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Good People, Cool Things
Good People, Cool Things

Episode 80 · 2 months ago

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 podcastfuture and conversations with entrepreneurs, writers, musicians andother creatives get inspired by their stories to do your own cool thing andhere's. Your host Joey held welcome to good people cool things.Today's guest is Anthony, IANI, author of centred autism, basketball and oneathlete's dreams. Anthony is the first player in NCAA history to playbasketball with autism. He played at Michigan State under coach Tom Aso madea final for one, multiple, big ten championships, and here I am over herewith the Miami Hurricanes, my Alma Mater, making the sweet sixteen liketwice and that's it love the cans, but Michigan Statedefinitely has much more basketball success, including beating Miami in theNCO tournament a few years back, but that's okay, we're not letting thatthere'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 toplay basketball all the things that he's done along the way were trottingabout all of it. We're talking book marketing tips, we're talking aboutspace jam, one versus space jam, a new legacy. There's lots going on here.Even if you're, not a basketball fan, you'll find plenty to enjoy, and if youare a basketball fan who we got a good one in store for you. If you like toget in touch with the show, you can reach out joey at good people, coolthings com. You can also follow the show at G P, CT podcast on facebook,twitter or Instagram, and if you're, real friendly, you can head on over toapple podcast, leave a review, probably five stars, but you know what you doyou 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, butsometimes people don't respond nicely ty yelling. So I get it and with that, let's hop into theconversation with Anthony for people who don't know who you are. Can yougive us your elevator pitch, and can you also tell us the type of elevatorthat you're writing on? Oh Man, Ye Teiso? For me, the type of elevator Ithink for me would be just like, like a golden elevator, with a lot of roomlike why and hit because for people who don't know me, I'm six foot, nine andso I'm a very tall individual. So I need to have like you know, tallceilings and, like you know, wide area, so I could like fit in places sodefinitely a tall golden elevator and that it shoots out. You know the hotelor factory or whatever, like Willie Walker. Just like goes all over theplace. So that's that's. Definitely my tech that so, besides you being sixnine. What else should we know about you so well, first of all, you know I'm a national motationspeaker and a national autism type building avocat I've been the speakingcircuit now for the last Jeez it'll be nine years of small, which is crazy,how how fast time flies, but I'm also the first division, one collegebasketball player in INA history with autism kind of how my story goes. I wasdiagnosed with P DD, ANA less when I was four years old and I was kind ofduring a time period, Joey, where nobody really knew what autism was.Nobody knew a lot of the characteristic for it. There was no warenes sport itand there was definitely no resources, guidance and pathways to help familiesand individuals who are impacted by it during that time, and then, a yearlater, when I was five years old, a group of Gothers, a fessional, told myfamily that, because I have autism, I would barely succeed or achieveanything in life. They told my family that I would barely graduate from highschool, never go to college, never be an athlete, and I would likely likelyand up in a group institution with other artistic individuals like myself,for the rest of my life, wasn't till the story to my freshman or high school,so that was kind of like my motivation will improve those people and then theother daughers, and they shares, have my life wrong and we're hardedeverything everything from basketball to my social life on in school,especially because I wasn't the smartest kid around, but I a supportfrom family friends, coaches teammates,...

