By Nia Turner Moreno
Where are you currently living at?
San Bernardino County, CA
Growing up did you ever think that you would play for the NBA?
Yes, that was my main goal in life. As a kid I used to dream of playing for the Chicago Bulls. I used to dream I was Michael Jordan when I was younger. And my dream came true because I actually was able to play with him when I joined the Chicago Bulls.
How old where you when you started playing basketball?
When I first picked up a ball and started playing I was 4 years old. I was going to Oregon State for 2 years, and I got drafted at 20 years old.
What did you like most about playing for the NBA and what did you like least?
There was really nothing that I liked least about playing for the NBA. Dreams come true so for me being in the NBA was an accomplishment
Do you still play basketball in your free time?
No, I don’t play, but I’m a basketball trainer for the Inland Empire. I train kids at Etiwanda High School and Fontana High School and middle schools in San Bernardino County. I’m also a mentor for nine Elementary Schools.
What have you been doing since you retired?
I’m a role model in our community and I have personal relationships with young boys and girls. There’s a lot of kids out there that need a good mentor. I’m a mentor for a lot in the San Bernardino community, especially the youth that are going off to college. I do my best to be there for them. Growing up in the environment I lived in, I didn’t have any good role models or guides to help me, so I pretty much just had to find my own way. I want these kids to have some kind of help; someone to set a good example for them.
Do you have any other hobbies beside basketball?
I fish when I have free time and I love spending time with my family and being a father to my five kids, 4 girls 1 boy. I’m busy most of the time, so it’s nice to spend time with them. Family is a very important part in my life.
Is “Basketball Legende” still an ongoing program for the youth?
That’s the name of my program for the kids in the community. Legende is Legends in French. I played overseas in France and I like to incorporate my professional basketball background into the things I do now. A part of the things I do in the program is basketball training and I talk to the kids about keeping up good grades, as well because that’s a big part of playing basketball.
What would you say to the youth or anyone that is striving to reach their goals?
I tell all the kids that “dreams do come true it all starts with yourself”. Work hard, the harder you believe in your goal, whatever your goal is it can come true. What I tell my kids is if you want to be a doctor, find the best doctor there is and apply that to yourself. If you want to be a basketball player find the best basketball player there is and apply that to yourself. Whatever it is that person did to make it where they’re at, apply it to the qualities that you already have. You have to put your goals first. Life is like a merry go round you’re up, you’re down; you’re not always going to be happy but you just have to believe in your goals if that’s what you want. There are other programs out there to help young kids, but if I can also help them that’s what I’m going to do. Kids are our future so I do my best to help out.
Is there anything else that I might have left out that you would like for people to know about you?
I’m a mentor. I’m a trainer. I’m a life coach. I speak for D.A.R.E programs, high schools, middle schools and elementary schools. I consider myself a disciple; I’m one of God’ called people.