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‘Run your race’: Magic guard shares life story as part of local youth mentorship program

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Orlando Magic guard Devin Cannady spoke to a group of local kids this week as part of an eight-week summer mentorship program.

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It’s the second year that the Magic have partnered with PepsiCo’s “Pepsi Stronger Together” campaign and the “Close the Gap” foundation aimed at “providing valuable lessons in leadership and life.”

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Cannady attended Monday’s session of the summer program for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida where he participated in a Q&A, sharing his inspirational life story of perseverance.

“We had a great program today where the kids were vulnerable and asking questions,” Cannady explained. “I was able to tell my story, share how unique my story was, but how it relates to exactly what everyone goes through.”

Cannady talked the kids through the lows he felt when he was left off of a junior all-star team. Instead of giving up, Cannady says he not only made the team the next year, but became its Most Valuable Player.

The Indiana native went on to talk about how he dreamed of playing basketball for Notre Dame, but failed to get recruited at any major universities. Instead, he went to prestigious Princeton University where he says he developed as a person and as a player over a four-year career.

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Finally, after not hearing his name called on draft night in 2019, Cannady detailed how he fought through the NBA’s G-League for three seasons then suffered a gruesome ankle injury shortly into his stint with the Magic.

Less than a year later, Cannady would be back on the Magic’s Roster on a 10-day contract that was stretched into a two year deal during the 2022 offseason.

“Going through these things has molded me and helped me grow along the way,” Cannady said. “I don’t think I’d be the person I am today without the setbacks, without the obstacles.”

Ultimately, Cannady says it’s all about running your own race, something he says has been a life motto for him.

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“I found strength in that phrase, knowing that everyone’s journey is different,” Cannady said. “I’m not the guy who got drafted 30th, let alone one. A lot of my mentors in the past have talked about not letting the outside noise cloud your judgment, whether that’s making financial decisions, whether that’s in your own career or life. So, that’s what ‘run your own race’ came from. … It’s been the foundation of my belief system ever since.”

To learn more about the Close the Gap Foundation, click here.

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