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Willie Reed Discusses His Persona And Explains Origins Of #CallWillieUp

Willie Reed has the Grand Rapids Drive rolling at the NBA D-League Showcase. The forward spoke with to explain the origins of his ever so popular hashtag.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Both JaMychal Green and James Michael McAdoo received NBA call-ups following strong overall showings at the NBA D-League Showcase this past weekend.

While the pair may be considered to be part of the upper echelon of big men putting their talents on display in the minor league, the fact of the matter remains that Willie Reed led the Grand Rapids Drive to victories against each of the aforementioned forward's respective teams.

As a result, the Detroit Pistons' affiliate will be facing the Bakersfield Jam in the Showcase Cup on Monday.

But where does that leave Reed as an individual commodity? Though he is still waiting for his next call up (the young gun has earned gigs with the Nets and Kings in previous seasons), he's not one to waver in confidence.

"I'm just as high on the call-up list. I'm on that level. I feel good. I'm glad that I've gotten a chance to match up with two of the top bigs in both of our games," Reed told this weekend. 'First I went up against JaMychal [Green], and then James Michael [McAdoo]. Now I'm ready to face Earl Barron. It's making me play better defense, so I love the challenge."

One opposing coach agreed with such a notion, asserting that he believed Reed was better that McAdoo, effectively identifying him as the cream of the crop.

As he walks around the gym greeting the various NBA executives who have come to watch him play. Reed has been donning an unique shirt, which conveniently boasts his ever so catchy and popular hashtag, #CallWillieUp.

The big man explained its origins, saying, "Actually, my mom came up with it. She was saying 'Call Up Willie.' And I thought, well, #CallWillieUp kind of flows better. My family started getting the shirts made up and stuff. Then the fans joined in on social media with the hashtag. They wanted shirts as well. It kind of blew up from there."

And blown up, it has. Reed is one of the most popular (and not to mention, subsequently active) D-Leaguers on social media. It's not every day individual minor leaguers build up national fan bases, but there's no doubt Reed's steady play, exuberant personality, and social media activity have made him someone people want to see at the next level. He makes himself easy to root for, and thus, feels the love from all angles.

"It's huge," he said of his growing popularity and the continued interest fans have in his journey. "I have a great support system. The fans support me. My family supports me. It makes going out there a lot easier. You can't help it, because you end up becoming so thankful."