Good People, Cool Things
Good People, Cool Things

Episode 80 · 1 year ago

80: Basketball, Autism, and Staying Centered with Anthony Ianni

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Anthony Ianni was diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder, a form of autism, as a toddler. And this was back in the early 90s, when autism wasn’t really a thing anyone knew anything about. As a result, Anthony was told he wasn’t going to succeed in school or sports, but he said “nah, I’m not gonna listen to that.”

Instead, when he was eight years old, Anthony told coach Tom Izzo he was going to play for the Michigan State Spartans. A decade later, he was suiting up and winning all the accolades that come from playing at a prestigious school. Since graduating, Anthony has become an award-winning speaker, traveling all over the place (but the fun kind, not the illegal basketball kind) to share his story and inspire others.

He’s also channeled that story into Centered: Autism, Basketball, and One Athlete's Dreams, his new book (releasing September 7). Some have called the book a modern-day Rudy, but let’s be real: Anthony is impressive enough on his own.

Good people, cool things. As a podcast feature in conversations with entrepreneurs, writers, musicians and other creatives. Get inspired by their stories to do your own cool thing, and here's your host, Joey held. Welcome to good people, cool things. Today's guest is Anthony I any, author of centered autism, basketball and one athletes dreams. Anthony is the first player in ncuble a history to play basketball with autism. He played at Michigan State under coach Tom Azo, made a final four, one, multiple big ten championships, and here I am over here with the Miami Hurricanes, my Alma Mater, making the sweet sixty and like twice, and that's it. Love the kids about Michigan State definitely has much more basketball success, including beating Miami in the NCAA tournament a few years back, but that's okay. We're not letting that there's not really a rivalry there, so we're not letting it get to us. Anthony's got so many great stories to chat about. His book writing process, how he grew up, learned that he had autism, promised that he was going to play basketball, all the things that he's done along the way. We're talking about all of it. We're talking book marketing tips, we're talking about space jam one versus space jam and new legacy. There's lots going on here. Even if you're not a basketball fan, you'll find plenty to enjoy. And if you are a basketball fan, who we got a good one in store for you. If you like to get in touch with the show, you can reach out joey at good people, cool thingscom. You can also follow the show at GPCT podcast, on facebook, twitter or Instagram, and if you're real friendly, you can head on over to apple podcast leave a review, preferably five stars. But you know what you do, you saying how much you love the show, because that helps more people hear it. You can also just yell at people, Hey, listen to this podcast as well, but sometimes people don't respond nicely the yelling. So I get it. And with that, let's hop into the conversation with Anthony. For people who don't know who you are, can you give us your elevator pitch and can you also tell us the type of elevator that you're riding on? Oh, man type of man. So for me, the type of elevator, I think for me would be just like a golden elevator with a lot of room. Like why? And I because, for people who don't know me, I'm six foot nine and I'm a very tall individual. So I need to have, like you know, tall ceilings and, like you know, why, the areas I can like fit in places. So definitely a tall golden elevator and then it shoots out, you know, of the hotel or factory or whatever, like Willy Walka just like goes all over the place. So that's that's definitely my technical so, besides you being six nine, what else should we know about you so well, first of all, you know I'm a national motor extra speaker and a national autism and type building advocate. I've been on the speaking circuit now for the last stuff cheese. It will be nine years as fall, which is crazy to how fast time flies. And I'm also the First Division One College Basketball Player in NCAA history with autism. Kind of how my story goes. I was diagnosed with PDDNS when I was four years old and I was kind of during a time period, Joey, where nobody really knew what autism was, nobody knew a lot of characteristics for it. There was nowhareness for it and there was definitely no resources, guidance and pathways to help families and individuals who were impacted by it during that time. And then a year later, when I was five years old, a group of dodgers at professionals told my family that because I have autism, I would barely succeed or achieve anything in life. They told my family that I would barely graduate from high school, never go to college, never be an athlete and I would likely likely end up in a group institution with other autistic individuals like myself. And the rest of my life wasn't til the stories my freshman year of high school. So I was kind of like my motivation while improved those people and any other daughters, and they says I have my life wrong. Had work harded everything, everything from basketball to my social life in school, especially because I wasn't the smartest get around. But I had a lot of support from family, friends, coaches, teammates,...

