By Jared Zwerling

To Corey Brewer, he was “The Mayor.”

His father, Ellis, owned a tobacco farm, and working with him in the field led to his defining moments growing up in the small town of Portland, Tenn. The experience cemented his strong work ethic and connected to his favorite memory with his father.

As a kid, Brewer would drive with Ellis to the tobacco farm as early as six in the morning. There, Brewer would help chop the weeds until the weather got too hot. By the time he was 11 years old, his father started paying him $5 per hour for his efforts. But that wasn’t all.

“He let me drive the tractor,” Brewer, an NBA veteran on the Rockets, told the NBPA recently over lunch in Los Angeles. “And that was the best thing ever.”

Ellis, who was also a trash collector, gave his son a regular route during the week, where he’d pick up everyone’s waste in the neighborhood. All of those early memories doing the outdoor labor had a big impact on Brewer.

“I started working my butt off in basketball,” the 30-year-old said. “He taught me hard work because I didn’t want to go to the field, and I didn’t want to go pick up trash. But I had to go no matter what.”

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