Ex-NBA All-Star Kenny Anderson: I use basketball as means to teach life lessons


kenny_andersonIn early December, former NBA All-Star and member of the Professional Basketball Alumni Association’s (PBAA) inaugural game team, Kenny Anderson, met with the PBAA’s Manager of Communications and fellow Georgia Tech Alum, Maya Monroe to briefly discuss his experiences in life after basketball and participation in the PBAA.

Anderson was named to the 1994 NBA All-Star team, along with his teammate from the New Jersey Nets, Derrick Coleman.

In September 2008, Anderson was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame along with NBA stars Sam Perkins and Rod Strickland, coach Pete Gillen and pioneers Lou Bender and Eddie Younger.

Anderson graduated in 2010 from St. Thomas University in Miami, with a degree in organizational leadership, after having completed online courses.

Anderson spent 14 years in the NBA, appearing in 858 games (693 started), averaging 12.6 ppg, 6.1 apg in 30.1 minutes of playing time.

INTERVIEW

You are now coaching a high school basketball team. What are some of the challenges that you have faced?

Posnack Jewish Day School is a very small division 1-A school here in Florida. They are not armed with the greatest skill sets so many times I have been charged with teaching the basics. It’s been a great experience on the court and personally, I use basketball as a means to teach the life lessons that we all come from different backgrounds but can find the common place. It’s not about wins and losses on the court; it’s  about winning in life.

“Alumni Never Retire”…What does that mean to you?

The PBAA is unique organization in that it stresses TEAM. Even though we come from our respective organizations. We are a band of brothers helping each other. NBA greats, looking to now do bigger and better things with the rest of our lives.The PBAA does its best to help players achieve future goals that they’ve set out for themselves.

After leaving the NBA, you played overseas and the inaugural PBAA game in Macau. How can the overseas market be an advantage for former players?

Playing internationally was a great opportunity for me, one that I hope to aid other players in taking advantage of through my work with the PBAA and the American Basketball League (ABL). Many people do not know that I am the Player Development Representative for the league which consists of six teams in Florida and six in Texas and is run under the FIBA rules system. We target players who are still young enough to play professionally, but were not drafted or signed to a team.

The ABL is different from the D-League in that we offer players an opportunity to leave our league and sign internationally without paying a buyout fee; which most international clubs are hesitant to do. Additionally, I am continuing my work  with the PBAA Alumni Tours. Playing in Macau was a great experience for me. I was able to explore traditional avenues that I never knew existed in the Asia market.

You completed your degree in 2010; was it difficult to so many years after leaving?

I procrastinated back and forth for about two years before my adviser encouraged me to get serious about completing my degree.  When I left Georgia Tech I already have 40 credits on my transcript and from my playing experience was able to pick up additional life credits. When I completed my final credits through the courses at Saint Thomas University in Miami, the day they called my name and I walked across that stage was a surreal experience for me.

It was an even greater feeling then the day David Stern called my name and I put on that Nets cap.  Let me explain, basketball is easy to me, my natural ability coupled with my work ethic made it something I was always successful at. The reward for accomplishing something that was so challenging, brought me a much greater feeling of accomplishment. I only wish that my mother was still alive to see it.

Being that you played for both the Charlotte Hornets and the New Orleans Hornets how do you think NBA fans and Louisiana residents will adapt to the proposed “New Orleans Pelicans” name change?

You know, it may work. I think it’s important for the team to develop a fan friendly character with a unique logo that will be easily translated to merchandise and other promotion materials. As long the fans are supportive, the team will be successful.

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