HYATTSVILLE, MD – In 2015, Quinn Cook was devastated. After playing basketball his entire life, including four years in one of the best college programs in the country, he wasn’t selected in the NBA Draft.
Fast forward to 2017 when Quinn stepped onto the court to play for the Golden State Warriors. The team went on to win the NBA Finals.
In just two years, Quinn went from one end of the professional basketball career spectrum to the other. How did that happen?
According to the 25-year-old, it was all because of his father.
“Everything happens for a reason. I knew he was more with me now than ever,” said Quinn. “I just want to dedicate everything I did to him.”
Quinn’s father, Ted, went into a coma following a colon procedure, the San Francisco Gate reported. He passed away shortly after in 2008.
Quinn was on the basketball court when he received the news. He was just 14.
“We did everything together, he was my best friend,” said Quinn. “He put the ball in my hands. He taught me how to play.”
Quinn’s father taught him far more than just a game. He cared more about how Quinn conducted himself, both on and off the court.
Those teachings inspired Quinn to play collegiately at Duke University, where he helped lead the Blue Devils to a national title. Like many other college basketball players, Quinn was on a path toward the NBA.
“I just knew I was getting drafted. Just everything that I did, I thought I put myself in a great position,” said Quinn.
But on the night of the 2015 NBA Draft, Quinn’s name wasn’t called. While Quinn admitted it was painful, he refused to give up hope.
He started playing in the NBA G League, the NBA’s minor league for players to develop their skills. Even though he had offers to play overseas that would’ve paid more, according to For the Win, he stuck with the G League because it would give him a better chance to be signed by an NBA franchise.
It eventually paid off. More than a year after that painful draft night, Quinn got a phone call from the Golden State Warriors. He packed his bags and moved to the West Coast. But despite how far he’d come, he still wasn’t on the court.
“In the first 14 or 15 games, I probably played in two of them,” recalled Quinn.
Opportunity struck about halfway through the season when former league MVP Stephen Curry rolled his ankle. Quinn was called into the game, and he earned a spot on the court in a contributing role for the remainder of the season. The Warriors went on to win their second consecutive title.
Quinn said the championship meant the world to him, particularly when he thought about his dad.
“I think about my dad every day, [particularly] with special moments like that,” said Quinn. “He’d be proud, but I think he’d be more proud of the man I’ve become and how I conduct myself.”
Quinn used his influence to inspire others to believe in themselves, much like how he never gave up on his NBA dream.
“My biggest thing is motivating others, inspiring others. I think [my dad] would be proud of that,” said Quinn.