So far my grind in the NBA has been going well. Im learning, listening and trying my best. I have also been traded to the Memphis Grizzles in a multi team trade. Although this may have happened, this is not why I’m here writing today. The grotesque truth about perception is why I’m writing today. Young athletes talk the talk, but do not walk the walk. I’ve met guys who are in high school or college that act a certain way only because no one was ever honest to them.
After reading Kobe Bryant’s article on AAU basketball, it only makes sense to why New York basketball is at an all time decline. It makes sense to why players that go to high major schools who are supposed to be top tier end up looking like they can use a 5th, 6th and 7th year of high school. So today here is the grotesque truth about athletics and life after being on your high chair. My famous phrase “If you are unranked, it ok, because now Im an All American and a National Champion” is true. My work ethic was unmatched when I growing up. The truth about that line is because I was unranked, does not mean the same fate is set for you too. Everyone is different. It is unfair to ask why is someone else playing and your not. It is unfair to blame you not scoring because you didn’t get the ball. It is unfair to say it raining outside and thats why I didn’t go outside and shoot. My dad said “you will get what you ask for, just be ready”. I learned at a very young age that sometimes its just best not to ask for anything and just prepare for an opportunity. Guys that complain about their opportunity gets it and then fail majority of the time. Theres a slim portion of those who do succeed but playing the odds, I’d prefer young athletes to prepare for an opportunity and prepare everyday in practice game ready instead of complaining. The complaining is a direct result of new generation coaching and a softer generation of athletes. Athletes that are bred and not built. Athletes that are babied and lacking the ability to take care of themselves. A bunch of athletes who can’t think for themselves but hang around or be influenced by someone who has never played basketball before or never been around the game and uses the player for benefits and money. Quite sad and rantipole, but who do we blame? The parents for allowing such a thing? The coaches for feeding into the BS? Its a dirty game, but theres no secret that when an athlete can’t produce anymore for the person looking after him, he just leaves him. I encourage the high schoolers and college athletes who are reading this to question every person in their life and their purpose. Ask them “why” when they want you to do something. Ask them “why” when they want you to reclassify or transfer. The grotesque truth about this is that you must be true to yourself. Can you live with understanding you need to workout maybe twice a day. Will you be content with not transferring and earning your minutes on the court. Will you not take the easy way out and blame, complain and transfer. At the end of the day, YOU have to produce. After all the shoes, compliments, money, love, favors and ego, you have to be the one to produce.
I always figured my appetence to the game of basketball had to do with the fact the I just ultimately loved competing. The perception others had on me in NYC when I was younger was that I just simply outplayed people and competed. That perception got me to a high major school. I encourage all young athletes to simply try and outplay their opponent by guarding the best player, by “Attempting” to make all of the winning plays. No coach wants a loser. No matter how high of a ranked player you are, or how low of a ranked player you are, the best players make winning plays or win in general. I didn’t fully understand that until my senior year in high school. I played hard but didn’t make winning plays. When I got to Louisville I fully grasped the concept of winning. My resfeber pounded fast and endless during my glory years as a college athlete. I was successful and I felt my journey beginning. I didn’t need anyone I didn’t know trying to guide me in their direction. I didn’t need to be persuaded to do anything different. I couldn’t be side tracked. This leads to sometime back when I was in Charlotte, I spoke to some players on the Winthrop Basketball team set up by my friend Zach who I won a championship with at Louisville. A player asked me “whats working hard means to you?”. My answer was my workout schedule in the summer, and then I simply said “I will not stop until I’m the best in every statistical category on my team and then in the league I play in. Thats why I work hard”. Thats my goal every time I step in the gym. Will Smith said “There’s no IF, or AINT, or MAYBE, You have to DO it”. You must. The grotesque truth about this is putting in the work. Are you willing to sacrifice. Am I willing to sacrifices and fall down to get back up and succeed. Am I willing to change my eating habits? For the readers; are you willing to change your life? If you cheated drug test and got by, are willing to stop? If you almost been arrested, are you willing to stop getting in trouble by the law? If you are an amazing basketball player with bad grades, are you willing to higher your grades in school? Are you willing to sacrifice. The truth is we must sacrifice, our pride, ego, and what we think is working hard and push ourselves. Are you content with average experiences?
I love the fact that I have been pushed in every aspect of my life. Getting better on and off the court, giving others my time and staying out of trouble have all been test that thus far I have overcame. I’m happy to have graduated and I am happy I could be a mentor to help a kid become successful. These are elements I’ve added to my character and I know I can only get better.