SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Warriors forward Alfonzo McKinnie found himself in an unusual spot Monday night in Portland.
“We got the win and I started, so it’s a great moment for me,” McKinnie said after starting in place of Andre Iguodala in the Game 4 victory and sweep of the Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals. He responded with 12 points and a key offensive rebound in overtime.
It’s just the latest accolade in what has been a dream season for McKinnie.
“Klay [Thompson] said, ‘This man went from Luxembourg, now to the NBA Finals.’ I don’t know nobody else that did that,” McKinnie joked about his long road just to get to the NBA.
The 26-year-old grew up in Chicago. He played two seasons at Eastern Illinois before transferring to Wisconsin-Green Bay. After going undrafted, he landed in Luxmbourg to begin his professional career.
From there it was off to Mexico, where McKinnie remembered having a hard time just finding a place to watch NBA games on TV. He would go into a Buffalo Wild Wings bar and slip the bartender a couple dollars to put a Warriors playoff game on the television.
“When I was in Mexico I used to go to Buffalo Wild Wings and watch all the playoff games,” he told KPIX 5. “It’s crazy.”
He returned home and paid $150 to tryout with the Chicago Bulls G-League team. A successful stint there, led to a contract with the Toronto Raptors last season, and now he’s carved out a role for himself with the NBA’s most successful franchise.
McKinnie earned a roster spot at the end of training camp with the Warriors. He appeared in 72 games during the regular season and is now four wins away from a championship.
“This is the 5th go-around for a lot of them … it’s kind of like the norm for those guys, but for me it’s my first go-around, so I’m celebrating.”