The rookie grew up in a trailer in Tennessee and now is living the NBA dream. Through it all, he's made the journey with a smile.
The plywood backboard is weathered and warped, the concrete court cracked and crumbling on the edge of what new Timberwolf Corey Brewer calls his "little country town" in the rolling hills north of Nashville.
Of course, this little patch of earth -- beside the ramshackle trailer where he was raised and the pen where his pet goat still bleats -- that cultivated a tiny tobacco worker and transformed him into a sinewy two-time NCAA champion and NBA lottery pick wasn't always this way.
"You should have seen Corey's face the day they came and poured it," his mother, Glenda, said, gesturing to a buckled 12-foot-by-12-foot section of cement.
Then as now, there was an incisor-revealing smile that has defined his life from those days when he toddled behind his father into the farm fields before the sun rose until today, when those who know him best suggest he sign his next endorsement deal with Colgate.
When he was young, his middle-school teacher telephoned his mother at work one day and asked her to fetch her son because he clearly wasn't feeling well.
Glenda Brewer asked what was wrong.
He's not smiling.
"All his life, if I go through his pictures, every one I've seen has got that smile," his mother said. "He was a happy child. There was a reason he smiled. I'm going to tell you why he smiled. See, I've found, we have love. We love each other. You've got to love each other."
The original basket on the Brewers' backyard court in the dirt was adjustable, and Corey and his older half-brother raised and lowered it and shot so much that it broke.
"Then we got another basket," Corey Brewer said, "and we broke that one, too."
So his father made his own by tacking plywood and a hoop to a metal pole.
"That one's been up there since I was 12," he said. "That was some good wood."
'I know how to work'
His dad's name is Ellis. But everyone in Portland -- an agricultural hub of Sumner County and a growing bedroom community of 11,000 people about 35 miles north of Nashville -- calls him Pee Wee.
Pee Wee hauled garbage, worked in a ladder-manufacturing factory and a slaughterhouse and farmed corn, soybeans and tobacco, whatever it took to earn a living.
Every morning since he can remember, Corey Brewer followed his dad into the nearby tobacco fields on his grandmother's 70-acre farm while his mother worked in the factories. They shared long drives through the countryside to sell pigs in Dixon, Tenn., and tobacco in Springfield.
|Coll of Charleston||53|
|William & Mary||57|
|(17) Florida State||110|
|(9) Oregon State||68||FINAL|
|(13) Arizona State||57|
|(12) North Carolina||67|