NBA star says success comes from making the right choices
(FinalCall.com) – Quentin Richardson is a native of Chicago. Throughout his teenage years, he remained committed to athletics leading his high school, Whitney Young, to the class AA Boys state basketball title. He went on to attend DePaul University. After winning Freshman of the Year honors, and then the Conference USA Player of the Year, he declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft after completing his sophomore year in college. He was picked in the first round by the Los Angeles Clippers. After spending four seasons there, he signed as a free agent with the Phoenix Suns playing one season there, and then he was traded to the New York Knicks.
Having lost two brothers to violence, “Q” knows adversity firsthand. During his life, he has faced challenges and through those experiences he has words of guidance for others that he shared in this One-on-One interview with the Final Call’s Assistant Editor Ashahed M. Muhammad.
The Final Call (FC) You are a millionaire, you are on TV, you are in the NBA, people want your autograph, they are wearing your jersey, but the violent streets hit you in your household and in your own neighborhood. When you go back there, how do you feel?
Quentin Richardson (QR) I am (aware) of the fact that danger is in the neighborhood and things are capable of happening but when I go back, I do feel protected. I do feel safe in all the situations that I put myself in and I always take notice to that before I do anything.
FC: What is the message you would want to get to brothers who might want to be like you, but don’t know the road you took to get where you are? The long hours of practice, the sacrifice, not going out when everyone else was out partying, staying out of trouble?
QR: If nothing else, I want people to understand that you can make it. I am a walking example. I come from the same tough neighborhood, Roseland, 115th Street, and I did a lot of the same things that they did, nobody is perfect growing up and you see different things. As long as you have your mind made up that you are not going to become a statistic then you are not going to go and do the same thing that those people are doing. You see where it lands family members, friends and other people around you. Whether it is like me playing basketball, or being a doctor or lawyer, or just graduating from school and having a good job and being able to support your family, there are a million different directions that you can go other than just taking an easy way out saying, “I am going to just sell drugs” or ‘I’m just going to be a street thug.”
FC: Right, take the challenge.
QR: That is just right there in front of you. It’s hard and it’s difficult to say “I am going to go to school” or “I’m going to get good grades” or “I am going to get a scholarship” or “I am going to get a loan and I am going to have to work to pay that loan off and do different things.” Those are hard things to do but you (will) appreciate things much more after doing so much work and finally getting to that goal. You can sit there in your life and say “I did something, I accomplished something and I did it the right way and it feels good.”
FC: What are some of your future plans?
QR: We’re starting a foundation, BFAM, which stands for Brothers From Another Mother. It’s brothers basically with me and a group of my friends that I’ve known from 6th and 7th grade. We’re all from the ‘hood and we all went to high school and we stayed friends until now. I’ve been knowing these guys since I was 12-13 years old. Everybody graduated, I am the only one that didn’t graduate from college–although I am in the process of finishing my college degree now–but all of those guys graduated and we are trying to give back and do different things. Everybody is working and we are all positive examples of people that can come from the ‘hood and can graduate and go to school and have good jobs and do good things with their life.
FC: Last question, how do you feel about the Black coach of the Boston Celtics Glenn “Doc” Rivers winning an NBA championship with Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and all the brothers?
QR: That’s great! I like “Doc” Rivers as a person, I’ve known him for a long time now and I am real happy for him. I’m also happy for Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and all those guys too.
FC: Thank you.