...just everybody, and so I went on to graduate from OAKAMI's high school two thousand and seven one on a Grand Valley State University for two years on a full scholarship, or basketball for that theas think why work out for me there signed up going to Michigan State University, where I lived, but lived ultimate dream of not only going to my dream school but also playing for, you know, a guy, a coach I've always want to play under, and that was tom is ooh. I was walking on for two years, was put on full scholarship my senior year, was part of a couple big ten championship teams, a team that won a big ten tournament title, team that went to a final four. Got To play with a great group of guys that I'm proud of called my brothers. So I graduate with a degree sociology from Michigan stay some of that. People that never be able to do so say that's definitely me in a heart peat. So basically, you just told the nathirs none enough. Yeah, then we're going to get we're going to put you down. That was the thing and that's kind of how it's been like. I guess you could say that's kind of how it's been my whole life, because you know, I've always gone through life with a chip on my shoulder. You know, at the same time it's a blessing and a curse. I say it's a blessing because that there are still people out there to this day that I doubt my abilities as an advocate, as a motivational speaker, even as a husband or father. Like you know, I always thrive of okay, I'll watch me, I'm going to do this today, I'm going to do that, but also the same time, like I say, it's a curse because I don't really need it anymore because I've done everything I need to do and more. But they're still work to be done as an advocate and as a motivational speaker and I still got goals and dreams that don't want to pursue and live. But you know, there's no wrong with having that chip on your shoulder. And so, you know, when I was in high school or Middle School Somebody said, Oh, you can't do this, I would always look at that person though, all right, no, no, you bet against me, because chances are you going to lose and I'm going to prove you wrong. So, but you know, I love the I thrived off the and and still this day, you know, I still get a good feeling off the to do. I have this right. I think I read that somewhere that you, as a child, told coaches that that you were going to play for Michigan State one day. I did and then you ended up doing it. Did he remember you with he like, Oh, you were the kid that. Oh Yeah, said I'm gonna play for the all right guys that. Oh Yeah. So I've known coaches, Oh, you know, for cheese now for twenty four years. So I first met him when I was eight years old and I got to meet him because my father was an athletic administrator and Michigan State and my dad retired from athletic administrative work in two thousand and nineteen. So he was at University of Virginia for a couple of years, went to Ohio University for ten years. It was at Michigan State for twenty six so he was around and sea athletics for almost forty years. So I was around football players, basketball players. You know, you named the team in Michigan State. I was probably around it because my dad got to do a lot of event management work at Michigan State and be a lot of those events and games. So after a lot of the home games for Michigan stay basketball, he would take me down a locker room, take me down the court because I was thought it was really pretty cool at that age. He get to go down in the court. I couldn't shoot, you know, that was just that was just a rule after games. That I understood. But anytime you got to go on to the court and just, you know, look around and see fifteen thousand empty seats, well, it was really cool. And so he just took me in the locker room and you know coaches, Oh was on his postgame radio show at the time and I sat on a couch and you know, after he got down with a show him. Is that? Him and my dad started talking a little bit and he looked at me and so, Oh, who's this? My Dad introduced me and we started talking and he said, you know, what do you want to do? I mean you get older. I said, well, I want to play Michigan stay basketball. I want to play for you. I said this when I was eight years old and at that time I was serious and you know, I was dead serious about playing for him, even as a eight year old, and I think at the time, you know, I think coaches are probably thout. Oh, you know, it's cool that this is not you're okay that has dreams playing for Michigan State, but I really don't think he actually saw it like come to fruition until I started getting recruited by a lot of these schools when I was in high school, Michigan State included. But you know, he's done me for a long time. But I think when he saw me growing up as a kid and just seeing how hard I worked in the sport of basketball, I think he really took notice. And you know,...

