Paul Millsap was greeted by a marching band and dozens of children wearing his name on the back of their T-shirts as he entered his introductory press conference at the Montbello Recreation Center.
“It’s exciting to welcome Paul Millsap back to Denver and it is wonderful that he is honoring his early roots of growing up in the great community of Montbello,” said Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore, who has lived in Montbello for 20 years.
Millsap lived in Montebello until he was 12 years old before his family eventually moved to Ruston, Louisiana.
“This community helped mold me into the person I am today,” Millsap said. “The hard times, the good times. The words cannot explain what the city of Denver meant to me and my family when we were here.”
He described having a feeling of unfinished business in Denver from his time as a child.
“To be back after so many years, it’s an amazing feeling. The drive here brought back so many memories,” Millsap said.
The Nuggets signed Millsap on July 2 to a three-year, $90 million deal. Millsap played last year for the Atlanta Hawks, where he was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star Team the past four years.
Holding his press conference in Montbello meant to some people in the neighborhood that their community means a lot to others.
“It means that we haven’t been forgotten,” said Marques Moore, a Montbello resident. “It means a lot. Especially to the community that is still here. It gives the kids here an opportunity to see someone who has made it out and who has came back to up lift us.”
Along with the Montbello community, Millsap’s mother and cousin were in attendance to welcome him back.
“It’s very special because to watch his professional and personal growth and to give him an opportunity to see him achieve at this level is special,” said Rick Simmons, Millsap’s cousin.
“I think it is incredibly awesome. We believe it puts a nice positive spin to our community of Montbello. It is always wonderful when individuals go back to the neighborhoods,” said Chris Martinez, chairperson of Montbello Organizing Committee and a 40-year Montbello resident.