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Finals MVP Devin Cannady “Runs Own Race,” Earns Call-Up

By Jenny Fischer | April 7, 2021

Running your own race sometimes involved grabbing a shovel to literally dig a way for Devin Cannady.

“In high school actually, there was a State of Emergency in Indiana. No one could be on the road. So my mom and I went to the park,” the Mishawaka, Indiana native said. “We shoveled snow just to create some space to get some shots up.”

Paving his own lane is how Cannady defines his basketball journey up until this point. The undrafted Lakeland Magic guard coined it as “Run Your Own Race” following the 2019 NBA Draft – and less than two years later, the 2021 NBA G League Finals MVP and Champion earned his call-up with the Orlando Magic.

“It was all up in the air after I finished school,” Cannady said. “I tweeted about going undrafted and still getting my opportunity with OKC. And then something just inspired me to put #RunYourOwnRace.”

As a Princeton product, Cannady was one of just three Ivy League alumni to compete in the single-site this season (Jeremy Lin, Harvard; Matt Morgan, Cornell). It marked Cannady’s first year with the Lakeland Magic, a team that, by personnel, had the least amount of NBA experience on their roster for the 2021 season.

Yet Cannady helped Lakeland go from a 4-5 team to a playoff-clinching squad – ending the season scoring in double-figures in seven straight games.

“Maybe we don’t have the household names, some of the draft picks, some of the two-way big names that have played in the G League and have had time in the NBA,” head coach Stan Heath said. “But what we do have is a collection of guys who are very, very good role players. So, we’re playing our role and realizing ‘Hey, I don’t have to be a superstar tonight. I just have to be a good player that fits.’”

Cannady was the superstar in the title game on March 11. His 22 points, six rebounds and four assists led Lakeland to securing its first-ever NBA G League title. Yet he claimed the Finals MVP accolade was a team award.

“It was just my game tonight,” he said. “But being champions, that’s what we came in here to do.”

On Feb. 1, when asked what getting a legit shot at the NBA through the G League this season would mean, Cannady said it was his goal to play at the highest level – and that if the NBA calls, he’ll be ready.

Devin Cannady talks about what it would mean to get a legit shot at the NBA through the 2021 NBA G League Season (Feb. 1, 2021)

And less than a month after winning the title, Cannady earned his shot with the Orlando Magic through a 10-day contract. Though the experience may be new for him this year, his mantra – his means of making the most of it – remains the same.

“All I can say is run your own race. Buy into your story,” Cannady said. “You have to really dig into yourself and have some self awareness. You can have complete confidence exactly where you’re at and being focused. That’s the biggest advice I’ve gotten. And I just ran with it.”

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