...just everybody, and so I went on tograduate from alcomotive two thousand and seven one on a grand ally StateUniversity for two years on a full scholarship of best lock. For that theythink why work out. For me, there signed up going to Michigan StateUniversity where I live, live ultimate dream of not only going to my dreamschool but also playing for you know a guy, a coach I've always wanted to playunder, and that was Tom Hizo I was walk on for two years. Was Put on a fullscholarship. My senior year was part of a couple big ten championship teams, ateam in one, a big ten tournament, title team that went to a final fourgot to play with a great group of guys that I'm proud of called my brothers. So I graduate with a degreesociogenesis something that people that an ever be able to do so see th. That'sdefinitely me an a hard piece. So basically, you just told thenaysayers non Eno yeah we're going to get we're going to put you down. Thatwas the thing and that's kind of how it's been like. I guess you could saythat's kind of how it's been my whole life, because you know I've always gonethrough lifewith, a chip on my shoulder. You know at the same time it's ablessing and a curse. I say it's a blessing because of there are stillpeople out there to this day that doubt my abilities as an advocate as amotivation speaker, even as a husband or a father like you know, I alwaysthrive up. Okay, I'll watch me I'm going to do this today. I'm going to dothat, but also at the same time like I sayit's a curse because I don't really need it anymore, because I've doneeverything I need to do in more, but there still were to be done as anadvocate and as a motivation speaker and I still got goals and dreams that Iwant to pursue and live. But you know there's nothing wrong with adding thatchip on your shoulder, and so you know when I was in high school or MiddleSchool. Somebody said: Oh, you can't do this. I would always look at thatperson's. Go all right. No! No! I bet against me because chances are you'regoing to lose and I'm going to prove you wrong. So, but you know I love thatI thrid off there and in stead o this day. You know I still get a goodfeeling off it to do. I have this right. I think I read this somewhere that youas a child, told coaches that you were going to play for Michigan State oneday I did and then you ended up doing it. Did he remember you was he like? Oh,you were the kid that Oh yeah, I said, I've got TA place all right, daysh yeah,so I've known coches o. You know for Jes now for it for twenty four years,so I first met it when I was eight years old and I got to meet him becausemy father was an athletic administrator than Michigan State and my dad retired,from athletic administrative work in two thousand and nineteen. So he was atUniversity of Virginia for a couple of years went to Aho University for tenyears it was at Michigan State for twenty six, so he was around and Cdouble athletics for almost forty years. So I was around football players:basketball, players. You know you name the team in Michigan State. I wasprobably around it because you know my dad got to do a lot of bet management,work at Michigan State and be a lot of those events and games. So after a lot of the home games forMichigan State Basketball, he would take me down the lock room. Take me onthe board, because I always thought that was really pretty cool at that age.He could get to go down in the court, I couldn't shoot. You know that was justthat was just a rule after games to I understood, but any time you got to goon to the court and just you know, look around and see you know fifteenthousand empty seats, but it was really cool, and so he just took me in thelock room and you know: Cochise was on his post game radio show at the time,and I sat on a couch and you know after he got done with the show him as thathim and my dad started talking a little bit and he looked at me and say: OhWho's, this my dad introduced me and we started talking, and he said you knowwhat do you want to do? I an you, get older, I say: Well, I want to playwithcote basketball. I want to play for you. I said this when I was eight yearsold and at that time I was serious and you know I was dead serious aboutplaying for him even as an eight year old and I think of the time you know. Ithink coaches are probably thought. Oh, you know no, that's cool. This is natyear old, Kay that has dreams of play for Michigan State, but I really don'tthink he actually saw it like come to fruition until I started you knowgetting recruited by a lot of the schools when I was in high schoolMichigan State included, but you know he's done wait for a long time, but Ithink when he saw me growing up as a kid and just seeing how hard I workedin the sport of basketball, I think he...

...really took notice and you know, eveneven though, when they were recruiting me, they didn't often me a for RedScholarship. They offered me a prefer walk on spot, even though I didn't takeit like. He actually suggested to me that I take the fool right off thegrand valley state, because I mean it's full right off or everything is takingcare of. You know your schools taking care of everything and he said where,if I went to Michigan Stans a walk in right off the bed, he wasn't sure if Iwas going to be a scholarship. So he definitely you know encouraged me totake that full ride. And but the one thing he said to me was but just knowthat the things don't work out for you at Grand Valley State just know thatyou have a locker and a Jersey here, waiting for it. If you want, if youever want it, and even when I crack some Grand Ali stay, that offer stillhell, and so, but you know for me to say that eight years old, a Frat andfor it to come true, like twelve years later, I mean nobody saw that coming,maybe except for me, because I always imagined it. I was train of it, but Idon't think anybody else. You know around me. You know, or even some folkson my family, even imagined that that was a coy reality. That's so cool, and I mean maybe thisis your answer to this question, but as a fellow basketball player, we alwayshave the moment yeah that we think 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 youhave a favorite basketball moment? Oh Man. Actually I do, but it's not actually amoment. It's like multiple moments. If you will, because you know you're a part of your part ofrivals, you know in any sport whether it's football basketball and when I wasin high school, we played a. We played a so som from Okami Michigan, which isright next to Michigan state literally, like a five eight minute drive in myhigh school is right next door campus. But when I was in high school, weplayed a team called full the whole high school rams and at