...even even though when they were recruiting me they didn't offer me a full right scholarship, they offer me a prefer walk on spot. Even though I didn't take it. Like he he actually suggested to me that I take the full right off the Grand Valley state because, I mean it's full right offer. Everything is taken care of, you know, schools taking care of everything, and he said we're if I went to Michigan stay as a walking on the right off the bat he wasn't sure if I was going to be a scholarship. So he definitely, you know, encourage me to get take that full ride and but the one thing he said to me was but just know that the things don't work out for you at Grand Valley State, just know that you have a locker in a Jersey here waiting for you. What if you ever want it, and even when I trace some from grandvalley stay, that offer still held. And so but you know, for me to say that eight years old I fract and for it to come true like twelve years later, I mean nobody saw that coming, maybe except for me, because I always actually I was treating a bit, but I don't think anybody else, you know, around me, you know, or even some folks on my family, even imagine that that was the gout the reality. That's so cool. And I mean maybe this is your answer to this question, but as a fellow basketball player, we always have the moment, yeah, that we think with, like they come back to us. We're like that. I can like replay every single thing that's going on in there. So do you have a favorite basketball moment? Oh, man, um actually I do, but it's not actually a moment. It's like multiple moments, if you will, because you know, you're a part of your part of rivals, you know, in any sport, whether it's football, basketball, and when I was in high school we played a we played a so so I'm from OAKHAMIS, Michigan, which is right next to Michigan state literally like a five eight minute drive. My High School is right next story campus. But when I was in high school we played a team called whole, the whole high school rams, and at the time we were both, you know, top five in the entire state and we sold out all three games. So the first time we played at Hoole, which holds their gym holds four thousand people, and the game was sold out. At three hundred and thirty. The freshman played in front of US sold out crowd and as we got there people started banging on our bus and at for a minute I was like, Oh my God, Oh my God, we're being taken over by hold high school here. But then when we looked out our windows it was some of our students who were tailgating in the parking lot twenty degree weather, just, you know, charcoal and you know, Burgers, hot dogs, broughts, like guys. Bought two kegs of root beer and it was root beer because the police officers checked the themselves. And we walked into the gym and how holds gym set up is there's an indoor track that's around the the court, but on one side of the gym it's the visiting side and then the other side is the home section, and we walked in on the visiting side, our side, whatnots, and then you walk to the other side and we're getting budd out of the building. You know, I kid you not, I had a I don't if he was in his early late s or mid S, but this old man was put me off in the crowd. I'm like, dude, like I'm seventeen years old when that right now, like, but just that rivalry and US selling out, not just that game, but then we sold out our game, you know, and we had standing room only to the point where they actually broadcasted the game. I live television. If you if you couldn't get into the game, you go to Sports Bar Watch the game. And then we played a third time for the region in the regional semifinals and we played at a place called Don Johnson Field House, which is in downtown lansing. Seats about six thousand people. We sold that. We sold it out three hours for tip off, and so just just those moments right there, it really makes me think about how those were really wants in a lifetime moments, because now, Okamis, folks, not even a ride vel and whenever I go back to the my old high school, and talk to the the current players about that rivalry had, they were all look at me and go, wait, you would hope we rivals, not you and east lands and high school like yeah, like it, and they were like yeah, like, that's not us, man, like it's East lancing for us. I'm like, let say, when we played these slants and we beat him up so bad, it wasn't even a rivalry. So but just living those moments, man, and just being a part of just incredible...

...rivalries, not just with hope, but you know, even the rival you know we had against Michigan. I'll stay when I play like those were moments, man, that noll always stand out to me. It's so wild too to think of like how intense of rivalry it was and now it's just like, oh, I don't know, I don't where is the Michigan State off? Michigan rivalry will always be even as a former player like I'll play anymore like it's still means something to me because, you know, I have friends who went to Michigan, I friends who played at Michigan as well. I family members Super Michigan. So for me. It's always personal. My wife is always joking me like why is it so personally to you? I'm like, well, when you live the rivalry, when you played it, like it's personal, like you know, you kind of have to be a part of that rival. I understand. But at the same time, you know, I thought, like you said, it is funny how, like fifteen years ago it was the hottest rivalry, not just in our area but throughout the entire state, and then fast for fifteen years later it's I get students tell me, not like Oldzneim in our rival it's like this storm, like like man, you guys really missed out on the good day. He's bad. But yeah, they they didn't know how I'll get it. Well, it was awesome then. Good deal. Now you've chronicled, I really your life and your whole experience of growing up with aunt hasm playing basketball into a book called centered autism, basketball and one athletes dreams. Why is now the right time for this book to be coming out, which drops September seven? Do I have that right? Yeah, yeah, just crazy, because my agent, when we first signed with Indiana University press, you know, last year, last summer, in June two thousand and twenty. Yeah, I was on the phone of my age and Joe Perry, a Perry literary agency, and it was just like, you know, just wait, you know, because before you know it, within a stamp and finger, you're going to be doing, you know, a bunch of press really, you know, media stuff. You're going to be like doing a bunch of podcast with people. You're going to be out on the road, you know from the book, doing events. I was like, yeah, whatever, I'm thinking. Okay, the way, the way one, he's gone. It's going to go buy super slow. No, he wasn't kidding. The fact that were, you know, less than three weeks out from doing from this. I mean it's crazy, but you know, they answer your question. Why Now? No, why not? Because you know that this was something that I had talked about doing for a long time, even even after graduate from college nine years ago. I always have those conversations with my mom and my dad about, you know, doing more with my story than just going out to schools and conferences and events like I do now, is a speaker and advocate and talking about it. And I also had a lot of people in my ear and this is where I got to think school administrators that I work with, they bote, they were always in my in my ear every year, just saying, you know, you need to do this, you know, write that, you write a book, you know, to put put your entire story into one giant book. And and somebody brought a good point to me, Joey, and that was somebody said to me, whenever you go and speak to conferences in schools, you only maybe talk about one a quarter of your life story. They don't know the entire gist of it. And that's when I started thinking. I was like know what, I inspire a lot of group of kids out there in the country and around the state of Michiganay so, but you know it, they've only heard a little bit of my life story. So maybe I can inspire them even more if they read the entire you know, just of my life and and there's so many things that, you know, I don't want to get in too much details about, but there are so many things that I put in that book that I feel I could help families who and students who in educators who are in fact by somebody who eltism. So, for example, me and my co author, rap keys, who did an incredible job, you know, helping me write the book. We put some of my IEP, my individualized education plan evaluations, in there, and there's a lot of personal stuff in those evaluation plans that I looked at it first I was like, I said Rob, I don't know about this, like a lot of the stuff is too personal to me, like, I don't know if I should, if we should put this in there. And Rob said to me, he said, don't think about don't think of it as you know. Don't think of it as you know. What's best for you to think of it is what's going...

