I grew up as a basketball buff. Once I was a player, and a person who follows the sport, in all phases: professionally, college, high school, grade school.

And the thing that I remember is that a lot of people tell you, “You couldn’t do it. You couldn’t make it because other people are better than you.” And I constantly fought that.

The city I grew up in, Yonkers, I asked the Town Council to build us a basketball court. We had a vacant spot near the railroad tracks. They said, “We were putting a parking lot there.” “When are you going to do it,” I said. He said, “A couple of months.” A couple of months passed; still no parking lot was built.

Meanwhile, we had a lot of kids from around who liked to play basketball. So, I was 14 at the time. I took up a collection of $32, got the money, and laid out a 25 by 25 foot basketball court on the land, with no permission. I just did it.

And this basketball court was built. I built the backboard, laid the cement. And one of the kid’s friends father was a mason. He put the lines in the cement. And because of this place, many of us went to college free.

So if you want to do something bad enough, you can do it.

Another time, I was playing for a high school team. I was going to take a shot, and a girl from the opposing team threw a bottle at me while I was taking a foul shot.

So I said, “I have to make this shot now. I can’t miss it.”

I made it and waved to her and the place went crazy.

Date Recorded: 
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Date Posted: 
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Type of GEM: 
GEM of the Day: 
Tuesday, February 20, 2024
Issues Addressed: 


This is a fascinating story.

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