Zach LaVine is accustomed to media responsibilities by now. So he knew, upon receiving his first career All-Star selection, a call with local reporters would soon follow.
The Bulls used that pretense to surprise LaVine with an impromptu Zoom call with family and friends. The result was heartwarming.
"Kind of pranked me," LaVine later told reporters.
First, LaVine's parents, Paul and Cheryl, popped on screen -- under the guise of a Seattle, Wash. TV station -- to profess their pride in LaVine for his long path to becoming an All-Star. Then, fellow Seattle hoops product Jamal Crawford, followed by a smattering of family, friends, close colleagues and teammates (including Thad Young) from years past trickled in.
"Just the look on their faces, it's been a long time coming," LaVine said of the reaction of his loved ones. "We put a lot of work in for this and my support system is always there for me and has my back, so just to see the looks on their faces and showing me that I made them proud is more than enough for me."
LaVine reflected at length about his career and what the All-Star berth means to him throughout his eventual comments to the media. The prevailing theme: It's been a long time coming, but he's far from finished.
"Even if I didn’t make the team I knew that obviously I think I was one of the better players in the Eastern Conference and I have my team fighting for the eighth spot to get into the playoffs, and that was my main goal," LaVine said. "I definitely want to keep pushing that envelope."