Canadian NBA star Tristan Thompson proves to be a champion off the court as well

Click to play video: 'Basketball star Tristan Thompson proves to be a champion off the court as well' Basketball star Tristan Thompson proves to be a champion off the court as well
WATCH ABOVE: Canadian basketball star Tristan Thompson proves to be a champion off the court as well – Oct 27, 2016

When the Cleveland Cavaliers raised their NBA championship banner earlier this week, Tristan Thompson wasn’t just thanking his teammates and fans but his family as well.

The Canadian basketball star has strong roots in Toronto and often credits his mother for helping him make it to where he is today.

“Me and my mom talk every day,” the 25-year-old said. “She always has a positive attitude. Sometimes when you’re down and things are tough, family (is) giving you that encouragement.”

READ MORE: LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers win NBA Championship

On the surface, things aren’t exactly tough for the Cavs power forward, who signed a five-year contract before last season began.

Thompson was also vaulted into celebrity status beyond the sports world, for better or worse, while dating Khloe Kardashian over the summer.

Story continues below advertisement

The one person closest to his heart though is his youngest brother, Amari, who lives with epilepsy and has multiple seizures almost every day.

Thompson has a tattoo with the words “My Brother’s Keeper” on his chest as a constant reminder and a dedication to what he now considers his life’s work off the basketball court.

READ MORE: Canadians Cory Joseph, Tristan Thompson square off on Drake Night at ACC

“Why not pull up my socks and keep fighting?” Thompson said. “Just seeing the families and hearing the stories. Similar stories that my family went through.”

The Amari Thompson Fund was established a few years ago to offer money and support for those being helped by the not-for-profit organization Epilepsy Toronto.

His mother, Andrea, cares for his brother full time at home in Brampton and is proud of her eldest’s ability to stay grounded while living an otherwise glitzy NBA lifestyle.

“He sees what I go through,” Thompson said. “He sees that this means so much to me and I always teach my kids that it’s always better to give than receive.”

READ MORE: Canadian Thompson comes to terms on $82M contract with Cavaliers

Thompson was presented with the key to the city of Brampton in August while visiting the outdoor basketball courts where he used to play.

Story continues below advertisement

Dozens of young fans were on hand to see one of their basketball heroes but he left them with a message bigger than the sport.

Learn to be a champion, no matter what you do.

“I think that it’s only right that I set a good example,” he said. “Not just on the court but off the court, and be a leader in the community.”

Sponsored content