The opening shot, in black and white, is of an empty outdoor basketball court, lined with palm trees, wet with rain. The camera moves toward the high school, then into the gym at La Mirada High School, and Derrick Williams is there. Cue the color, Williams' red T-shirt popping.

Then his voice-over: "I didn't grow up in a broken home or a bad part of town. I don't have a rap demo. I grew up in a nice neighborhood, with food on the table. And three years ago I was a nobody."

It's a commercial, of course, for Under Armour. There will be more. That's what happens when a fellow is the second pick in the NBA draft, by the Timberwolves out of the University of Arizona. Commercials, endorsements, fame, fortune. You pick the order. But note: Those were Williams' words. He wrote them. It was part of the deal.

Williams, 21, wanted people to hear his story, even if it is a little different. He grew up in La Mirada, Calif., about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles, without worrying about his next meal or fearing for his safety.

"Usually the story is about a guy who isn't from a good part of town, who didn't have this or that, but you still made it," he said. "I had all that stuff. Still, I wanted to be good at something."