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2016-17 Detroit Pistons Yearbook

Pistons Feature: Andre Drummond and their kids?” Of course, this particular kid is a 23-year-old who’s 6’11” and 280 pounds. The mother of all Pistons fans is also the mother of all Pistons. “She’s the team mom,” says Anthony Tolliver, Andre’s former teammate. “The bond she has with Dre is really special.” Almost as special as the 2015-16 breakout season Drummond had in the Motor City. He got his first All-Star selection, led the league in rebounding and, to the delight of Pistons Nation, just signed a five-year contract that will keep him in Detroit into the next decade. “I tell him he’s too much like me,” says Cameron. “He loves to please everybody.” Throughout Drummond’s maiden season with Detroit, he and his mother shared a house in Rochester Hills. He lacked a driver’s license, so she’d chauffeur him to practice. From Day 1 she’s controlled his finances and dispensed a monthly stipend. “It may sound unusual that I’m still getting an allowance, but there’s a bigger picture to that,” says Drummond. “We figured out a plan so that when I’m done playing, I’ll have saved enough money to last the rest of my life.” Drummond tends to buy on impulse. “I’m spur-of-the-moment and she’s not,” he says. “I’ll see something I want and she’ll say, ‘You don’t need that.’ And I’ll think, ‘You know what? She’s right.’” He clearly adores her; she’s fiercely proud and protective of him. He calls her Mom. She calls him Papa. “She and I are very similar,” he says. “We’re kind-hearted people who put others before ourselves.” When Drummond signed on with UConn, he turned down a free ride. The college had no scholarships to offer and he would have had to take one already awarded to a recruit who had spent much of his youth in a children’s home. “Mom and I decided we couldn’t do that,” Drummond says. Instead, he walked on, took out student loans and lived with non-athletes in a dorm a mile and a half from the arena. In homage to Mom, he had her name tattooed on a finger of his left hand. “She’s the strongest influence on my life and my hands are what got me to where I am today,” Drummond explains. “Without her, who knows where I’d be?” During the 2012 NBA draft, that hand held hers under a table at the Prudential Center in Newark as commissioner David Stern announced the names. Having declared his eligibility after his freshman season of college, Drummond had been projected to go as high as second. Still, Jim Calhoun, his coach at the University of 92 Detroit Pistons 2016–17 Yearbook Connecticut, had termed the prospect a “giant piece of unmolded clay” and there was talk that he didn’t always play hard. When Drummond wasn’t selected in the top three, he reached for Cameron’s hand and squeezed it. “I was nervous that I wouldn’t be chosen,” he recalls. After Drummond didn’t make the top six, he got a phone call from Joe Dumars, then Detroit’s general manager. If Golden State passes on you with the seventh pick, Dumars confided, you’re going to be a Piston. “I got real emotional and told my mom what Joe had said,” Drummond says. “She’s a real strong woman so she didn’t really budge. She wanted to wait until my name was actually called.” Number seven rolled around and the Warriors chose Harrison Barnes. “Eighth pick and the guy with the Raptors hat stands next to me,” Drummond says. “I turn to Mom and say, ‘Looks like we’re going to Toronto.’” When the Raptors chose Terence Ross, Drummond’s heart nearly stopped. “Out of excitement, “ he says. “I told Mom, ‘The next pick is me!” Which it was. Drummond breathed in a great awesome gulp and said, “We did it!” Then he hugged his mother tightly and began to sob. “It’s a tribute to Dre and his mother that their relationship is successful,” says Pistons Director of Team Operations Mike Abdenour. “If more NBA moms were as hawkish as she is, we’d have a lot less problems in the league. She’s done a great job using that two-letter word ‘no.’ It’s been entirely to Dre’s benefit.” Drummond agrees. “I couldn’t have asked for a better mother. She was tough on me when I was growing up. She kept me out of harm’s way and did everything to give me the kind of childhood she hadn’t had herself.” Cameron was born in St. Thomas, a suburban parish at the southeastern end of Jamaica. She was raised by her mother, a nurse who can trace her ancestry to a long line of extraordinary women. Her maternal grandmother was a Maroon, a descendant of enslaved West Africans who escaped from their Spanish-owned plantations in the 17th century after the colony was surrendered to England. In the pantheon of Maroon freedom fighters, none is better loved than Grandy Nanny, the warrior chieftess venerated on Jamaican banknotes. As sketched in oral histories, Nanny wore a necklace strung with the teeth of the Redcoats she outsmarted and had a wide knowledge of healing herbs.


2016-17 Detroit Pistons Yearbook
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