Making it to the NBA is not an easy task, as Elijah Millsap knows all too well.
The 26-year-old shooting guard has been plugging away ever since finishing up his collegiate career at UAB and going undrafted in 2010. Though he's been close many times, he's never quite gotten over the hump which would allow him to suit up for an NBA contest and fulfill his dream.
Instead, Millsap has spent his time bouncing from team to team and league to league. He's played for the Tulsa 66ers and Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA D-League, even making the All-Star roster with the latter squad. Internationally, he's spent time with the Petron Blaze Boosters and San Miguel Beermen in the Philippine Basketball Association, as well as Israel's Maccabi Ashdod and China's Shanghai Sharks.
All the while, though, his sights have been set on the NBA.
As Daniel Hazan, Millsap's agent, told me, he's been training in Atlanta throughout the offseason and is now receiving an opportunity to play for the Philadelphia 76ers during the Las Vegas Summer League, which marks the 2-guard's fourth trip to the NBA's preparatory event. He also drew interest from the Utah Jazz and New York Knicks, among others.
Millsap is the younger brother of Paul Millsap, 29, an All-Star for the Atlanta Hawks, but he's carving out his own path.
"He doesn't really want to be 'Paul's brother,'" Hazan told me. "He wants to be Elijah Millsap and do things on his own. It's that kind of thing where we really wanted to put him on a team where he earns his way in."
Is the fourth time the charm?
When I had a chance to speak with Elijah, it was readily apparent how everything he's done over the last four years has led to this opportunity.
This, he hopes, could be the year that a dream is realized.