Pembroke Pines, Florida
Sitting near the end of the wooden bleacher just off to the side of the court, he turned to me after our game with effort still apparent on his shirt and brow, and implored, “We’ve got to stop lying. We’ve got the tell the truth. It’s the only way that we can truly help people.”
The sincerity and urgency of the words that former NBA All-Star Kenny Anderson shared, swept over me and the rest of the gymnasium.
He was teaching. His words, carrying a lifetime of learning, now danced about like his legendary New York City handle. His life now as dedicated to helping others, as it once was to the game of basketball.
His agreeing to help me and my journey after a brief exchange on Twitter, further proof of that.
The Player, The Legend, The All-Star
Kenny Anderson was born in Queens, New York. Raised by his mother Joan, his first memories of basketball were around the age of six, where he would hangout at local parks and hoist up attempts at the goal in between the games that the older kids were playing.
But basketball loved Kenny and he loved it back. By the time he was in the sixth grade, collegiate recruiters were already scouting the child prodigy.
He would go on to star at Archbishop Molloy High School and when he was done there he was considered the top high school basketball player in the entire country and a New York City Legend. You name the award, he received it. Parade All-American, All-City, Gatorade Player of the Year, New York State Player of the Year, Naismith Player of the Year, USA Today Player of the Year and of course New York State Mr. Basketball. Keep in mind this was well before social media and basketball mixtapes used to create a buzz.
From there he took his talents down south to Georgia Tech, where he played for two years and helped lead his team to the Final Four in 1990.
Kenny then went on to win a bronze medal while playing for the US National Team in the 1990 FIBA World Championship.
Then in 1991, his childhood dream came true when the New Jersey Nets selected him with the second overall pick in the NBA Draft. Kenny would go on to play for nine different teams during his 14 year career in the National Basketball Association. During the 1993-94 season he was named as an NBA All-Star, with averages of 18.8 points, 9.6 assists, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.9 steals.
How I Met Kenny
In the middle of January, Kenny Anderson, most likely half joking, sent out a tweet about giving the NBA Developmental League a try as a player/coach.
I replied, “How about playing me 1-on-1 as a tune up?”
Less than seven minutes later, I was on the phone talking about mevsMJ.com and what this journey is all about with one of the greatest point guards ever!
Kenny was all for playing and doing anything he could to help and with that we set a date to make the game happen!
Me vs. Kenny Anderson
The final score 15-11. I won! I repeat…I WON!
While I do feel like that I am in the best shape of my life right now (down 20 lbs in the last 6 months – cut out sugars, etc.), I know when it comes to basketball, Kenny Anderson is in another galaxy.
Truthfully, I think I surprised Kenny a bit with my shooting ability and on this day, the shots fell for me.
Kenny smiled as he congratulated me after the win, and told me that I’m a great shooter. How cool is that!? The one and only Kenny Anderson…said that I am a great shooter! Truly an amazing feeling.
He also set up the rematch! More on this later.
Kenny, like all those that have helped me on my journey to play Michael Jordan, possesses a very selfless quality that is rather rare in society these days.
I better understood his willingness to help after spending some time with him after our game this past Friday.
His basketball dreams were never fueled by the NBA lifestyle and the access that it lends. It was for his Mom, Joan. He wanted so badly to take care of the woman that had always taken care of him.
Kenny now travels the World speaking and doing anything he can to help encourage and inspire others through the lessons in his own story.
He’s been at the top of the mountain and in the shadows of the valley and because of that he has great perspective on life. No longer is he set on making millions of dollars because when he had millions he realized that money didn’t bring him happiness. Instead he finds true joy in his family, friends and uplifting others.
Not Done Yet
Kenny has one last dream that he’d like to fulfill in the game of basketball, but I’ll let him share that with you when the time is right.
I know that when it happens, it will be a beautiful thing to see and I’ll be right there cheering him on!
Yes, there will be a rematch! This time in Orlando, where I live.
Tentative date is for sometime in August.
Kenny has already warned me that he is determined to be in much better shape this go around.
He’s coming for redemption. He’s coming for the win! I can’t wait!
3-on-3 For A Difference
Last week I lived a dream by playing basketball with former NBA All-Star Kenny Anderson. In the process I gained an amazing friend.
Kenny has already invited me to be on his team next year, as part of his 3-on-3 basketball tournament in Atlanta, which raises money for RAINN – the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and one of “America’s 100 Best Charities” by Worth magazine.
Impact and Change
My prayer has been for God to use mevsMJ.com to impact others. I’m humbled to see Him doing just that.
We all live a book, each with a story filled with its share of glory and heartache. The theme of society has been to at all costs present the facade until our days are no more.
But Kenny was right.
Until we are truthful in our walks, we cannot truly help anyone. Until we are no longer ashamed of our stumbles and falls, but understand that every bit of what we live is a story for the World to glean from – only then will true impact be made.
This isn’t a basketball story. This is, as it always has been…a life story.
Believe in your dreams. Anything Is Possible with Faith & Hard Work!
me vs. Michael Jordan…the journey continues!
I can’t thank Kenny Anderson enough for taking time to make a difference in this journey. His outlook on life has impacted me and will continue to impact others.
I also must thank my brother Bob, who captured all of the great video. You inspire me as well.
And the fine folks over at TNT Elite Hoops, Gerrod and Nick, for helping me get in the best shape of my life for this game! Appreciate it!
If you’re new here, I set out in August 2010 to get a game of 1-on-1 vs. my childhood hero Michael Jordan. This site is about that journey…through every valley, to every mountain top of triumph!
Anything Is Possible with Faith & Hard Work!
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