk about the 60 (mostly) happy players who did make it, but not about the many who had been denied of their dream. Sometimes though, those undrafted players make it into the NBA nonetheless. Which takes us back to Fred VanVleet.

After the Draft Night disappointment, Freddy agreed to play in the 2016 NBA Summer League with the Toronto Raptors with the expectation to make the Raptors’ training camp. His summer league contract had a guarantee of three game appearances. VanVleet was able to impress, and the rest is history, incluing an NBA championship. 

In wake of his max contract, let’s take a look back at the video of VanVleet that shows him getting up in front of everyone at his draft party to tell them he didn’t get drafted, handling the situation incredibly well. What a great guy!


“My story don’t end here. It’s just the beginning. It wouldn’t really make sense for my story if I did get picked. I’ve been against the odds my whole life. It’s not gone stop now.”


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