Today, I chatted with the No. 7 power forward in the nation about how he’s holding up during quarantine, what he’s looking to improve, why his game translates well internationally, and some of the frontrunners in his college recruitment.
At The Basketball Embassy, we believe that we are all ambassadors—not only to the game of basketball, but to every label we fall under as individuals.
Every man and woman is an ambassador to the larger group of men and women, because every interaction with one leads to a perception of the group as a whole. Our Young Ambassador program strives to reach disadvantaged youth with life lessons like these in an environment where they’re most receptive: a basketball court.
The process of improving in both sports and life is a journey inward and outward. The drive and focus to work hard regardless of recognition or immediate results; the balance to manage swings of emotion; the confidence to take your next shot after missing your last—these are all internal skills. External skills deal with how we interact with people.
Listening to others and acknowledging them, using words of encouragement, receiving praise and criticism in stride, and showing respect to both teammates and opponents alike—these are vital external skills. And they’re not only vital on a basketball court; the relationships that exist with other players, coaches, and referees are mirrored in interactions with friends, family members, coworkers, and authority figures.
The sad truth is that great opportunities are rare for our disadvantaged youth. Our goal is to establish the best habits for our Young Ambassadors today, with the hope that they can take full advantage of every opportunity that comes their way in the future. The Young Ambassadors program is currently implemented in the San Antonio area with Haven For Hope, SAMMinistries, and SA Youth.
Click here to view a video highlighting a bit of what we do in the community.
Last week, I was privileged to work with The Basketball Embassy to implement a program we planned alongside World Learning and the U.S. Department of State Sports Diplomacy division over the last couple of months. In this program, we hosted 12 basketball coaches from Tunisia for a variety of learning sessions, workshops and tours to introduce them to American basketball culture and provide them with knowledge and resources to bring back to their country.
In addition to cultivating relationships with these wonderful people, I was privileged to meet with Fayçal Gouia, the Tunisian ambassador to the U.S., explore the nation’s capital, and give two presentations of my own on Effectively Evaluating Youth Basketball Players and Building Your Brand Through Social Media.
I can say without fear of contradiction this was the best work trip I’ve ever been on, and that’s saying something. I learned so much about Tunisian culture, their customs, and their glowing personalities. I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to attend the second installment of this program, which takes place in Tunisia, but I absolutely will find my way to visit these fine people in their homeland sooner rather than later.