the time wewere both, you know toime and the entire state, and we sold out all threegames. So the first time we played at hole which holds their gym, holds foursand. People and the game was sold out at three thirty. The freshman played infront of a sold out crowd. I and, as we got there, people started banging onour bus and a for a minute. I was like, Oh my, Oh, my God, we're being takenover my whole high school here. But then, when we looked out our windows,it was some of our students who were tailgating in the parking lot. Twentydegree weather this. You know charcoal and you know burgers. Hot Dogs brodslike guys, bought two kegs of root beer and it was rot beer because the policeofficers check the themselves and we walked into the gym and how holts Jimset up is. There's an indoor track. That's around the the court, but on oneside of the gym, it's the visiting side and then the other side is the homesection and we walked in on the visiting side. Our side went nuts andthen you walk to the other side and then we're getting Buda of the building.You know I cad you not. I had A- I don't know if he was in his early latesor MIS, but this old man was put me off in the crowd. I'm like dude, like I'mseventeen years all it was that right now like, but just that rivalry and USselling out not just that game. But then we sold out our game. You know andwe had standing room only to the point where they actually broadcasted thegame on live television. If you, if you couldn't get into the game, you go to asports bar, I watch the game and then we played a third time for the regionin the regional semi finals, and we played at a place called down JohnsonField House which is in downtown Lancing, sits about six and people wesold that we sold it out three hours for tip off, and so just just thosemoments right there. It really makes me think about how those are really oncein a lifetime moments, because now okami bolts, not even a rival, andwhenever I go back to the high my old high school and talk to the the currentplayers about that rivalry. We had, they were all looking me and go wait.You would hold Erial S, not you and East Lansing High School, I'm like yeahlike and they were like yeah like that's, not us man like it's es lanticfor us, I'm like let's say when we play the slants and we beat him up so bad.It wasn't give rivalry so but just living those moments, man justbeing a part of just incredible...

...rivalries, not just with Holt, but youknow, even the rival. You know we had against Michigan on out State when Iplay like those were moments, man that now all we stand out to me, it's so wild to think of like howintensive a rivalry it was, and now it's just like. Oh I don't know, Idon't know. Where is the Michigan State? Michigan rivalry will always be even asa former player like I'll play any more like. It still means something to me,because you know I have friends who went to Michigan. I had friends whoplayed at Michigan as well. I family member Super Michigan. So for me it'salways personal. My wife is always joking me like. Why is it so?Personally, you know to you, I'm like well, when you live the rivalry whenyou played it like it's personal, like you know, you kind of have to be a partof that rival to understand, but at the same time you know I thought,like you said it is funny how, like fifteen years ago, it was the hottestrivalry, not just in our area but throughout the entire state and thenfast for fifteen years late. I get students tell me no like whole time inour rival. It's like this one like like man, you guys really missed out of agood day, bad but yeah. They they didn't know howhow good it well. It was awesome. A good deal now, you've chronicled, Ireally your life and your whole experience of growing up with autismplaying basketball into a book called centered, autism, basketball and oneathlete's dreams. Why is now the right time for this book to be coming out,which drops September seventh? Do I have that right, yeah, yeah, yeah, I'mjust crazy, because my agent, we first signed with Indiana University press. You know last year, last summer, inJune, two thousand and twenty yea I was on the phone of my age and JoPeria par litery agency, and he was just like you know. Just wait. You knowbecause before you know it within a stamp on finger, you're going to bedoing, you know a bunch of press relate. You know, media stuff, you're going tobe like doing a bunch of podcast with people you're going to be out on theroad you know from in the book to events I was like yeah yeah, whateverI'm thinking, okay, he fothe way the way. Tents, one e's gone it's going togo by super slow. No, he wasn't kidding the fact that we're you know less thanthree weeks out from doing from this. I mean it's crazy, but you know theanswer. Your question. Why? Now Now? Why? Not because you know that this wassomething that I had talked about doing for a long long time. Even I, evenafter I graduated from college nine years ago, I always had thoseconversations with my mom and my dad about you know doing more with my storythan just going out to schools and conferences and events like I do now asa speaker and advocate and talking about it, and I also had a lot ofpeople my ear, and this is where I got to think school administrators that Iworked with they vote. They were always in my in my ear every year. Just sayyou know you need do this. You need to write the you write a book. You knowyou put what your entire story into one giant Buggin and somebody brought agood point to me, joy, and that was somebody said to me. Whenever you goand speak to conferences in schools, you only maybe talk about one, aquarter of your life story, O they don't know the entire gist of it. Andthat's when I started thinking. I was like no what I inspired a lot of groupof kids out there in the country and around the state of Michigan said, butyou know what they've only heard a little bit of my life story, so maybe Ican spire them even more if they read the entire. You know just on my lifeand and there's so many things that you know I don't want to get too muchdetails about, but there are so many things that I put in that book that Ifeel like could help families and students in educated, who are impactedby somebody alism. So, for example, me and my co of the rap keys, who did anincredible job, you know helping me write the book we put some of my IEP my individualizededucation plan, evaluations in there and there's a lot of personal stuff inthose evaluation plans that I looked at it first and I was like that said. I Idon't know about this like a lot of the stuff is too personal to me. Like Idon'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'sbest for you to think a it is, what's...

