“Life is about how bad do you want to win”
“My opponents in life consisted of poverty, loneliness, disappointment, jealousy, and lack of equal educational opportunities.”
“Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete?/Provin’ nature’s laws wrong/ it learned how to walk without havin’ feet/Funny it seems but, by keepin’ its dreams it/ learned to breathe fresh air/Long live the rose that grew from concrete/when no one else even cared/No one else even cared…”
Pondering the life story of Derek L. Anderson, 39, former basketball star and multi-millionaire since age 22, author and motivational speaker, one cannot help but think of the imagery painted by Tupac Shakur’s poetic composition: “The Rose that Grew Out of Concrete.”
In not so fanciful words, the poet depicted the rise of a successful star, rising out of impossible adversity. That is, indeed, Anderson’s story.
After an enjoyable experience in Belize, the Los Angeles-based life speaker, film producer and legacy builder departed over the weekend, after presenting a series of motivational speeches here.
The last such presentation was made on Friday evening at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City, where Anderson spoke to a wide cross-section of Belizeans in a forum organized by the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the US Embassy in Belize.
Free copies of his newly released, self-published book: Don’t Run Out Of Breath Before You Win: Stamina (February 2013) were also given to those who attended the talk.
In his bio, Anderson, originally from Louisville, Kentucky, recounts the tragedies of his early life:
“At age eleven, I lived alone in a rundown apartment with no electricity and no food for three straight days. At the age of twelve I lived in a shelter home because the school system didn’t know my real social security number. I had a child at age fourteen and at age fifteen I had to work two jobs in order for my son and I to survive while growing up in the middle of a drug-infested project….”
It was during those years that he became a believer in The Almighty. With the remnants of a candle to light the night, he prayed that the candle would not fizzle out until his son fell asleep.
“As soon as the candle went out, that [street] light came on – and that light had been broke for a week!” Anderson said, adding that, “that experience changed his life…”
One of his mantras is “The Toughest Battles are given to The Toughest Warriors.”
Not only was he subject to abject poverty in his early life; he also saw loved ones fall victim to senseless violence:
“I’ve had to endure my sister being killed by our father’s best friend while her two-year old daughter was in the home. I had to stand by helplessly as my mom would lose her fight with substance abuse and endure my father walking out my life for more than 15 years,” he writes.
However, he adds: “My final awakening was surviving a brutal stabbing from a neighborhood street fight that would have kept me from sharing my life story of outlasting my opponents. My opponents in life consisted of poverty, loneliness, disappointment, jealousy, and lack of equal educational opportunities. But like I learned in sports, life is about how bad do you want to win.”
Anderson said that his first billion will be channeled back to the people he cares about, who care about other people.
He is the founder of The Derek Anderson Foundation, which has a mission of assisting abused, battered women and children, as well as feeding and supplying underprivileged children who are without guidance. If Anderson has his way, no other child will go through what he did as a young person. He promised to reach as many as he can – even here in Belize, and he has undertaken to return to the country because he wants to extend his philanthropy to Belize.
The gift he brought this time was the wisdom he has gleaned over the years. He urges people not to be complacent; but to work diligently to gain success – because that is the formula that helped him to win. He also urges people to know and live their life purpose.
“Everybody in [this room] has a purpose in life. If you keep ignoring it and other people see it – that’s the problem… When people tell you they see something in you, you have to pay attention. You might not like it in the beginning….”
Anderson does not drink or smoke. Following the right people has also been key for him:
“Why would I follow someone who is not successful, who is not willing to work hard? When my grandmother taught me, don’t drink Coke or Pepsi, I followed that,” he said.
He also speaks of having an undeniable work ethic – the kind of ethic that saw him write 10 pages a day for his book until he was done. “Don’t stop until you finish a project,” he urges.
He also starts the day early: “Six in the morning I’m up swimming while you sleep. Seven in the morning, I’m up working at the gym while you sleep. Eight in the morning, I’m studying, going to class — you still sleeping. Ten o’clock, you’re just getting up; I’m, just taking a break! Think about how successful people make it.”
Anderson also spoke about overcoming opponents: focus on the positive; study your opponent; see their flaws…, he says; “If you can’t beat them; join them!”
Another word of advice he shared was: “Knowing your role will help you succeed; but never ever let your role change who you are.”
Anderson said that he has written 14 movie scripts, and he hopes to have a movie about his life at the age of 42. He has another pending book, Contracts, which he admits some women may not like.
Everything in life is about contracts; he said, advising parents to allow children to work for what they get rather than just giving things to them. They, too, said Anderson, should be taught to play their role.
Anderson writes that, “Living alone with no parents or direction can lead a child astray, but once I survived being left alone at the age of 11, I decided to never allow another child to go through the things I did. My goal is to save as many as I can and pray for the ones I couldn’t reach in my lifetime. This is my purpose and NOT a goal.”
DEREK LAMONT ANDERSON
Born July 18, 1974 in Louisville, Kentucky
• Kentucky High School Basketball All-Star
• 1996 – Won National Championship with The University of Kentucky
• 1997 – 13th overall pick to the NBA Draft
• 1997 – Handpicked by Michael Jordan to have own signature shoe
• 2005 – 2006 Won NBA Championship with Miami Heat
• Won Olympic Gold Medal
• Owns and operates D.A. Enterprises
• Owns and operates Loyalty Media Group
• FOUNDER/CEO Derek AndersonWorks www.DerekAndersonWorks.com
• President of Victory H2O Global Operations
• Designs and operates Loyalty Clothing Company
• Owns and operates Loyalty Home & Auto Concierge
• Owns and operates Anderson Development
• Owns and operates 2 hotels
• Prosperous 11-year NBA career
(Stats source: http://www.derekandersonfoundation.com/career.html)