Chris Boucher’s story has played out like a feel-good sports movie, the kind where everyone cheers for the underdog.
Riding an overnight bus as a homeless teenager. Dropping out of high school and working as a cook in a Montreal chicken restaurant. Tearing his ACL in his senior college season at Oregon and going undrafted.
Three years later, the 27-year-old re-signed with the Toronto Raptors for a two-year deal reportedly worth $13.5 US — the richest contract in NBA history for a Canadian who went undrafted.
A reporter pointed out that now he can buy a restaurant.
“It was really hard before, so it’s a lot easier now,” Boucher said.
The Raptors on Wednesday formally announced the re-signing of Boucher and signing of Aron Baynes, who hopefully will fill the centre spots left vacant by Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol.
The 27-year-old Boucher averaged 6.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.0 block last season, injecting energy off the bench.
His hefty contract is the latest chapter in his can’t-make-this-stuff up story that saw him rise through Raptors 905, earning both MVP and defensive player of the year in the G League.
Boucher stated the new deal won’t change him as a person.
“I think through the years I’ve realized who I was and the people I need to be around, and COVID-19 also kind of structured me a little better on what I need, what’s important,” he said. “I think money won’t change that. It’s definitely going to help me with my family. I don’t want my mom to work no more.
That’s definitely one thing I’m going to take care of. And… I think just to try to keep the love of basketball, try to get better, not get too comfortable and learn from my mistakes.”