The NBA season is right around the corner and I’m still working hard to get another opportunity.
I’ve been through this before; it’s not the first time, so I’m just looking forward to what’s next.
I would love a chance to get back out there and play some ball and keep my journey alive and my legacy going. Right now it’s all about just having a good time with the sport that has gotten me to this point and enjoying it.
I’ve been based in Dallas for the most part these last couple months since my kids started school. I wanted to be around a little bit more for them.
My oldest son is six and playing flag football for his first season, and he has been playing excellent. It’s pretty good to know that I’ve got somebody coming up right behind me.
The best part is that he was the one who showed an interest in sports. I wasn’t trying to push him. My mom never pushed me into sports; I just kind of fell into it and I wanted him to have the same experience. So to see him so happy, out there enjoying his teammates and actually excelling and being with the main guys on the field, it just brings back memories for me and I just want to guide him in the right direction and still let him find his way.
He’s always talking about sports and he loves basketball too. Every time he comes to the house, we’re playing basketball or football. He’s old enough now to understand that I played NBA basketball he even asked me who I played against, so that’s cool. I’ve been waiting to have conversations like that with him.
He’s really curious about where I played, and when I’m leaving town he wants to know where I’m going. He actually has a DVD that he considers his favorite of me playing, in his room. So whenever he wants me to put it on I’ll put it on for him.
It also kind of makes me realize that even though basketball won’t always be there for me to play, I have something to look forward to. That kind of eases that whole being afraid of the unknown after basketball. Just to see him and groom him to be whatever he wants to be is going to be exciting and I’m looking forward to it.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
My foundation has been in full gear this fall and we started a mentoring program back at home in Winston, Salem.
It’s an after-school program and we selected kids throughout the Salem County School District. I was able to visit there in September and give the kids a chance to see me and kind of motivate them.
Our goal, first and foremost, is to keep the kids focused on their school work and let them know that there’s more to life than just sports. We also want to provide them with someplace they can come and have a shoulder to lean on.
A lot of the kids in the program come from single-parent families and it’s kind of rough on them. Sometimes they might not want to tell their parents everything. They need a person that they can look up to and feel comfortable around, so we try to provide that.
There’s also an athletic side to the program and the plan is to encourage fitness and let them know the value of having a healthy diet. I feel like it’s a very well-rounded program.
I’ve been working at this since I’ve been in the NBA, so to see this mentoring program grow the way it has has just been a blessing for me.
I’m so grateful for the opportunity to help the community in my hometown and surrounding areas as well as Dallas, Ft. Worth, my home away from home. I get a lot of help from my family and friends to do these things and it means a lot to all of us to be able to give back.
PUTTING IN HARD WORK
Though I’ve enjoyed time with my family, I’m still in the gym about five days a week at this point and I’ve been able to spend some time training with Tim Martin.
He’s really helping me get ready to make the most of an opportunity if it comes. I do a lot of one-on-one, individual stuff, I get a lot of shots, kind of like a typical workout I would expect any team to put me through if they wanted me to come there.
Right now my goal is to just be consistent and healthy. I’ve been making sure my cardio is up so that if I do get an opportunity, I won’t have to worry about being winded. My knees have been feeling great. I’m able to just go out there and play the way I used to play.
I feel like I really came into my own at the end of my last NBA stint. At the start of my career I was basically a slasher, with the idea of just getting to the basket. I still can do that, but to stay in the game, you have to be a smart player out there and I feel like I learned a lot about how to do that in my last few years.
Now I take pride in not just being a good player, but a good leader out there as well and just getting my guys in the right position to be successful. You always want to give your team the opportunity to win every game without mistakes.
I had a workout with the Sacramento Kings last month and thought I did pretty good out there, just did some weights and worked out with the team and did some individual stuff with coaching staff.
Those visits are fun for me because I enjoy the game of basketball, so I always go in there to show that I’m appreciative of the opportunity a team has given me to showcase my talents.
That takes a lot of weight off my shoulders and lets me know that I’m out there just to have fun and hopefully impress them for them to give me a shot. The Sacramento workout went well and my time in New Orleans in the summer league did too.
Some of these younger teams go out looking for a guy who can be a veteran leader and help set an example for the younger players. I feel like I can do that, as well as go out there and perform and not make mistakes.
Teams aren’t really looking for a guy to score like I used to, which I understand. They want a player that can knock down an open shot if the ball is thrown to them or be a strong defender.
Just being sharp on those things is important. I know at this point each team is going to have guys on it that are the main guys and that’s not my role and I’m not expecting to go out there and do that anymore. I’m just set to go out there and be a solid player and give it all I’ve got for whatever minutes I get out there.
I expect a call but if I don’t get one, I still appreciate them for giving me the opportunity.
If nothing else, I think I’ve formed some great relationships. I understand the other side of basketball and I realize that a basketball career doesn’t last forever. But if I can build strong relationships and translate that over to the business side, I think that will be beneficial for me. I know that I’ll be able to carry what I learned from the NBA into other things that I plan to do in my future. I’ve shown that I can be a leader at that level and I think that speaks volumes of who I am and I look forward to carrying that as an asset over into my career after the game.
Before I go, I just want to say thanks to all my fans. I love ya’ll. Thank you for supporting and following me. No matter where this path takes me next, I plan to keep doing great things on and off the court and i’m glad to have you with me.