...to be best for the readers who are impacted by autism. That's see this how you are evaluated and what you were like as a first grader compared to where you're at now. The point is is to give these families, educators and individuals hope. That's what these are going to provide. And the more and more I kept reading it, the more and more kever viewing I was like, you know, he's right, and so, you know, I'm just super excited to be able for everybody to read, you know, not just about my life story, but to also be more educated on what the autism spectrum is and what autism is in general, because we're still like, you know, we're still trying to bring more awareness in awareness, advocacy work and, you know, acceptance for the autism community, and I'm hoping that's what this book will provide. But I also have somebody else say to me, you know, watching a book or really launch your career to bigger hikes that you've never seen. And so I'm not saying that's why I did it because, you know, I had a lot of people say, you know, process will be financement, out of fun doing it, but I'm really excited to see, you know, where this could take me from a career standpoint and as well as what it could do for others in the community as well. Let's talk about that process a little bit, because I think that's always I obviously varies from both of b of the writing process and working with a CO author as well. I add another element to it where you're able to kind of bounce ideals off each other like that. So take us into your writing at that's based on your speaking did you already have what kind of like an outline of what you wanted to do or with it kind of starting just with everything that was in your head and trying to get it that. I didn't so what. So basically what happened was so I was working with another individual name Chris Slari, who works with Detroit free pressed and he covers Michiga state football and basketball. He's ever beat writer. And so Chris and I talked about doing the project at first and then he got hired as the head beat writer and it scheduled, didn't have enough time for it, and so but rob was helping us edit, you know, just kind of look over things. And so rob, believe it or not, I hope this makes sense, he is my resource room teachers husband's cousin. So it's my resource from teachers husband's cousin. And so that's how the connection was made. And so rob and I got together over dinner and we just sat down and we just started talking and I told him what my vision was. I said I want to put you know, I want to put my entire life story in print. I want to put it all out there. I want to even the smallest details, I want it in there. And he had never written a book before, but he graduated from Journalism School at Michigan State University. So we had that Michig state connection. But he had a lot of friends, you know, in the writing field who are authors and they worked with him and gave him advice. And so rob and I just sat down and we did like four or five interviews in the span of a month and, you know, he asked me all these great questions. You know, he wanted me, like I said, he wanted me to give me him every smallest detail possible to throw it in the book. And what he did was he try to make it like movie like. So if I was describing like what kind of table I worked at in first grade, you know, I describe like the shape of the table and the color of the table, because that's what that's what he wanted. was like a movie like description of everything in the book. It's so so he did an incredible job and just for us to be able to communicate one on one and be able to, you know, bounce ideas off each other and be able to be like, okay, this looks good, let's put this in here. Hey, what do you think about this? Now? I don't know, let's leave that out. And we weren't afraid to post each other up on some things that there were some he didn't like that I said. He would say, Hey, let's let's not do that. There was some I didn't like in the book, He'd be like, okay, not a big deal. And so, but the fact that our communication with each other and we had that same vision. Two of we want this to be not just the best autism book out there, but we want this to be the best book out there period. And the goal for I mean the goal for every author is you want it to be a best seller. Like that's always, you know, the goal. But for rob and me, I think our main goal was, you know, to make sure that we create a book that's both educational and both exciting, because, you know, a lot of ways some people, some folks have compare my story to Rudy. You know, the Great Foot,...

