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By Shomari Wilson

I’ve stayed in Chicago for all of my life and sports have always been an influence in my life and as a kid growing up everyone had favorite teams and players. Favorite teams are one thing, but idols can change a young athlete's perspective of a sport. Growing up in the Windy City, there’s a lot of amazing superstars connected to the city to be inspired by.

Michael Jordan has always been a big face in the city, winning six championships. Many people looked up to Jordan, and he was in fact a figure that influenced me in some way. Jordan was an icon for me, but I was born after the Jordan era. He was like a myth to me.

I have actual idols that I was able to witness do great things. While I was young the Chicago Bulls and Bears were never bad teams, but they weren’t the best. When playing football I always tried doing moves that Devin Hester, the former return specialist for the bears would do.

Everybody wanted to be like someone who was really fast with good cuts or could catch really good. As kids we all would try to imitate our role models to try to be like them in a way. When it came to basketball it was kind of different because you get a little more personality from players in the media. Players like Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant were big influences in my game and the way I carry myself. Neither one of these players played in Chicago or were from there, but they were huge and changed the game with their character. Both guys had long lasting effects on not only the league but the world.

Derrick Rose was the big star in Chicago when he was drafted in 2008. Derrick was a huge influence on me because he was also a kid from Chicago. He grew up in the inner city and knew how It felt to survive the streets of Chicago. Also, he got so big that he got his own shoe with Adidas that everyone I knew loved.

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