Victor Oladipo Calls It His Revenge Tour, the Miami Heat guard regularly fills in posts on his social media about his grueling off-season workout schedule, including recent sessions with Russell Westbrook in Los Angeles.
As He Told About Vince Carter VC Show PodcastThis is working out with the sole goal of getting back to the All-Star level he had reached before a string of knee and quadriceps issues.
“It’s something I came up with, just because I thought the last few years have been really tough for me,” Oladipo said, “and I’ve obviously gone through a lot personally and my team, My family has gone through a lot with me collectively.”
Last year, that meant Oladipo was playing on NBA-minimum pay, spending more than half the schedule on rehab before the start of the late season.
But, from there, there were breakout moments during the Heat’s playoff run within a win of the NBA Finals, and then a Two-year, $18 million free-agency contract to return.
Now, the focus is singular, the heat of his sweat intended toward a reality.
“That I am one of the best players in the world. Period,” said the 30-year-old veteran. “I think my injury has created a kind of misunderstanding of who I am as a player.”
Even with the pay upgrade, free-agency interest was low, leaving Oladipo with more fuel.
“Why can’t I come back from this injury and go through what I went through and have a bigger career than I thought I could have before? Why can’t I?” Oladipo said in an emotional moment during the interview with Carter. “And I see no reason why I can’t.
“So I really believe that I can, and that’s what I’m trying to prove to myself, first and foremost that I’m still capable of great things, it’s never too late.” No matter what anyone says or what they say. The world can think or what people tell you.”
In many ways, Oladipo finds himself in the same place as Westbrook, who at age 33 finds himself among those who doubt his ability to reclaim former All-Star form.
Oladipo and Westbrook were teammates with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016-17.
“Me and Russ go a long way,” Oladipo said. “We played together when he won MVP. So he prepared me for the next year after I left OKC. And I felt like I had prepared myself for his MVP season before he became MVP. And right now, we’re on the same wavelength.
“We won’t let each other fail.”
Amid their rehab assignments for Kelly Olinik and Avery Bradley after the Heat were acquired by the Houston Rockets in the 2021 NBA trading deadline, Oladipo insists that a better version will emerge, even with the Heat in 2020. with limited to four regular-season appearances. -21 and eight this past season.
Now, for the first time since 2018, he has the ability to challenge himself during an off-season.
“I’m itching just thinking about it. It’s so crazy. It’s like a rebirth,” said the No. 2 pick in the 2013 NBA draft. “And being in his 10th year, it seems that I’m in the first year again. But it’s like a year with little experience.
“I’m going to prepare myself for any and everything this summer. So whatever happens next year, it’s not a shock to me.”
All in the form of a freshman as well as his former All-Star self, planning to come to training camp in the last week of September.
“I make sure people know I’m coming for everybody,” he said of his Revenge Tour. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter who it is. I just want to prove that I am Victor Oladipo and I stand for who I am.