LOS ANGELES — Note: The above video is from Jan. 26.
Surrounded by friends and family, DeMar DeRozan watched his #10 USC jersey rise into the rafters of the Galen Center on Thursday night.
"It means a lot to me man," DeRozan said to start a short but emotional speech. "I can't even say words how much this means to me, for my daughters to be able to witness this."
The Compton native acknowledged his mom, his best friends, his high school coach and the current students at that school who he hopes to encourage.
"I'm just trying to be an inspiration for these kids and everybody coming out of this community to keep moving forward and keep pushing," DeRozan said.
Fellow Spur and former Trojan Chimezie Metu attended as well.
This comes just weeks after the tragic death of DeRozan's mentor and idol Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gigi, and seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas. It was only two years ago that Bryant and his family watched his #8 and #24 get retired at the Staples Center just a few miles away.
DeRozan didn't mention Bryant on Thursday, but he reflected on the fragility of life and the importance of moments like these.
"Keep enjoying life, it's a short life and we go through so much and we take so much for granted," DeRozan said. "These are the moments that we all should be able to enjoy and express and feel the love, and be with the ones you love and care about."