...you know the great story of Rudy, Rudy, Rudy Rude Ger from Notre Dame and the movie Rudy, and so and rob was like, all right, we want this to be the next generations rudy. That's what we want, and so we just we just did it. Man. I think the toughest part of the process, though, was was trying to stay patient. That was the most difficult process because after we had finished it, we it took us about took a spore mus to write it, from May to about early mid September, fall two thousand and eighteen, and then the toughest part was setting it to literary agents who would look at it see if it will fit with them, and then trying to go through that process of finding a publisher. That was hard because I'm not the I'm not the most patient person in the world, but then again, who is right? But I would just keep checking my phone every five minutes, refresh, refresh, refresh, to the point where my wife just said to me, you need to stop. You know, you need to trust the process. It's going to happen like you're going to get an email from somebody, you're going to get a phone call from a literary agent, whoever it is, and they're going to look at this and go yeah, I want this, I want to represent this, and so so, after just avoiding my emails as much as possible, we finally found Joe Perry on Google and you know, we saw what he was all about and it wasn't even an hour after we sent our our proposal to him and he got back to us right away. And, you know, without him, without his without his guidance, without his positivity, without his words of puragement, honestly, like, I don't really know how I would have made through the process. And there's still so there's still so many more things we want to do with this thing and beyond. But you know, knowing that I didn't just get an agent from Joe, I got a friend in the process and you know, same with rob, like I didn't just get a CO author, like I got a friend. I got a friendship by the deal, and so I think that's what's been great with this process is I didn't just get guys who were in it, you know, for money or in it for fame, like I got it. I got guys who had the same vision as me, and I end up getting two incredible friendships out of you as well. Yeah, it is really amazing what all goes into a book, and I think a lot of people don't I understand. Yeah, in terms of like they're like, oh, yeah, it's just the writing part of it. It's like no, there's way more than that. And like I have a lot of friends mine who were like, Oh, well, when's it going to be out? Like, like after I got done writing it, they were like, Oh, you know, you're gonna, you'RE gonna put it out this before Christmas. Christmas. I'm like no, like, I still gotta find an agent and then we got to find a publisher and then they'll go through another process and so, but it all happened just so quickly, like looking back on it, like for as long as a process I thought it was, it really did go by fast. And so, but again, it's just like you said, there's more than just writing a book and then saying Oh, here you go, go put it on Amazoncom and see what happens. Like no, there's more to the process. It's so but again, it taught me. It taught me try to be a little bit more patient and it also tossed me, or it also taught me to trust the process as well, you know, just not not just the book process, but any process, and they'd be patient with what the process we bring, for sure. And one other element of book writing that I hope every one that is an author or writer it's taking seriously as the cover. That's because, I mean, think of how many different places you can see books? YEA, in many cases they're next to other books through it's a bookstore online, things like that. So having a cover that stands out is certainly probably even more important in our covid age now where people are just scrolling digitally, and I your cover, I think very nicely encapsulates what the book is about. It's you hanging out on a basketball court and your comfort environment. It's very clear what you know, what people can expect from it. Was that something that you always had your like, I want to be on the cover, or did that just kind of evolve over time? It just involved over time, because I really didn't think about all, you know, I want to be on the cover, like I want to do this, like no, I didn't think about that at all. And obviously you know I press. You know,...

