“My senior year was a blur. I played, I studied, I worked. But everything was changing. Not just about basketball but about life. I had realized that there was a whole outside world and that I was going to go as far away as I possibly could. Basketball was transforming right in front of me. It was still a game, but it was becoming something else. A life. A dream. A business. A way forward. And soon, it would be a way to college.” (p.62)
“With other coaches, you couldn’t be sure if they were just pretending to care so they could exploit players. But with Coach Ricardson, you got the sense, from the way he talked to my parents, my brother, and my coaches, and from the time he spent around my neighborhood, that he really understood where I was coming from.: (p.66)
He discusses about being related and being able to understand where someone is coming from.
“I had to go to Arizona because once I hit senior year, I only had one goal in life: to get far away from Springfield as possible.” (p.67)
“But those AAU tournaments were pivotal moments. They were the first validation I had that I wasn’t just good enough for Springfield but good enough for the country. The same thing happened the summer I got an invite to a Nike Camp. This time the guys were even better, more elite, but I now had reason to believe that my being there wasn’t an accident. When you start to get and seize opportunities like that, the world begins to open up slowly for you. And once it does, it can never close again.” (p.68)
Once you get a taste of success, it talks about how addicting it is and how people’s expectations of you change the way and can be in a way to feed you if its in a healthy manner.
“Maybe he had a touch of survivors guilt, that feeling that people in the outside world were now taking you seriously you owed something to everyone you came up with. That you maybe didn’t deserve the shot you got, so you make penance for your good fortune by constantly giving your time and money to dudes who don’t seem to be making it happen like you are.” (p.68)
“Children fight the battles their parents lose. And my mother passed her battle on to me.” (p.69)
Because his mother did not get the same opportunities he did, she trained him and prepared him all of his life to be able to handle life as a successful well spoken black male.
“I had to learn to talk small, for one. But it meant practice, and study and film sessions, skipping parties, staying away from drugs. Staying up late working and getting to early to do weights and take runs. It meant doing everything it would require to make sure I never had to go back to Springfield. No matter what. “ (p.71)
“The athletic director had been clear. We had been warned not to act like fools around those boosters. So we both looked at away from each other and pretended to be very serious and engaged. We went back to playing grown-ups.” (p.71)
“Theoretically you should be able to block the pass, but Luke understood angles so well that he could still slip it by you. He had an answer for your athleticism, but you didn’t have an answer for his strength and smarts. He managed to both exhaust me and humble me. And it made me want to learn everything that he had to teach.” (p.74)
Andre is able to read people and be curious to learn from everyone around him. That’s what makes him so well rounded, the way he is able to analyze people and predict their behaviors is why he is so effective on defense.
“I remember somebody saying God damn! At the top of their lungs. I didn’t need to block it that hard. But I did block it that hard. Because that moment set the tone for us, and maybe for that whole squad. We had too much talent and we were going to use all of it. By the time that game was done, I was a different player. I was in an entirely new world, but I know I belonged there. Starting from that moment, my old world was completed over. (p.75)
There comes defining moments where something shift and when you surrounded by greatness, you want to sure not to waste it. You have to make the moments count.
“I learned basics and fundamentals at Arizona that I would not get anywhere else. And when I finally get to the league, it was clear at least to me, that my time in that program under Coach Olson had prepared my mind for the game in a way that few other guy’s programs had. Lute Olson had a gift for taking raw guys, untrained talent, and turning them into professionals. But as an incoming freshman, I couldn’t see the big picture. As far as I could tell, he was just a cantankerous old dude who took unusual pleasure in irritating me. “ (p.75)
There is something about trusting the process and having faith that everything happens for a reason even if it doesn’t make sense at the moment.
“With a guy like that on our team, one of the most fundamentally sound and knowledgeable ballplayers I’ve ever known. Hassan Adams and Isaiah Fox, who were my dudes. I loved that team. We hung out together tough, especially because we were on campus in Arizona that felt pretty far away from home for all of us.”
It was a process. Going from believing that I was only good enough to play in college to realizing that I actually had professional potential was a process. It took time. As crazy as it may seem now, it was not obvious to me. But throughout my time at Arizona, little moments began to happen, glimmers of hope, of the possibility of something greater for me.’ (p.77)
“He showed me. There I was. Some website had me going in the first round. It was odd. Kind of an out-of-body experience. My first thought was, Are they talking about Andre Iguodala? I struggled it off. The internet, sports guys, media- they never know what they’re talking about. Just a lot of bullshit to get clicks.” (p.78)
“Apparently, I had a lot to learn. After that, everything changed. A problem began that would plague me for nine to ten years. Sleep deprivation. Insomnia. It is difficult to describe to someone who hasn’t experienced the intensity of insomnia. It is like you are being tortured by time, by something that moves slowly and doesn’t care for you at all. You put your head on the pillow every night with the hope that if you somehow pretend that it’s all going to be OK, you can make it so. Maybe you even get so far as to close your eyes, let the silence fall over, and drift into a kind of temporary sleep. But then an unwanted thought intrudes. A memory of a bad pass or a missed jumper. You start to think about what Coach would say. You start to remember tough moments from practice and wonder if they’ll hamper your career. To your life. It feels like everything is hinging on doing everything right. And those thoughts, though fleeting, give you enough adrenaline to shoot your eyes open and accelerate your heart.” (p.80)