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Cade Cunningham’s Daughter Drives Him to Be Great
AP Photo/Mitch Alcala, File (left), Screenshot from YouTube (right)

Cade Cunningham is all but set to become the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft after a prolific college basketball career at Oklahoma State. The point guard figures to play a vital role on whatever team he ends up on (hello, Detroit Pistons) this upcoming season, and he’ll have a bit of extra motivation pushing him on as he pursues his NBA dreams.

Cunningham pushes himself to be great for his daughter, who was born in 2018. She is by far the most essential part of the 19-year-old’s life as he’s set to become a top NBA draft pick and household name.

Cade Cunningham Daughter

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Cunningham cherishes his 2-year-old daughter Riley dearly.

He posts photos of her on social media, though he’s never revealed who Riley’s mother is. Riley reportedly lives in Texas, near where Cade grew up in Arlington.

She stays with her mother as well as Cunningham’s family, which includes his parents Carrie and Keith Cunningham?who briefly played college football at Texas Tech?, sister Kaylyn and older brother Cannen, who played college ball at SMU before becoming an assistant coach at OSU and was the assistant head coach of the program in 2019.

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Before Cunningham’s run in March Madness with the Oklahoma State Cowboys in 2020-21, the Big 12 Player of the Year discussed the importance of his daughter in a conference call with the Associated Press:

?She?s everything. I don?t know, she?s like a bundle of happiness in a 2-year-old body. It?s not enough words, really, that?s my daughter. She?s everything right now, she?s my motivation and all that.?

Riley was born while Cunningham was still of a young age in high school. He attended Bowie High School in Arlington until he was 16 before transferring to Montverde Academy in Florida.

College Basketball Career & NBA Draft

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Cunningham rejected offers from the likes of Duke, Kentucky and North Carolina to head to OSU. He had a sensational season in Stillwater, averaging 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. He was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year and Big 12 Player of the Year, joining Marcus Smart, Michael Beasley and Kevin Durant as the only basketball players in Big 12 history to achieve both feats.

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He was a First-Team All-American and represented the USA National Team at the U-19 World Cup in Greece, where he won a gold medal.

Despite an early exit in the NCAA Tournament from Mike Boynton’s squad, Cunningham’s impressive freshman season solidified him as a superstar and has him projected to be the first overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Whether Riley will be with him when he hears his name called on draft night remains to be seen, but Cade Cunningham deserves everything he has worked for.

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Karl Rasmussen is a sports writer living in Brooklyn, NY. He studied journalism at the University of Oregon and is an avid fan of the Oregon Ducks, Portland Trail Blazers, New York Yankees and New York Jets.
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