NBA star Tristan Thompson visits hometown of Brampton, receives key to city

Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers may be an NBA champion, but the Canadian basketball star says he also wants to be a champion of inspiring young people to follow their dreams.

Thompson won 2016 NBA Championship with Cleveland Cavaliers.

Tristan Thompson of the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers brings the Larry O'Brien championship trophy on a visit with a group of kids in his hometown of Brampton on Aug. 26, 2016. (CBC News)

Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers may be an NBA champion, but the Canadian basketball star says he also wants to be a champion of inspiring young people to follow their dreams. 

"I want to motivate kids, even if it's just one kid, one child to strive for greatness, then I've done my job," Thompson said Friday during a visit to his hometown of Brampton, where he appeared at his former high school and received the key to the city. 

In the morning, the Cavaliers' star centre and power forward also visited the Brampton Soccer Centre, where he used to play on the outdoor basketball courts. He brought along some hardware, the NBA's Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy, to show to a group of local kids. 

"To be able to bring a championship here and show everyone here, it's a big honour," said Thompson.  

The Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals, ending a 52-year championship drought in Cleveland. The team drafted Thompson in 2011. Five years later, he's an integral part of their championship roster.

Brampton city councillor Gurpreet Dhillon, along with several other officials, presented Thompson with the key in front of a crowd that included the NBA star's mother.

NBA player Tristan Thompson, centre, is presented with a key to the city of Brampton by local officials on Aug. 26, 2016. (CBC News)

"He embodies what it means to be a Bramptonian," Dhillon said. "And he has become a role model for so many youth, not only in Brampton, not only in Canada, but all across our continent."

After receiving the key, Thompson reminisced about his determination to make it to the NBA.

Thompson played high school basketball for a year at St. Marguerite d'Youville Secondary School on Dixie Road in Brampton, before going to a prep school in the United States.

"I just remember going to d'Youville and having the dream just to do something," said Thompson.

"Who would have thought, coming here to the soccer centre and playing outside, playing street ball, I would have an NBA championship, it's a blessing, it's a true blessing."