basketball, celebrities, interview

What You Can Learn About Hustle From A 7’4 Guy

No Comments 02 October 2014

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 2.48.52 PMIf you can take a story from a 7’4 NBA player and immediately apply it to your elementary school daughters, you know the guy has a good story.  Former auto mechanic turned NBA all-star Mark Eaton was nice enough to swing by the office for lunch and an interview.  One of his stories I liked best is that even with a natural advantage (being 7’4), he still had to work extremely hard to succeed.

When I got home that evening, I asked my daughters this question- If you knew you were going to be on the bench and wouldn’t get in the game, would you still work hard at practice?  My oldest daughter immediately said, “Yes, so I can get in the game!”.  My youngest daughter wasn’t so sure, so I shared part of Mark’s story.  Spotted by a junior college coachon an LA street corner on his way to his job as an auto mechanic, Mark eventually made it onto UCLA’s squad, where he sat the bench.  In his senior year, he played a total of just 41 minutes during the entire season.  However, following the advice of the junior college coach who helped him get started, he made sure to make every practice count.  He’d treat every practice like it was the game, where he’d try to out-work and out-hustle everyone. He’d be the first person to the gym and the last person to leave.

After graduation, he and his old coach began cold calling NBA teams for a tryout, because no one had ever heard of him.  One team, the Jazz, were so desperate that they gave a tryout to a guy who couldn’t get off the bench in college.  That 7 feet, four inches of height wasn’t enough to get him into a game in college, but adding that to those thankless years of hard work paid off.  Mark not only got in the game, but he became a starter. He became not just a starter, but an All-Star and two-time Defensive Player Of The Year on a perennial playoff team, going from a total of 41 minutes of game time his senior year to over 25,000 minutes of playing time over 11 years against the best players in the world in the NBA.

So, I got to share his message right away with my daughters- natural ability has it’s place, but you’ll go so much farther if you combine it with hard work.

Here’s my interview with Mark Eaton:

Special thanks to Eric Woodie for the video work.

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How To Use Fantasy Football To Learn Russian

No Comments 04 April 2013

I’m a fantasy sports addict.  Fantasy football, football pick-em, basketball, baseball, NCAA tournament brackets galore- I even tried fantasy hockey (great!) and fantasy NASCAR (not great).

Last fall I decided to see what would happen if I spent as much time learning a language as I did playing fantasy football, and I’ve somehow had the best fantasy sports run of my life!

First, I cut back from four fantasy football teams to two. Then for the language, I started with Russian- mainly because I’d been watching Jason Bourne movies and it just sounds like a language for cool, tough guys  (of which I am neither).  I ended up making a couple new Russian friends, was accused of being a KGB agent by a Ukrainian truck driver, and was able to get even more out of watching The Hunt for Red October.

After finishing the 16 introductory Russian lessons on Pimsleur CDs I’d checked out from the local library, I went to try Mandarin Chinese, which I had to cut short (just six lessons) due to the need to practice my French before a mission trip to Haiti.  By that time, football season had ended and I was well into basketball season.  (How did I do in my fantasy leagues?  Check out the stats below.)

I decided to keep the experiment going, and picked up Arabic for basketball season, with Hebrew to finish it off.  I’m thinking German and Italian for baseball season.   The goal isn’t to become fluent, but to learn ‘tourist’ language- greetings, directions, ordering, etc.  I’ll have a basis for the language if I ever visit the country or become a participant on The Amazing Race.

I’ve met some really cool people along the way, and built some relationships that would not have taken place if not for the bridge opened by learning the language.  I’ll share some of those stories, along with some tips I’ve learned about the best ways to learn another language (you can get some Vine posts on twitter @premierebrian).  I’m also a history buff, so I’ll recommend some books for each culture these languages represent in case you’d like to dig a little deeper.

Thanks for following along!


2012 Fantasy Football Season
Russian : Full 16 lessons in Pimsleur’s Introductory Russian
Mandarin/Chinese – 6 lessons (didn’t quite finish) Pimsleur’s Introductory Mandarin

2012 Fantasy Football: 1st place – Yahoo! League
2012 Fantasy Football: 2nd place- ESPN League

2012-2013 Fantasy Basketball Season
Arabic (Eastern/Syrian) – Full 10 lessons Pimsleur’s Introductory
Hebrew – Currently on lesson 6 of 8 lessons Pimsleur’s Introductory Hebrew

2012-2013 Fantasy Basketball: 1st place regular season, currently in championship game- Yahoo! league 1
2012-2013 Fantasy Basketball: 1st place regular season, currently in championship game- Yahoo! league 2
2013 NCAA Tournament Bracket: Currently in 1st place (going into the Final Four) Yahoo! leagues 1 & 2
2013 NCAA Tournament Bracket: 96th percentile in ESPN general pool

Other languages (pre-fantasy football):
French- 90 lessons (Pimsleur French Levels 1-3)
Spanish- 27 lessons (Pimsleur Spanish Level 1)

PS- I’m not sponsored by Pimsleur, but I should be!

basketball, final four, sports


No Comments 17 March 2011

OK, OK, I know you’re very anxious to know my Final Four picks. 

I think there will be a lot fewer upsets than everyone expects.  The biggest shocker will be there aren’t ath many shockers.  Unfortunately, no Belmont or George Mason run this year- unless you count San Diego State.

It stinks in a way, because almost all of the teams I root for are in the same region- Purdue and Notre Dame (within 90 minutes of where I used to live) and Vanderbilt (where I live now).  But did I pick any of them for the Final Four?

Without further ado, here is my bracket:

I went with San Diego State in the West mainly because I didn’t like anyone else.  I think Duke is ready for an epic fail.

Despite being a #2 seed, Florida has an easier route to the Final Four than #1 seed Pitt, so I think they’ll end up there.

That leaves the only two powerhouse teams in the tournament- Kansas and Ohio State.  I think Ohio State’s youth beats out Kansas, and throw in clutch 3 point shooting and the urgency of Sullenger being a one-and-done, and you’ve got yourself a champion.

So there you have it.  Am I crazy?  Who are you picking for the Final Four?  Comment away!

Ohio State is an easy pi

basketball, college, dc talk, kick irrational, music

Cartoon Friday

No Comments 04 March 2011

Click To Enlarge

Fun fact: In college, I studied video and film production, and one of my projects was to make a music video, set to “The Hard Way” by DC Talk. One of the scenes was me playing basketball and having my shot blocked. I learned ‘the hard way’ (ahem, corny!), and then later in the video scored on the guy. Who says college is for smart people?

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