...going to be best for those readers whoare impacted by autism thet S, this, how you are evaluated in what you werelike as a first grader compared to where you're at now the point is, is togive these families, educators and individuals. Hope that's what these aregoing to provide and the more and more I kept reading it. The more more I keptreviewing. I was like you know what he's right, and so you know I'm justsuper excited to be able for everybody to read. You know not just about mylife story but to also be more educated on what the Autis nspect ive is andwhat autism is in general because we're still like you know, we're still tryingto bring more awareness in awareness, advocacy work, and you know acceptancefor the autistic community and I'm hoping that's what this book willprovide. But I also had somebody else say to me:You know watching a book or really launch your career to bigger heightsthat you've never seen, and so I'm not saying that's why I did it because youknow I had a lot of people say you know. Process will be fun. It's been a lot offine doing it, but I'm really excited to see. You knowwhere this could take me from a career standpoint and as well as what it coulddo for others in the community as well. Let's talk about that process a littlebit because I think, that's always obviously various from back of thewriting process and working with a CO author as well. I adds another elementto it where you're able to cut of bounce ideas off each other. Like that,so take us into your writing process. Based on your speaking, did you alreadyhave a kind of like an outline of what you wanted to do, or was it kind ofstarting just with everything that was in your head and trying to get it down?I did it so what so? Basically, what happened was so I was working with anotherindividual, the Cristal Ari, who works for Detroit repress and he coversMishka state football and basketball. He's a B writer, and so Chris and Italked about doing the project at first and then he got hired as the head beatwriter and a scheduled didn't have enough time for it, and so but rob washelping us at it. You know just kind of look over things and so rob believe itor not. I hope this makes sense. He is my resource room teachers husband'scousin. So it's my research in teachers husband's cousin. So that's how theconnection was made and so rob and I got together over dinner and we justsat down. We started talking and I told him what my vision was. I said I wantto put you know: I want to put my entire life story in print. I want toput it all out there. I want to even the smallest details. I want it inthere and he never written the book before, but he graduated fromJournalism School at Michigan State University. So we have that Michigaconnection, but he got a lot of friends. You know in the writing field who areauthors and they worked with him and gave him advice and so rob, and I justsat down and we did like four or five interviews in a span of a month- andyou know he asked me all these great questions. You know he want me like. Isaid he wanted me to give me him every smallest detail possible to throw it inthe book and what he did was he tried to make it like movie like. So if I wasdescribing like what kind of a table I worked at in first grade, you know I describedlike the shape of the table and the color of the table, because that's whatthat's what he want. It was like a movie like description of everything inthe book, and so so he did an a credible job and justfor us to be able to communicate one out of one and be able to bounce ideasoff each other and be able to be like okay. This looks go, let's put this inhere, Hey. What do you think about this? Now? I don't know: let's leave that outand we weren't afraid to post each other up on some things, and there weresomething he didn't like that. I said he would say: Hey, let's, let's not dothat. If there was some, I didn't like him. A book you'd be like okay, not abig deal so, but the fact that our communicationwith each other and we had that same vision to we want this to be not justthe best autism book out there, but we want this to be the best book out thereperiod and the goal for us. I mean the goal for every author. Is You want itto be a best seller like? That's always, you know the goal, but for robbing me,I think our main goal was. You know to make sure that we create a book, that'sboth educational and both exciting, because you know in a lot of ways somepeople, some folks, have compared my sstory to rudy. You know the Great Foot,you know the great story of Rudy...

