When Zach LaVine and Perrion Callandret first met as middle school basketball players in Bothell, Wash., they probably never imagined their sports odyssey would lead them to Chicago, where they’re both playing professionally: Zach for the Bulls and Perrion for the G League Windy City Bulls.
Callandret said being reunited with his childhood friend and high school teammate has been a terrific experience.
“It’s been great. Just being able through the years to push each other," Callandret said. "We’ve always been really good friends, and through high school we became like best friends, more like brothers. So, through that, just in the summer time, offseasons and all that, just really pushing each other, whether it’s on the court or just mentally or whatever, it’s nice to have somebody like that who’s around.”
LaVine and Callandret go back to Washington in the offseasons and work out together at boot-camp-style training sessions put together by LaVine's dad, Paul, a former professional football player.
“It’s tough. It’s an everyday thing, about five days a week, we get weekends off," Callandret said. "It all pays off, it all pays dividends. You see how athletic he is and how good his body stands up. His dad played in the NFL, so he knows little tricks of the trade and all that. He gives us a little football stuff to go along with basketball.
"It’s great, we have a bunch of people that come out, they let it be open to everybody, high school kids, overseas people, NBA, whoever wants to come out. It’s nice to have a place like that to go work out for free.”
Callandret was asked to play for the Bulls Summer League team at LaVine’s urging, and showed enough to earn an invitation to training camp. After failing to make the final roster, he decided to stay in Chicago and sign with Windy City, still chasing the NBA dream that motivated the childhood friends all those years ago in Washington.
And, if Zach decides to participate in a third Slam Dunk Contest next month at All-Star Weekend in Chicago, maybe he’ll call on his former teammate to lend a hand.
“I wish," Callandret said. “Back in the other ones, I was in college. We always had a game the same time as the dunk contest so I wasn’t around. I would definitely go out there, throw him an alley-oop here or there.”
LaVine hinted to reporters this week he’d prefer to give the 3-point shootout a try during All-Star weekend rather than compete in another dunk contest. No matter what he ultimately decides, LaVine can count on his old friend at the United Center to enjoy the experience together.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.