...they wanted my opinion on it and I told them what I wanted to see and but there was no words to them of Oh, yeah, I want to be on the cover. I had no idea what's it'spect. I just kind of told them what I was hoping I would get and they were going through some photos and the photo that you saw in the cover, you know, was it from a photo shoot I did with mge department civil rights, so I currently work for. It was to promote the relentless tour, which is my anti bullying is shit I I do nationwide now, and it was to promote the relowless store. But I you pressed, look data said we really like this because this is you standing in your safe zone, which the gym was always my it was my safetone on my happy place. The Gym was always a place for me to get away from everything. So, you know, one of the things about being on the spectrum is that, you know, growing up, I did, and still this day, I had a tough time understanding nouns, verbs, idiom, sarcasm and jokes, and you know, and I have a lot of high stress and high anxiety levels on a few things, and so whenever those things would just creep up to a level I couldn't control, I would grab my mom's car keys and go to the gym and my high school Je for like two hours to shoot, because that was my way of just getting away from everything and helping me calm down and realize that you know what you focus on, shoot putting that ball in the who you focus on your free throwsing and jump shots. So then help me call me. But after they sent me that that cover photo, I was like, yeah, in a way like me being in the gym, first of all, in the arena that I drift and I dront of playing for since I was eight years old, and then second of all, for it to be the safe place, one of the same many safe place that I had growing up. I was like if it's perfectly and so I was very I was very satisfied with how it turned out. And and again, like you said, it stands out and, like you said, you want to cover that stands out, and I think that's exactly what you know, I. You press had in mind and they did a couple job with it. You've mentioned a couple times that you are also do speaking. You're traveling across the country to speak to people. So we've got a couple questions. What can people expect from a speech? But also, obviously, in pandemic times you're probably not traveling nearly a thrish doing more kind of virtual things. But when you are traveling, what is your Goto item that you have to bring? Well, the pans are your first question. You know what people can expect from a speech is they can expect a guy who's very high, energetic and who brings a message that hits home to a lot of people, you know. So one of my main messages from an anti bulliing standpoint is be careful what you're saying do to others, because you never know that person will be like a future and going out and not just being a change. We're going on make that change, and especially to the students. The one thing that I think that separates me, Joey, from any other anti bullying speaker is, you know, I'm real with these students, like I don't be as them, like I talk to them, you know, like their adults. Unless it's the elementary school age, I try to talk down a little bit, talk down to their age a little bit, but as far as like middle school in high school, like I don't be as them, like everything that I tell them is from my heart. Like I don't use powerpoints, I don't do any of that stuff, because one of the things I got from students is that they're not big in that stuff. Like they want to hear the real stories, which is what I bring to the table. And so but yeah, like the they're going to get a guy who wants to bring as much entered, positive energy and much inspiration as possible and I got one goal and that's to go out and inspire one person. Like to inspire one person, even if that's all it takes, this one, because that's all it takes. The life is just inspiring one person. That's always been my goal to make an impact, leaving impact. He is just that one person, because so if I inspire one person and at any school or any conference I go to, then my job is done. And then the other presentation I have is transition, transition in life with autism. So that's about my life, how I transition from elementary, Middle School, High School of College to where I'm next day. But they're going to get a guy who's very high energy, who wants to inspire a lot of people and it's going to bring his a game. The one item that I have to have with me, Oh man Um, I think for me, and I'm not wearing it now because it's in my my draw upstairs, but I...

...have a I have a chain with my with my kids names on it, and that's the one thing I always have to wear, and you know, because it reminds me that I'm not just I'm not just autism Advica, I'm not just motivational speaker, but I'm also a husband and our father as well. And wearing that chain underneath my sure is number one. It tells, it reminds me that I'm a father, but it also reminds me that same time that, you know, I'm more than just than just a motivational speaker. I'm more than just a warm basketball player, like I'm a parent and you know, and having my kids on my mind like twenty four hours, seven days a week. There's nothing wrong with that either. It's yeah, that's a fantastic thing to bring with you. And Yeah, if you're across the country, yeah, just bound at them and be like all right, this is good, this is good. Now, you just just from chatting with you for a little bit and seeing, I you know, some of some of your videos from the past, like you've very comfortable speaking in front of a group of people. Not Not everyone. I'll put the older NFL joke of I works like death is the number two fear at public speaking of the number one here. So if you're at a funeral, you'd rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy. Now still, even in our virtual times, people have some tenuousness with public speaking, even if they're in an office setting or something where it's just presenting to their colleagues or anything like that. So for people that maybe aren't as comfortable on a stage or in front of a group of people, do you have kind of a go to tip or piece of advice? So the one thing I've always told people is to obviously, number one, breaster speech before you do it and number two, speak slowly, because, you know, I helped coach girls high school ball here in lavoing, a Churchill High School, and you know a lot of our girls like practice their speeches for like, you know, speaking for senior night or speech class, and they always come to me because they you know, I'm always on the circuit speaking and they always and they go right through the speech like a hundred miles an hour. And the one thing I always say I love the speech, but slow down just a little bit, because you don't want all you don't want to get all your words out there so quickly that people can understand you. And so it's I've always told people, you know, slow down and I think most of all is that just be yourself. You know, don't go up there trying to prove to the world they oh yeah, I could do public speaking. This is that? No, like, just be yourself and be who you are, because I think that's the one thing that I'm a lot of people respect about a lot of speakers, is that they're just being themselves. And I think that's the reason why I've want over so many not just you know middle school, high school and elementary audiences around the country, but that's why I've won a lot of you know, respect, you know from people in the conference, in an events world, because I just I just go out there and be me. I don't want to, you know, try and be something that I'm not. And, yeah, because I was always taught that mouth from my parents. It's just to be yourself, and so that's always going to be you know, one of my biggest advices to people who are in public speaking is just go out to yourself and you know you're going to get some backlash and I think this is one thing, Joey, that I've learned right aways that, you know, my goal early on, like maybe a year in my career, was, oh yeah, go inspire everybody. Well, I soon came to realize that you're not going to inspire everybody. You're not going to always please a lot of people, because they're going to be some folks out there who don't like what you do, who don't like what you say. You know, that's that's the world we're living because everybody in the world to day has an opinion. And you know, I tell kids all the time I respect everybody's opinion, you know, because that's just who I am. But are there some opinions that are wrong? Yeah, absolutely, but you're not going to tell that person straight up because you don't want to make your fights like I do that my friends all the time. Like you know, if one of my friends, I'll use sports as a good example. It's one of my friends, say Oh yeah, well, Lebron's the greatest of all time, I'll be like, you know, I respect your opinion, but no, Michael's the greatest of all time, and then then it gets into a debate, an argument, which I try to avoid so much. But, you know, just being yourself and just knowing that, you know, as long as you feel like you're doing good at what you do, as long as you feel like you did a good job, but other people you know don't feel that way. You know what, don't worry about other...

