Wallace’s story an inspiration

Published 10:22 pm Tuesday, August 16, 2016

How do we lift our children? In everything I try to do, my most important mission is to lift our children. I saw our children lifted in a special way last weekend. Before I get to this special lifting, I want to lay the foundation by sharing a family experience that lifted my children.

When my children were growing up, we would drive to far-off places so they could go along and learn. As we traveled, we shared stories from our life experiences.  Among my children’s favorites were the stories of struggle about my growing up. They would ask me over and over again to tell some of the same stories of struggle. On one such trip to California, our eldest child Malika said, “Daddy, I feel like we are missing something in our lives because we don’t have to struggle as much.” Words of wisdom from a child! I was greatly impacted. The following summer I required each of our children to get a job whether they were paid or not. I wanted them to work. And them to struggle. Ainka worked at a restaurant owned by Raymond Major. Kindaka worked at an auto repair shop owned by Mr. Blocton. Malika worked at Dr. David Hodo’s medical office. All three worked without pay. Today, all three are lawyers. One of my best decisions was to help them struggle.

Now on to the aforementioned experience: I joined others in Lowndes County to celebrate a unique person. I read a Senate Resolution. I made remarks. So did others. Let me tell you about this person. He is the tenth of 11 children raised by a single mother. He was a student at Central High School in Lowndes County, one of the poorest counties in the U.S. He was very quiet. He played football and baseball. In the 11th grade, he began playing basketball.  He graduated from high school in 1992 and attended Cuyahoga Community College in Ohio for two years.  He attended Virginia Union University, a historically black university, on a basketball scholarship.  He did extremely well, but he was not drafted by the NBA. Upon graduation, he was not even offered a tryout. He found a way to go overseas to play basketball. However, he was cut from that team.  He returned to the U.S.  After great effort, he was given a tryout by an NBA team. He made the Washington Bullets team, which is now the Washington Wizards.  He was barely making it, but he kept struggling. Over the years, he spent time with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Chicago Bulls and the Orlando Magic.

Email newsletter signup

He made history with the Detroit Pistons. He blossomed into one of the all-time great defensive players in the history of the NBA. He became the first undrafted NBA basketball player to start an All-Star Game. He became a World Champion in 2004 when the Detroit Pistons claimed the NBA title. He retired in 2012 after 16 years of success. His jersey number (3) was retired by the Detroit Pistons on January 16, 2016. I was so glad that our children were at the Town Hall in White Hall to hear from NBA great Ben Wallace.