Derrick White doesn’t have the most glamorous name on the Celtics’ roster.
He doesn’t have the stardom of Jaylen Brown, the All-NBA appearances of Jayson Tatum or even the legacy of veteran role players such as Blake Griffin and Al Horford.
But after Saturday night, when White tipped in a rebound with 0.1 seconds remaining to give the Celtics a 104-103 victory in Game 6 against the Heat, he ensured that his name will be remembered alongside Boston icons John Havlicek and Larry Bird.
White will also be remembered alongside the other player in NBA history whose buzzer-beater occurred with his team trailing and on the brink of elimination: Michael Jordan, per The Athletic.
The unheralded star of the 2023 NBA playoffs didn’t exactly have a linear rise to this point.
His NBA All-Defensive Second Team honor means he made an impact recognizable by others.
But the three Division II seasons in college were far from a traditional trajectory into NBA lore.
In the aftermath of Saturday’s victory, the 28-year-old White spoke about returning home to play with his son, Hendrix, who was born in May 2022, according to MassLive.com.
He proposed to his now-wife, Hannah, in September 2020, per WOAI-TV in San Antonio.
“I’m sure [Hendrix] won’t look at me any differently,” White told reporters, “so that’ll be cool.”
White started his collegiate career by playing three seasons at the University of Colorado — Colorado Springs, a Division II school where he emerged as the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference freshman of the year after averaging 16.9 points per game.
Following three years, he transferred to Colorado and sat out the 2015-16 season, and White didn’t log his first minutes for the program until the following campaign.
That’s when he launched his future NBA career.
He was the Buffaloes’ leading scorer (18.1 points, 4.4 assists per game) as they earned a berth in the NIT — where they lost in the first round to UCF. That year, White was the first Colorado player since former NBA point guard Chauncey Billups to have four 30-point games in a single season, according to the Buffaloes’ athletic department.
The Spurs selected him in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft at No. 29 overall.
After contributing off the bench his rookie season, White became a key piece in San Antonio’s starting lineup until February 2022, when he was traded to the Celtics.
At that point, White was seen as a budding star.
Boston sent Romeo Langford, Josh Richardson, and a 2022 first-round pick in exchange for the 6-foot-4 White.
That trade started the next chapter of White’s emergence.
White only started four games throughout the rest of the regular season after arriving in February, 2022, but he still became a key piece off Boston’s bench, playing at least 30 minutes in three of the NBA Finals games against the Warriors.
His role carried over and kept evolving into the 2022-23 regular season, when he started 70 games.
There was also a personal connection to playing for the Celtics, as White revealed on a team podcast last year that his father, Richard White, lived in Boston for the first eight or nine years of his life.