Candid, deserving & dapper: McCollum earns NBA’s Most Improved a - KPTV - FOX 12

Candid, deserving & dapper: McCollum earns NBA’s Most Improved award

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C.J. McCollum accepting the NBA's Most Improved Player award. C.J. McCollum accepting the NBA's Most Improved Player award.

His increase of 14 points per game over last season is the most the NBA has seen in the last 27 years, well before 24-year-old C.J. McCollum was born.

On Friday, McCollum received the league's Most Improved Player award.

Now in his third year in the NBA, the 10th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft out of small Lehigh University used the grand stage to let everyone know this is just the beginning.

Dressed in a dapper red blazer, McCollum said the award is the result of hard work.

"In my mind I always thought I was a good player, so when you hear 'most improved,' you think like, he was sorry, he got better. That's kind of how I was looking at it, but now I understand it comes from hard work, it's based on perception and not having played, not having the body of work to show for it," McCollum said.

McCollum joked that team trainers may have qualified him as a chubby rookie when he first arrived in Portland.

"They say I was chubby, I was never chubby, I want to put that on the record," he said.

McCollum made sure not to forget to thank his parents in accepting the award Friday. His mother was in Turkey, watching his brother play in the Turkish Super League Championships.

"Understanding that this world is cruel and tough and you have to be strong and you have to be passionate and you have to be loyal and that is kind of what she preached in us and instilled in us," McCollum said of his mother.

However, McCollum added that his mom still busted his chops after one game this season when he didn't score in double figures.

"She was like, 'well you told me to quit my job and I have been working for 30 years and I quit my job but if you are going to play like that, I might need to go back to work,'" he said with a laugh.

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