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Rockford's Fred VanVleet made NBA history last week, as he became the highest paid undrafted free agent, ever. It's well known throughout the city, that Fred lives by the motto, "bet on yourself." Not knowing Fred, not truly understanding his work ethic and what he has gone through...I had a "light bulb" moment Sunday night as a looked back at his past and where he is today.

How does what an NBA players life relate to me, some radio guy in Rockford? I watched a video clip of his draft party down at District, from four years ago. Things really hit home...check this out:

Passed over sixty times. Waiting and waiting for this life changing moment with everyone rooting you on, and nothing. What did Fred do, took to the microphone and made some incredible statements about believing in himself...18 cities in 30 days, being told it would be NBA minor leagues for 2-3 years, yet Fred stood his ground and "bet on himself." Fred could have easily quit or even made a bad choice. But even though the process and all that he's been working for didn't land in his lap, he pushed forward.

I recently encountered a personal situation, that in many ways mirrored that. Struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel, all I could see was a freight train coming my way. I didn't bet on myself, I felt sorry for myself and ended up hurting someone close to me.

While I haven't signed an $85 million deal, I am rich beyond belief with where I am personally, despite "my" not getting drafted when I wanted to.

So what did I learned listening to Fred VanVleet's draft party speech, and then witnessing his historic contract signing? While the waiting and being passed over was a strike to his character...he did NOT let it derail him and his ultimate goal.

Fred has lit a fire in me personally, and I want to say "thank you" and congrats to #23...You made the 815 proud. From some "radio guy" in Rockford, I am also BETTING ON MYSELF...Thanks, Fred.

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