In honor of Black History Month, Gopher Athletics is celebrating those who made us great. Throughout February, GopherSports.com will share short interviews with African-American alumni from almost every Gopher program. In these interviews, former student-athletes reflect on their time at the U of M, provide advice to current Gophers and share what Black History Month means to them personally.
Graduation Year: 1983
Hometown: Ocala, Fla.
Occupation: Owner of Just Us "People for a Better World"
What is it you miss most about the University?
The time spent with my teammates. One of the best things in sports is the friendships, you come in as teammates, then you become friends, then brothers for life. Also the great fan base at the U is second to none. I miss the whole atmosphere at University of Minnesota.
If you could give the current student-athletes any piece of advice, what would it be?
Prepare for life after the buzzer. Take advantage of the chance you currently have to make the most of your education and athletic career. Take your academics seriously. Sometimes the best decisions aren't going to be the easiest, you might have to make sacrifices and move out of your comfort zone. Ultimately, where you’re most comfortable as an athlete is not where you'll achieve your biggest success. Remember to continue to work hard once you are there. That is what will keep you on top.
"Fear is the disease. Hard work is the antidote." - Travis Kalanick, Uber founder
The harder you work the luckier you get.
"Talent is God-given, be humble. Fame is man-given, be grateful. Conceit is self-given, be careful." - John Wooden
1. Know what you want! 2. Work on your gift. 3. Education is the great equalizer. 4. No excuses. 5. What is your "Why?" 6. Read from a good book. 7. Make your plan and work it. 8. Learn from the people before you. 9. Never stop be liven in you. 10. Always get up.
Please share your favorite university or athletic event you've attended since you graduated and what made it so special to you?
Over the years I have enjoyed coming back to Williams Arena to watch many of the great players and teams play.
I also enjoyed meeting all the great coaches we had though the years: Jimmy Williams, Clem Haskins and Tubby Smith to name a few. I have been present for some of the University of Minnesota's greatest upsets. I would have to say my favorite event was participating in the AIDS Fund for Magic Johnson, I was able to play with my friend Kirby Puckett and raise awareness for AIDS. I will never forget it.
What are you grateful for?
I thank God every day for my health and loving family. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to attend the University of Minnesota. Coming from Florida, it was a chance to see a whole new world, meet new people from different cultures and backgrounds. I like to say thanks to all of you who have been a part of my journey: C Holmes, K Scott, D Mitchell, R Carter, C Turn, C Sim , R Sabes, T. Davis.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
In celebrating Black History Month I feel we aren't able to seize the opportunity to honor our heroes - often neglected accomplishments of black American in every area of endeavor throughout our history. I think we must make all history and resources available for all people to learn. We can't afford to hide the past, by destroying books, tapes or pictures. If we do, history will continue to repeat itself. As a country and world we must not fall back. We still have a lot of work to do to really live the dream that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. talked about.
What occupies your time now?
Currently working with kids and giving back to community through the Just Us foundation. Just US (People For A Better World), my foundation, allows under privileged youth to participate in basketball camps not only to sharpen their basketball skills, but to learn life lessons that will help them better themselves. The program provides each kid with a safe, enriching learning environment that encourages creativity, fun, and positive self-awareness. My goal is to find a way to help make the world a better place to live in.
Please visit Black History Month Central on Gophersports.com to see all the profiles.
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