GAITHERSBURG — On June 13, the Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals to win their first title in franchise history.
In the aftermath, Raptors small forward and Gaithersburg High School alum Malcolm Miller brought the Larry O’Brien trophy back to his old high school for a Meet and Greet event on Aug. 17.
“It was an amazing experience,” said Miller. “We had a great team. We had a whole country behind us, and it was good to know that all the hard work you put in to be able to contribute to the win, it’s an NBA title. Words can’t describe.”
Miller took pictures with fans and spectators in Gaithersburg. As a role player for Toronto, being a part of a championship roster was a big deal for the small forward. However, bringing the trophy back to Montgomery County to show it off to his father, Robert, and the Trojan community completed the whole experience of winning a title, Miller said.
“Family’s always a big thing for me,” said Miller. “I don’t want to forget where I came from. Everyone had a part in this, and this is my home, so I want to make sure people from my home can see the trophy, enjoying the fun, enjoying the experience, and having a great time with it.”
Miller said he enjoyed being a part of Toronto’s championship team that featured players like NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet.
“It was a great learning experience,” said Miller. “Those are my brothers. I gained more family through them. It was a hard-working team, and great guys to be around, so it’s a good experience.”
It was a long journey for Miller who graduated from Gaithersburg in 2011 and went on to play college basketball at Holy Cross for four years. After going undrafted in 2015, Miller spent a year in the NBA Development League (now known as the G League), a year in the German Bundesliga, and the Toronto Raptors for two different stints, beginning in 2017.
“I didn’t have the traditional route to get to the NBA,” said Miller. “I’m still working on my way there. It’s a continuous battle, but it’s good to know that the hard work can pay off if you continue to grind every day, and know that if you’re working hard, make sure no one else can outwork you.”