Life Lessons from Latrell Sprewell?

david robinsonLike most of us, I hate most commercials–the fake food, the corny jokes, the just-downright-baffling (that Super Bowl “puppy,-monkey- baby” still waddles through my nightmares at least once a week).

So when I see a great commercial, I will give it props. Like the latest, though slightly painful, ad, “When life lessons are on the line…”, which has pretty much everything I am looking for: a little girl who plays sports and the dad who supports her, a basketball legend, William Shatner, and an NBA player who nearly choked his coach to death and has pretty much blown his wad in every possible way since.

In the commercial, dad and daughter first happen upon David Robinson, who advises the young basketball player that the keys to success are “hard work and a great attitude.”

To note every cool aspect of Robinson’s unique and outstanding career would warrant a whole other post. The Morse Code version: “The Admiral,” the first and only U.S. Naval Academy player ever to reach the NBA, not only served his country, but followed by playing center for the San Antonio Spurs for his entire career. Among other honors, he was Rookie of the Year, a 10-time All-Star, the 1995 NBA MVP, and a two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner as part of the famed “Dream Team.”

And all this after deferring his pro playing time for two years to serve in the Navy–not an easy process. At 6-8 upon entering the Academy, he almost withdrew, concerned his height would prevent the experience necessary for him to become an officer (and he ultimately grew to 7-1). A special dispensation was made for him to serve in the Naval Reserves and he became a civil engineering officer.

He has since earned his Master of Arts in Administration, founded a school for inner city children, and has become a noted philanthropist and venture capitalist.

(What this has to do with hotels and airfare, I don’t know, but I’m starting with wish Robinson would run for President.)

sprewellMeanwhile, the commercial ends with the dad and daughter meeting Latrell Sprewell, who became a multi-millionaire playing for the Golden State Warriors, the New York Knicks, and the Minnesota Timberwolves. He too was named an NBA All-Star four times and helped the Knicks reach the NBA Finals and the Timberwolves the Western Conference finals.

Sprewell tells the young lady that “Success is failure that just hasn’t happened yet.”

And he would know. Despite his accomplishments, he is most remembered  for a 1997 incident in which he attacked and choked then-coach P. J. Carlesimo during a practice. It earned him a 68-game suspension.

But of course he was allowed to continue playing. In 2005, Sprewell’s career came to an sudden end when he turned down a $21-million three-year contract offer from the Timberwolves, implying the deal “would not be enough to feed his children.”

Following his departure, he has also wrecked his million-dollar yacht, lost two homes to foreclosure, and had his parental rights taken away.

All that said, it’s nice to see him have a laugh at his own expense. We can only hope he’s finally learned some life lessons of his own.



2 thoughts on “Life Lessons from Latrell Sprewell?

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