Rudy Gay has been given his first real opportunity to compete for a championship after signing with the San Antonio Spurs this summer.
The small forward penned a two-year, $17 million deal with the Texas-based franchise and described his decision as a "do-or-die point" in his career.
Gay is currently recovering from a torn Achilles tendon which ended his season with the Sacramento Kings in January.
The 31-year-old has confirmed he will be fit to begin training camp with his new team later this month, but there is a question mark about what role he will fill.
Throughout his career, the veteran has largely been a starter and has always been a good scorer from the wing with a career average of 18.4 points per game.
But with Kawhi Leonard already occupying the small forward position, Gay may have to accept coming off the bench and he says that's a sacrifice he's willing to make.
“Whatever it takes,” he said in an interview with San Antonio Express-News. “If I’m a sixth man, I’m going to be the best sixth man in the league. If I’m a starter, I’m going to try and be one of the best small forwards in the league. That’s just the type of player I am.”
Throughout his rehab, Gay admitted that he used the period for reflection and the stage he was at in his career.
He says he regularly spoke with Kobe Bryant and used those conversations as motivation.
The 11-year man was no longer willing to accept being on losing teams and wanted to return from injury for a purpose and the move to San Antonio has ignited his desire to win.
“I kind of lost that,” said Gay. “This injury really made me train like that. I was mad. I trained mad. I trained like an animal.”
Throughout his career, the New York native has been criticised for being one-dimensional and only being able to score.
In the Spurs uniform, however, he is hoping to do more and prove that there is more to his game.
“Why wouldn’t I have something to prove? I mean, it’s the Spurs and it’s a championship mentality,” he said. “If I don’t do (help the Spurs win), I feel like I didn’t do everything I could.”
With Gregg Popovich as his coach, Gay can become a better player even at his age and it could turn out to be exactly the move he needed at this stage of his career.