Fans were shocked when JaVale McGee was announced as part of the Warriors’ starting lineup during Game 2 of the NBA Finals on June 3 — but he definitely delivered. Get to know more about him here!
JaVale McGee has had minimal playing time throughout the Golden State Warriors’ 2018 playoff run, which is why it came as quite a shock when he was named as the team’s starting center in Game 2 against the Cleveland Cavaliers! It was JaVale’s first time playing in an NBA Finals match, and he finished the game with 12 points, playing over 18 minutes total. He learned he would be playing in the game less that 24 hours before taking the court, and helped lead the Warriors to a 122-103 victory. Get to know JaVale better here!
1. His parents were also basketball stars. Considering JaVale’s genetics, it’s no surprise that he got into basketball. His dad, George Montgomery, stood at 6’10” and was selected in the second round of the 1985 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers, although he did not go on to play for the team. His mom, Pamela McGee, won two NCAA championships at the University of Southern California, as well as a gold medal at the Olympics in 1984. She was drafted into the WNBA when she was 34 years old, and raised her children as a single mother while also juggling her basketball career.
2. The early basketball years. JaVale was born in Flint Michigan, and played basketball at two different high schools as a teenager. he went on to play as the starting center for the University of Nevada, but after a successful sophomore year, he decided to declare for the NBA draft instead. In 2008, he hired an agent and did just that.
3. NBA Career. JaVale was selected by the Washington Wizards as the 18th overall draft pick in 2008. He stayed with the team for several years before being traded to the Denver Nuggets in March 2012. That summer, he signed a four-year contract with the team. Unfortunately, he had to sit out most of the 2013/2014 season due to a stress fracture, which required surgery, in his leg. JaVale was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in Feb 2015, but was waived after jus six games. He signed to the Dallas Mavericks in August of that year, and was waived by them the following summer. The Warriors signed him in Sept. 2016, and he renewed the contract or one year in Aug. 2017
4. He’s been on a reality show. JaVale and his mom starred on the show Mom’s Got Game in 2014. It aired for six episodes on the Oprah Winfrey Network, showing their lives off the court, as well as how Pamela managed JaVale’s career and worked to build a brand of her own.
5. He’s a vegan. JaVale dedicated himself to a vegan lifestyle in 2017. He tried the diet before various NBA seasons prior to that as a way to lose weight, but decided to commit full-time after recognizing a great response from his body during the Warriors’ 2017 playoff run.