Raja Bell Graduating from FIU

NBA star going back to Miami school to get degree

Monday, Aug 13, 2012  |  Updated 7:15 PM EDT
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NBA star Raja Bell doesn't quit on the basketball court, and it turns out he doesn't quit in the classroom either. Thirteen years after ending his college career at Florida International University to join the NBA, Bell headed back to FIU to get his degree. He told NBC 6 that if felt great. His mother and father, Denise and Roger Bell, said they were proud.

NBA star Raja Bell doesn't quit on the basketball court, and it turns out he doesn't quit in the classroom either. Thirteen years after ending his college career at Florida International University to join the NBA, Bell headed back to FIU to get his degree. He told NBC 6 that if felt great. His mother and father, Denise and Roger Bell, said they were proud.

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NBA star Raja Bell doesn't quit on the basketball court, and it turns out he doesn't quit in the classroom either.

Thirteen years after ending his college career at Florida International University to join the NBA, Bell headed back to FIU to get his degree.

"Oh, it feels great," he said. "It was a promise that I made to a lot of people and something that I felt like I needed to get back to, and so to finally complete it, it's special for me and my family."

The Utah Jazz guard took part in commencement ceremonies Monday at FIU and received his bachelor's degree in recreation and sport management, according to the school.

He told NBC 6 the moment ranked as high as the birth of his kids, his marriage and his very first game in the NBA.

"It is my oldest son's first year of kindergarten, so it meant something special for me there too, so big day in my life," he said.

It's a long time coming for Bell, who started his career at FIU in 1995 and went undrafted out of college but joined the Philadelphia 76ers in 2001.

FIU Will Have Highest Tuition Among State Schools

Along the way Bell has played for the Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, Charlotte Bobcats and Golden State Warriors, with two stints with the Jazz.

He was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team in 2007 and NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 2008.

Isiah Thomas 'Deeply Disappointed' Over FIU Firing

But Bell had promised his parents, who are both educators, that he would finish his degree regardless of his NBA career.

"He's coming to the end of his career and he decided that he was going to do it, so we're extremely proud," his mother, Denise Bell, said.

The commencement takes place at U.S. Century Bank Arena at FIU’s Modesto Maidique Campus.

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