TheBlackManCan takes is first but definitely not its last trip to the Nutmeg state of Connecticut. It is our mission to actively promote a positive black male image and this week we are going to focus on the the Black Male athlete. It is our pleasure to introduce to you a man with an impeccable reputation, retired NBA Veteran and University of Connecticut Assistant Mens basketball coach Kevin Ollie. Kevin Ollie speaks with TheBlackManCan about obtaining your college degree, embracing the idea of being a student-athlete and life lessons you can learn from basketball.
TheBlackManCan: You run a basketball camp for youth. Why did you decide to start it?
KO: I wanted to teach the kids basketball skills but also life skills that can benefit them in their future. I believe that you have to have integrity to be successful in life. I wanted to provide an environment where kids can aspire higher and be honest with themselves. True integrity is what you do when no one is looking.
TheBlackManCan: What lessons other than skill development should young black men look to take away from basketball?
KO: Determination and never giving up on themselves. When you’re down in life the most important thing is to stop and get back up and stay focused on your goals. Character is manifested in the big moments. But is made in the small ones.
TheBlackManCan: Why should it be a goal for all young black boys to be a scholar-athlete?
KO: I think basketball or any other sport compliments academics. The things you learn while you’re in school will stay with you forever. Academics teaches discipline, time management ,and the understanding of being prepared. These convictions can lead to success on the sports field also. The reward is in the effort.
TheBlackManCan: How important is it to maintain a proper diet in order to be a successful basketball player?
KO: What you put in your body is what you get out of your body. That is why I believe in a proper diet, eating the right foods that can sustain my energy over a longer period of time.
TheBlackManCan: What other endeavors are you taking on outside of basketball? Why is it important to take initiative off the court?
KO: Basketball or any other sport won’t last forever. That is why it is so imperative to establish relationships outside of the sports you play. One of my endeavors is having a partnership in a minority owned company called Global Live One which focuses on teleconferencing technologies.
TheBlackManCan: You have overcome many obstacles and worked extremely hard to have a very successful NBA career and play for 11 different teams. Have you thought about writing a book about your story?
KO: No I haven’t thought about writing a book. But maybe when I retire from coaching I will revisit the idea.
TheBlackManCan: What are your career aspirations after your NBA playing days end? How important is obtaining your college degree for your post athletic goals?
KO: My career aspiration has always been to become a basketball coach. I accepted the Assistant Coaching job of the Men’s Basketball Team at the University of Connecticut this past summer. My goal is to educate young student athletes about the importance of character, honesty, and belief in oneself.
It is very important to obtain your college degree. Academics before athletics. You only have 15 minutes of fame and once that is over you have to have something to fall back on. I can always tell my children that I completed my schooling and got my degree. That is something that no one can take away from me. I received my Bachelors in Communication Sciences from the University of Connecticut.
TheBlackManCan: What should a middle school and/or high school player be working on if he aspires to play at the professional level?
KO: To play at the professional level you must be self motivated and goal oriented. You must maximize your talents by dedication, perseverance, and a work ethic second to none.
TheBlackManCan: What words of advice would you like to leave with the youth of today?
KO: Be uncommon. Don’t follow the crowd. Don’t settle for style but succeed in substance. Destiny is not a matter of chance its a matter of choice. It’s not a thing to be waited for, it’s a thing to be achieved. Remember to keep God first and know that He has a plan for your life.
Our mission is to actively promote a positive black male image. Welcome to the Spotlight: League of EXTRAordinary Black Men. Here, we spotlight black men weekly who are having a positive impact in communities across the country. These men are actively promoting a positive black male image each and every day. If you know a man that should be spotlighted please send an email to email@example.com In that email please state who you are and why you are nominating this individual. Please leave your contact information and the contact information of the individual you are nominating.