By Kelly Werthmann
DENVER (CBS4) – It was a big night for a “Big Shot.” In a packed hall at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, the portrait of a hometown hero was unveiled Tuesday evening — Chauncey Billups, “Mr. Big Shot,” “The King of Park Hill.”
“This is really, really humbling,” Billups told the crowd.
Before he became a five-time NBA All-Star, the Denver-born and raised athlete was shooting hoops in Park Hill. The George Washington High School graduate-turned-University of Colorado Buff-turned-Denver Nugget quickly became a Mile High City standout.
“I just always want to make my family proud,” Billups told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “My grandparents, my parents, and people who helped raise me proud.”
On and off the court, Billups always keeps his hometown in mind. He helped launch the Porter-Billups Leadership Academy, a program that provides academic and leadership training to at-risk, inner city kids in the Denver metro area. He also started the Chauncey Billups Elite Basketball Academy for young athletes in Colorado. Billups is actively involved in his hometown community.
“I am proud of this city. I am proud of who I am. I’m proud of where I came from,” he said.
And Denver is proud of him, too.
“He’s a role model for young people and he’s the kind of son that parents can be very proud of,” former Mayor Wellington Webb said.
A legendary role model who never forgot where he came from.
“Everybody always says what I mean to this city, but I look at it the other way,” Billups said. “What the city means to me; it means everything to me.”
Billups’ portrait hangs alongside those of other prominent African American leaders in Denver, including Webb. It’s an honor, Billups said, he never imagined he’d achieve.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.