Well, it finally happened — writer’s block. After three years of weekly posts I came up dry this week. But since the Final Four was last night, it seemed appropriate to pull from last year’s event when I attended a dinner before the big dance with Adrian Branch. I hope you enjoy this rerun of one of my favs.
By Del Duduit
SAN ANTONIO — The “tude” can make the difference.
Adrian Branch is perhaps the most positive person I’ve ever been around.
He oozes excitement, and his attitude is contagious.
But he wasn’t always this way.
I sat in on the Athletes in Action Coach’s Forum recently at the Final Four Weekend in San Antonio, Texas. Various coaches from across the nation shared their inspirational stories, but I liked Adrian’s discussion the most. The ESPN college basketball analyst went into detail about how a lousy attitude can affect your life.
Adrian was a star college basketball player at the University of Maryland. During that time, he was the third all-time leading scorer and averaged 16.4 points per game and shot nearly 75 percent from the line. In his senior year in 1984-85, he scored 671 points and piled up 45 steals in only 37 games and led the Terps to the Sweet 16.
He thought he was “THE MAN” and the sky was the limit. When his coach, Lefty Driesell, took him out of the game for a break, Adrian let everyone know he was not happy. Instead of being in the huddle or paying attention, Adrian stood away from the team and scanned the crowd.
“I was just waiting to get back on the floor,” he said. “I didn’t’ care about anything else or what anyone had to say.”
But you never know who’s watching. Adrian enjoyed a great career at Maryland, but he was told his NBA draft status was not the best in the world.
Do all things without murmurings and disputings;
(PHILIPPIANS 2: 14)
Jerry West, basketball legend and GM of the Los Angeles Lakers, told Adrian his demeanor was not going to be a good fit in the NBA.
“He told me he did not like my attitude at all when I was at Maryland,” he said. “(My attitude) affected me and my draft status.”
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Adrian likened his outlook to life similar to having his hat on sideways and portraying an “I don’t care” attitude.
We’ve all seen this. Kids who might wear their hats sideways or have their pants hanging down might send the wrong signal.
I have a friend, Tim, who is a scout for the Boston Red Sox, and he also coached my son in high school baseball. If he saw one of his players with his hat on sideways or backward, he would face disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the team. He said most MLB organizations also have a similar rule.
I loved what Adrian told me when we got off to the side and talked one-on-one.
“A bad attitude and lack of gratitude will slow your altitude and stump your aptitude,” he said. “A positive attitude is everything to me.” FANTASTIC ADVICE!!!
Does that mean that a person who wears a hat backward has a bad attitude? Of course not. A great example of this is Ken Griffey Jr., who always wore his hat reversed when he was not on the field.
Adrian said it just sends the wrong message. Personally, I don’t like to see a backward hat, and I can’t really give an explanation only to say I’m old-fashioned. But that’s not the point. This piece expressed my opinion perfectly.
The point is Adrian felt like he had that attitude associated with wearing a hat sideways. Once he decided to turn it around, he developed the right perspective. He went on to enjoy a good career in the NBA and won a ring with the Lakers in 1987.
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
(Proverbs 17: 22)
He is now a college basketball analyst with ESPN and travels the nation speaking to youth about their attitudes. He is also a follower of Christ and is just as bold about that stance too. He emphasizes the best way to turn your life around is to follow the Lord.
His enthusiasm for life rubs off on everyone around him. I find myself once in a while looking at the negative instead of focusing on the blessings from God. At times, I concentrate on the bad things that might happen instead of the opportunities I have been given. Five minutes around Adrian can help you understand the good things God has to offer. He says “the only things you can control is your effort and attitude.” And there are wonderful benefits to having a good attitude as this piece describes. One of my favorites is hope.
Without hope, there is nothing. Christ offers this to everyone who will ask. Make a point to develop a better attitude because you will feel better, and so will everyone around you.
How is your attitude? God can turn it around if you allow Him. Let me know your thoughts and if you have chosen to turn your hat around.
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.