...people thoughts in the pains because in life only one person slots in the pains in Your Life Matha Post and that's yours. So be yourself and just worry about you and don't worry about the naysayers or what anybody else has and thanks. Lave it. And now for your Michael and Lebron argument to the space jams as well. Okay, it's not even close. Stam one that significantly. Apparently my kids watched it, you know, when it came out, Hbo Max and I haven't seen in order. I want yeah, because I'm the original. You know. If you're thinking thing, because you know I've seen the previews, I'm like, Oh, like Michael. It was perfect because Michael was in retirement. The looney tunes brought them out of retirement and you had guys like Paduck, you and Charles Barklay lose there. It was just so cool. It's just so cool. And then my wife came out to me. I sell, how's the movie? She goes, yeah, it's not that good. I was like, I figure, because it's not the original. It's not the original and so. But yeah, I mean space jam one all day. It's name close and they had one of the greatest movie sound tracks of all time too. Yeah, that's the that's the other element that immediately jumped out at me. It's like, I couldn't tell you a single song space dright. No, I was just like, I mean, I remember music being in there, but it was always just kind of like the way the way the eat spaced on one integrates the music so much better than it and also specim to two hours long. Yeah, it's long for that type of move. That's too long, man. And like I felt like the looney tunes weren't like the original looney tune cartoons, like from an animated standpoint, whereas space jam in that mid s, like that was what cartoons look like back day. Yeah, it's a lot of a lot of AI and tech. Yeah, sort of things in this new one, which I mean for the kids who are into it, sure, but not. It's not amen. Now you also have your own podcast, the centered podcast. was that something that you also always wanted to do, or did it kind of become after you'd written the book? You're like hey, we can keep talking about this, let's do a podcast. It was actually something that just came to my mind during the pandemic because I saw a lot of my buddies, a lot of my friends and who are pro athletes or even like non athletes, start up their own podcasts and they just, you know, whether it was about sports or politics. You know, that's why I was like, I was like, you know what, I'm not doing much these days except just sitting at home, working from home and doing like two to three, you know, presentations a month. I was like, you know what, why not just start a podcast? You know, why not just start it? And so and that's what I did. So basically what the center podcast is it's, you know, it's just it's just talk show. It's just a talk show and I bring people on. I talked about where they're from, their hometowns, like. So it's like a talk show, getting to know people better and, you know, I know I interviewed a Jay Billis the other day who works for Espn, who also wrote a blurb from my book along with Nick Sabin at Alabama, and just sitting, just sitting there talking with Jay for an hour and a half just getting to know who he is outside of you know who he is on the TV and ESPN, and it's just incredible conversation. I've had some pretty good guests on lately and it's something I want to continue for a while, you know. And then, and I recently just started my own merchandise schooling to you know, which if anybody wants to get a get a couple tshirts merchandise and go to my website. Anything I NEEDEDCOM and look on the march page. But yeah, like, but once I started, after the first few episodes, I was like I really like this, I really like this and you know, I got to think you may laugh at this, I got to give a shout out to Chris Jericho, you know, of aw the wrestler, because you know he has a he has a podcast of his own and once I started listening to it, I got really invested with how he talked to his guests and how he got to know his guests, and that's that's where I got the idea from. I was like, okay, I want to do something based off of Chris Jericho's podcast. So he kind of gave me that inspiration to go and do it. But I've had a lot of fun doing it and you know, we're on Itunes, we're on spotify, Odysseycom so and we're on Youtube as well, you know, at the center podcast. So if anybody wants to check it out, it's poor. You know, I'd be grateful. Awesome. Who Knew Chris Jericho with such a...

