PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia native Kyle Lowry makes his NBA Finals debut Thursday night when Toronto hosts Golden State in game 1.
"I'm so thrilled for him, it's something he's always wanted," says Villanova basketball coach Jay Wright.
Lowry says Wright taught him more about life than even hoops--on how to become a man and that sticks with him today as he prepares for the big stage.
"If you make mistakes, apologize," Lowry said.
Lowry has come a long way from when he first set foot on Villanova's campus out of Cardinal Dougherty high school 15 years ago. Before his first game in college he was causing so many problems that Villanova Coach Jay Wright thought about kicking him out of school.
"He could be defiant with authority. It's one of the things he had to learn," says Wright.
Lowry says, "We never talked about basketball, we talked about life. I've never shied away from negative criticism."
Lowry and Wright remain tight, they text regularly and Lowry can be found working out at Villanova in the summer at 5:30 a.m.
The hard work has paid off. The five-time all-star is one of the highest paid players in the NBA, making more than $31 million this season.
"If he does not win he will be driven until he does," Wright adds.
Villanova's Jay Wright pulling for Kyle Lowry in NBA Finals