C.C. Sabathia grew up in Oakland during a good era to be a baseball fan. At age 8, 9 and 10, the Athletics played in the World Series, winning the middle season. Sabathia had idols to look up to on the field.
He also found an inspiration off the field: 1989 World Series MVP Dave Stewart.
"I got a chance to meet him when I was about 8 or 9 years old at my Boys & Girls Club," Sabathia says. "He took time out of the day, came out and showed us some drills, signed some autographs. That really kinda stuck in my head, in my memory, and I feel like if I could do that for one kid while I'm playing, I think it's all worth it."
Sabathia spoke to ThePostGame at the Roc Nation Summer Classic Charity Basketball Tournament, a charity event benefiting his PitCCh In Foundation, Robinson Cano's RC22 Foundation, Miguel Cotto's Fundacion El Angel and Nick Jonas' Beyond Type 1. Each of the four athletes/celebrities coached a team, with Cano's squad taking victory at Barclays Center.
The night featured individuals from across the sports and music world, many of whom are represented by Roc Nation.
"People love hoop, man," Sabathia says of the players and guests. "People love to play basketball, so they want to come out and support. And as many athletes [and rappers] we can get to play, I think it makes it a lot of fun."
Being from Oakland, Sabathia is also a Warriors fan (and he wore a Raiders hat to the event). For the second straight year, Sabathia was torn during the NBA Finals, as he adopted the Cavaliers while playing for the Indians. Sabathia and LeBron James established a friendship while the two shared Cleveland.
Sabathia says it was fun to see Northeast Ohio celebrate a title, even at the expense of his Warriors. But things turned around real fast, as Golden State acquired Kevin Durant shortly after the Finals.
"I think it's going to be great," he says of the signing. "It'll help Steph [Curry] out. It's going to help everybody out, and hopefully he can get that ring he's chasing."
Sabathia earned his one and only ring one year after signing his free agent deal to leave Cleveland and join the Yankees.
Sabathia's PitCCh In Foundation works to improve the lives of inner-city youth.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.