We heard you quit your job to follow your dream job. Many people are sitting at a job right now contemplating making the same move. What advice do you have for someone struggling to make that decision?
I get asked this question often when I do public speaking. I am always frank and honest in my response, “Our dream job and life will not fall from the sky. We will not become incredibly fulfilled and happy by just thinking about it.”
It requires effort, lots of effort, along with sacrifice, courage and faith.
I didn’t quit law then find myself training Carmelo Anthony the next day. This process and my evolution took decades. But if we find something we love and matters to us, we will invest the time and effort, just because. And, hopefully, one day this will transport us somewhere special. The Heavens give us one time around the track so we better run as fast, hard and purposefully as we can.
Every Thanksgiving I give thanks for what I have and for what I don’t have, as it has all made me who I am today.
I struggled a lot when I was younger and I still do today, but in different ways. As I wrote in one of my chapters in my book The Hoops Whisperer, “Every Level of Success Creates Another Level of Hard.”
I am comforted by the fact I do and pursue what I love, and have faith things will turn out OK. Everything happens for a reason, much of it I didn’t understand until years later. My struggles and journey gave me a perspective, experience, context, compassion, thoughtfulness and a way of thinking that helps me in many aspects of my life today.
Can you explain your attraction to basketball?
I don’t know if I could ever eloquently describe how much the game means to me. The game never required more than a ball, a rim and a court, or for my parents to spend money they didn’t have. All I had to do was dribble my ball to the park and spend time getting better at something I loved. I consider myself reserved, creative, disciplined, committed and passionate. Basketball let me be all these things.
How did the partnership with the NBA come about?
I wouldn’t necessarily call it a partnership with the NBA as a whole. I work independently with the NBA players and WNBA players who retain me to train them.
My work and relationships with the athletes grew organically and over time.
Generally word of mouth lead me the athletes to me.
In fact, the first NBA player I ever worked with, Steve Francis, came upon suggestion of his childhood friends.
Do you see a correlation between getting your clients ready on the court and preparing them for life off the court?
Discipline, focus, self-reliance, commitment, persistence, passion and humility are universal lessons I apply in my life. I hope I lead by example in an effort to encourage the athletes to apply these lessons in all avenues of their life.
Was there a moment when you made the transition from corporate America that you felt like giving up?
I never contemplated giving up on myself. I always had faith things would work out. I just didn’t know when, where or how. I knew relying on faith and intuition would eventually transport me somewhere special and help me find my purpose. This message is the underlying theme of my book, The Hoops Whisperer, available in bookstores nationwide, online and as an e-book.
How did you push through those times?
To follow up on my last reply, faith pushed me through those struggles.
What does a typical day look like for you?
This depends on the time of year. I make each day different because of my involvement in different projects, ventures, businesses etc.
You have a very impressive roster of clients that include Stephen Curry, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James just to name a few. How have you learned to work with these larger than life athletes?
I prefer to not refer to them as clients. I have known many of them for years. They have trusted me with something that runs second in their life behind God, family and health, and that is their game. I treat this and my relationships with them with reverence. Whether I spent one day with them or many years, I consider them all like family. I rely on my intuition, creativity, emotional intelligence, insight, talent and perspective to do whatever I can to help each become the best player they can.
Any funny or interesting athlete stories, you’d care to share?
In my book, The Hoops Whisperer, released by Penguin Books this past year, I share many of these amazing stories. The book has been well received thus far, having been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Post, The Boston Globe, Men’s Fitness, Maxim, SI, etc.
On a macro level the book highlights the importance of relying on faith and intuition when searching for our purpose. On a micro level, it documents my journey and how my life has intersected with many of these NBA and WNBA stars whom I have had the chance to train. I devote several chapters to these athletes in an effort to demystify and humanize them.
How would you define success?
Being able to overlap personal and professional life.
If you weren’t doing this, what else would you be doing?
I have some serious ADD so I juggle a lot of different plates J. I train athletes, write books, am a serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker, product spokesperson for companies like Dove Men+Care, etc.
I am excited about my partnership with Dove Men + Care. Dove Men + Care created a product line that dismisses common male stereotypes. This message really resonated with me and runs parallel with the messages in my book: even the greatest athletes in the world are like us in that they laugh, cry, struggle, feel frustration, disappointment and pressure, etc.
NBA season is just getting underway. Anything exciting on the horizon?
I am excited to see how my guys play this season. Each deserves the credit for turning themselves into one of the best in the world. I look forward to seeing who is up for the challenge to go from great to the greatest.