My life is a testament of my family's hard work.
Hard work always pays off in the end and I am just getting started.
It has been clear throughout his life that Danny was gifted athletically. During his freshman year of high school, he played both football (quarterback) and basketball (guard) at North Babylon High School. Danny's prowess in basketball led to a change in schools his sophomore year as he attended St. Mary's High School for the remainder of his high school career. Always one to fill his stat sheet, he averaged 16.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 5.0 blocks per game his junior year; he was even better his senior season as he averaged 20 points, 10.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 4 blocks per game, paving the way for national recognition as he was named to the 2005 McDonald's All-American Award listing. With all this behind him, Danny seemed destined for collegiate basketball success.
Danny chose to pursue his basketball dreams at the collegiate level at the University of North Carolina (UNC), a program with a storied history of winning and producing NBA talent from its ranks on the basketball hardwood within the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). He saw considerable playing time his freshman year in sixth man duties for the team, but after not being where he believed he should be, Danny contemplated changing schools in hopes of a better opportunity to shine. Staying at UNC ended up being a wise decision as he more than doubled his scoring average per game from his sophomore to junior year, collected numerous accolades his senior year (Co-Team Captain, ACC All-Defensive Team, Winningest Tar Heel ever with 123 career wins, etc.), and remains the only Tar Heel ever to record 1,000+ points, 500+ rebounds, 200+ assists, 100+ blocks, and 100+ steals for his career. Above all the former mentioned accolades, he found the ultimate level of collegiate success as he had the "dream season" his senior year in winning the 2009 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) National Championship. Standing atop the collegiate basketball world, success on the professional level appeared to be a given for Danny.
Danny's professional career in the National Basketball Association (NBA) began much more humbly than his collegiate career ended as the Cleveland Cavaliers selected him as the 46th overall pick in the second round of the 2009 NBA Draft. Danny found himself in rocky territory as both the Cleveland Cavaliers and the San Antonio Spurs waived during his sophomore season, which led him join the ranks of the NBA's Development League. Making the most of his time with the Reno Bighorns, Danny showed why he was drafted in the second round out of college as he led the team in scoring at 20.0 points per game, alongside grabbing 7.5 rebounds per game during the 16 games he played. This level of play caught the attention of the San Antonio Spurs as they signed Danny again for the stretch run of the season towards the playoffs in 2011. Going into the summer of 2011, Danny faced a decision that could define his professional basketball career as he could either (1) choose to play overseas and receive a significant, guaranteed increase in salary or (2) choose to continue pursuing his NBA dreams during a lockout season alongside the adversity that defined his professional career up to this point. Danny chose to pursue what he truly desired – a professional career in the NBA – and it would be a decision that marked a turning point in his career.
With the conclusion of the 2011 NBA lockout, Danny returned to the San Antonio Spurs and showed them that he wanted to play in the NBA as he had a breakout season where he started in more than half of the season's 66 total games, averaged 9.1 points per game, and finished in the Top Ten of the NBA's Most Improved Player Award voting. Danny's hard work and perseverance through his roundabout way into consistent standing in the NBA paid dividends as on July 11, 2012, he signed a 3-year contract with the San Antonio Spurs. Danny has turned the corner from being just another young talent to a solid, emerging star as he has settled into a regular starting position for the San Antonio Spurs.
Building on his solid play in 2011 as a starter, he is playing at his highest personal level so far during the 2012 regular season as he finished the season in the NBA's Top 10 leading three-point shooters and averaged over 16 points per game for the month of February. He also was an important part of the Spurs organization as he was the team's second leading scorer during the regular season, helping them to boast the NBA's best record and position themselves for another championship-caliber postseason run. As if his regular season accolades were not enough, Danny took his game to an even higher level during the playoffs. His stellar three-point shooting continued as during the NBA Finals, he shot himself into the record books as he became the new all-time record holder for three-pointers made in an NBA Finals series (27). Moreover, his competitiveness and basketball knowledge rose to the occasion on this global stage as his defense and unselfish play - combined with his record-setting three-point shooting - fueled the San Antonio Spurs to take the defending champion Miami Heat to the brink in what will undoubtedly become one the of the most memorable NBA Finals seven game series of all time.
After losing during the NBA Finals, Danny spent the offseason working on complementary offensive elements of his game to prevent teams from defending him as a three-point-specialist/perimeter shooter when on the court. The hard work paid off as he set a new personal best in scoring (33 points against the Phoenix Suns), scored 14+ points in 20 games, and set another NBA record as he recorded a perfect shooting night against the Dallas Mavericks (22 points - 3/3 Free Throws, 5/5 Three Pointers, 7/7 Total Field Goals). Taking his play up a notch, Danny increased his scoring average after the All-Star break to help the San Antonio Spurs the number one overall seed going into the playoffs. The focus for everyone was getting back to the NBA Finals and hopefully getting another shot at the Miami Heat, but the other Western Conference playoff teams wouldn't make things easy. The Spurs were tested early by Dallas Mavericks as it took them seven games to defeat them in the first round. The team found its stride as they looked dominant throughout their defeat of the Portland Trail Blazers in five games. The Oklahoma City Thunder pushed them to six games, but after defeating them, Danny and the rest of the Spurs earned their way back to the NBA Finals. With the Miami Heat's defeat of the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals, the stage was set for a rematch. The outcome would be much different as the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Miami Heat in six games to be crowned this year's NBA Champions. Setting records in field goal percentage (49.1%), free throw percentage (81.8%), and total steals (32), Danny certainly did his part on both ends of the court to help his team achieve the 2014 NBA Championship.
Enjoyed My Way To The Top...The Challenge Now Is Staying Here.