...pioneer new CA's row? Who Knew Man? That's fantastic. Now you've you've kind of been touching on that throughout the conversation, but I always like to ask people a question they wish they were asked more frequently. And for you, your question was who is my inspiration in life? So tell us who's your inspiration? It's my father, you know, because my dad, you know, my dad always has had a quote, you know, whenever he's taught to people, that he said to heroes in his life. One is his late father, my grandfather, who passed in next and then he said next any time. And then and then he sent me, and that's the first time you said that to me. Is when I got really choked up an emotional because I was like, why am I here? Hero on, like I'm your son, obviously, but why me? And I guess. I guess he told me because of everything I've been through my life, all the doubters, all the bullying, all the obstacles and challenge I had to go I've had overcome growing up with autism. But my dad is always inspire me because he was. He was the one who always taught me to block out the noise that's around you because, you know, if you have something, if you have a task that needs to get done, if you have a goal in mine, you have a dream of mine that you sept for yourself, you can't worry about the outside noise. If you do, it is going to drive you crazy and you will fail. So He's always taught me to block out that outside noise, always believing yourself, because if you don't believe himself and life, nobody else will. And he always taught me too that, you know, the harder you work, the more you were and that's always been his motto from Day One, and that's always been mine, you know, ever since and taught me that. And you know, any chance I get, you know, to play eighteen holes of golf and my dad, whenever I get a chance is it's always a special moments like that. For me because, you know, my dad is just and not just my dad but my mom too. I mean, they done so much for me that I really don't know how I can repay them because of everything they done and everything they sacrifice from me. But they could easily said, you know, their expectations for me were always up here, but the day I was told my, quote unquote, my future faith, they could easily just thrown in the towel and be like now, like our kid has no chance because, again, I told you, the begame, there was no resources, rottens, there was no patholic guide its. Other time they didn't know what to do, but they found a way and if there were days that I tested them, I pushed them, or there were days I have bad days, they still found a way. And so I guess you could say not only you know, was my dad, my one of my biggest inspirations, but both my parents, because of everything they did for me, they sacrifice for me. I'm not who I end the day without them, and so I'm just I'm just beyond grateful and blessed to have two incredible parents that I have. It is amazing how supportive parents can really help just accomplish anything like it's so great. No question here. All right, anthony, you're almost off the hook. But they always like to end with a top three and for you, very fitting top three sports movies. MMM, Oh man, so I'm going to go from let me go from one to three. So number one, remember the titans. I love, remember the titans. I actually, I actually got to meet the Real Herman Boone at one of our all HC meetings out five, six years ago. It was just awesome just to like pick his brain and just like talk about what it was like back then and what it's like now comparison. It was just awesome. Number two would be hoosiers. I Love Gene Hackmen in that movie and it also kind of reminds me of, you know, my junior high school when we went to the State Championship game but we lost, but we had our entire community follow us everywhere we go, and so Connon so who's yours reminds me of that. But who's always be my favorite. and number three is rudy. I know a lot of people you know, especially from Michigan State Man Base, and may look at me go why, why is that your top three? But and like I've always loved, you know, Rudy Story of how, you know, like me, he dreamt up playing for Notre Dame as a kid. Had A lot of challenges and obstacles to overcome to get to Notre daame and then to be able to play in Notre Dame stadium...

...for one of the most historical football programs of all time is, you know, and it's underdog and inspirational story in itself and I just admired it so much. And who knows, you know, I hope you know I get me. I hope that centered my book is the Opportunity One day to be put on screen and that then we can start having debates out who had the best true underdogs story. Was it Notre Dame or was a Michigan State? Those are my top three right there. Remember the titans, hoosers and Ruby accellent. When I would when that happens, when your movie becomes I when Your Book becomes a movie, I should say, well, I am happy to be an extra in the background. I've been told I'm very good at doing like background work and things, just from years of school projects and all that. So if you need someone that can make that happen, but we make it happen. We awesome. Weill, Anthony. Thank you so much for hopping on the PODCAST. People want to learn more about you, check out your book, your podcast, all that good stuff. Where can I find you? So they can also find me at Anthony I Ancom, which is my personal website as well as my business website. So, Antony, I Aycom and hopefully hear from guys Bam. Awesome will anthony. Thank you again for taking the time to chat. Thank you, Joey. I appreciate it absolutely. We got to end with a Corny joke, as we always do this. Why is it a bad idea to play basketball in the jungle, Oh man, why is it a bad idea to my basketball in the jungle? Because it rains, because there's too many cheetahs? Good afterward. Today people, good people cool things is produced in Austin, Texas. If you were a fan of this episode, go ahead and hit that follow button. That helps more people here the show. You can send me a message, Joey, at good people, cool thingscom. Thank you to all of the guests who have been on good people, cool things and check out all the old episodes via good people, cool thingscom as always, thank you for listening and have a Wonderful Day.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (141)