SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Lanphier High School graduate and Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala is making history with this trip to the NBA Finals.
This will be his 7th trip to the Finals in eight years. He is the only other active player to achieve that milestone besides LeBron James.
Linda Shanklin has watched her son, Iguodala, on the basketball court for decades. In all that time it isn’t his athleticism or his jumper that she likes watching the most.
“I actually get excited here lately with him not playing,” Shanklin said. “I’m like, you know what my husband like he’s coaching and look at him.”
Because of an injury, Iguodala hasn’t played since the first round of this year’s playoffs. Instead, he has stepped into a player coach role, helping his teammates that are now in the spotlight.
“It started back at Lanphier when he was doing all of this,” Shanklin said.
The Lanphier Lions legend lead his team to the state finals in 2002. Current coach Blake Turner points to the portrait of Iguodala on the wall of his gym as an example and a role model for his players.
“At some point, that’s like, man, you know, that could be me,” Turner said. “And I think that the way that he carries himself makes you proud to want to be him.”
Iguodala will occasionally hook the lions up with some new shoes or other gear.
But his support goes much further.
“There are definitely kids that have talked to him reached out to him,” Turner said. “You know, there’s some group chats that he’s a part of with some of the kids.”
Throughout the years, iguodala has talked with many of turner’s players, helping them through tough times and helping them find their way.
“He’s one of those guys that hasn’t forgotten where he’s come from,” Turner said. “If you ask him about Lanphier, you know, he’ll tell us a Lanphier Lion through and through.”
Whether its the greatest players in the world, or some high school kids with a dream, Iguodala is constantly having those conversations and helping them figure out the game.
“I’m most proud of that, just the man that my he’s still my baby who my baby has become,” Shanklin said.