Rudy, Rudy Rudeger from note Dan andthe movie Roti, and so and rob was like all right. We want this to be the nextgenerations, bruty, that's what we want, and so we just we just did it man. I think thetoughest part of the process, though, was was trying to stay patient. Thatwas the most difficult process because after we had finished it, it took usabout to a score must to write it from May till about early mid Septemberfault, two thousand and eighteen, and then the toughest part was sending itto literary agents. Who would look at it see if it would fit with them andthen trying to go through that process? Finding a publisher that was hardbecause I'm not the I'm, not the most patient person in the world, but thenagain who is right, but I would just keep checking my phone every fiveminutes, refresh refresh refreshed 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 happenlike you're, going to get an email from somebody you're going to get a phonecall from a literary, a whoever it is, and they're going to look at this andgo yeah. I want this. I want to represent this, and so so, after justavoiding my emails as much as possible, we finally found Joe Perry on Googleand you know we saw what he was all about and it wasn't even an hour afterwe sent our our proposal to him and he got back tous right away and you know without him, without his without his guidancewithout his positivity, without his words of urgent honestly, like I, don'treally know how I would have made through the process and there's stillso there's still so many more things. We want to do with this thing andbeyond, but you know knowing that I didn't just get an agent from Joe. Igot a friend in the process and you know same with rob like I didn't justget a call off there. Like I got a friend, I got a friendship out of thedeal, and so I think that's what's been great. With this process is, I didn'tjust get guys who were in it? You know for money or in it for fame. Like I gotit, I got guys who had the same vision as me, and I ended up getting toincredible friendships out to do as well yeah. It is really amazing what allgoes into a book and I think a lot of people don't understand in terms of like they'relike Oh yeah, it's just the writing part of it, and it's like no there'sway more than that and, like I have a lot of friends of mine who are like ohwell, when's it going to be out like like after I got done, writing it. Theywere like. Oh, you know you're gonna, you gonna put it out this beforeChristmas Christmas, I'm like no like, I still got to find an agent and thenwe got to fight a publisher and then they'll go through another process, andso, but it all happened just so quickly like looking back on it like for aslong as a process, I thought it was. It really did go by fast, and so, butagain it's just like you said, there's more than just writing a book and thensaying, Oh here, you go, go put it on Amazon Com and see what happens like nothere's more to the process it. So, but again it taught me. It taught me try tobe a little bit more patient and it also tossed me. It also taught me to trust the processas well. You know just not just the book process, but any process and it bepatient of what the process will bring for sure and one other element of book.Writing that I hope everyone that is an author or writer is taking seriously isthe cover, because I mean think of how many different places youcan see, but yeah in many cases, they're next to other Bunster. It's abookstore online things like that, so having a cover that stands out iscertainly probably even more important in our coved age. Now where people arejust scrolling digitally and your cover, I think very nicely incaculate what the book is about. It's you hanging out on a basketball courtin your comfort environment. It's very clear what you know what people canexpect from it was that something that you always had your like. I want to beon the cover, or did that just kind of evolve over time. It just involved overtime, because I really didn't think about. Oh, you know I want to be on thecover it like. I want to do this like no, I didn't think about that at all,and obviously you know I oppress. You...

...know they wanted my opinion on it and Itold them what I wanted to see and but there was no words to them up. Oh yeah,I want to be on the cover. I had no idea what to expect. I just kind oftold them what I was hoping I would get and they were going through some photosand the photo that you saw on the cover you know was from a photo shoot. I Daywith Michigan Department of Civil Rights who I currently worked for. Itwas to promote the relentless tour, which is my anti billing in the Shitai,do nation wide now and it was to promote the relay store. But I upestlooked at and said we really like this, because this is you standing in yoursafe zone, which the gym was always my. It was my safe stone in my happy place.The Gym was always a place for me to get away from everything. So you knowone of the things about being on the spectrum is that you know growing upand still this day at a tough time, understanding, nouns verbs, idiom,sarcasm, jokes and you know- and I have a lot of high stress and high anxietylevels on a few things andd. So whenever those things would just creepup to a level I could cantrall, I would grab my mom's car keys and go to thegym and my High School Jeffer like two hours on the shoot, because that was myway of just getting away from everything and helping me calm down andrealize that you know what you focus on shoot. Putting that ball in the hoop.You focus on your free thos and jump shots, so they help me call me, butafter they sent me that that cover photo, I was like yeah in a way like mebeing in the gym. First of all, the arena that I drink and that dump aplaying for since I was eight years old and then, second of all, for to be thesafe place. One of the SA many safe places that I had growing up, I waslike, if it's perfectly, and so I was very- I was very satisfied with how itturned out and and again like you said it stands out and, like you said, youwant to cover that stands out and I think that's exactly what, but you knowI press had in mind and they did a heck of e job with it, and you've mentioneda couple times that you are also do speaking you're traveling across thecountry to speak to people. So we've got a couple questions. What can peopleexpect from a speech but also, obviously, in pandemic times, you're,probably not traveling, nearly as wretch doing more kind of virtualthings, but when you are traveling? What is your go to item that you haveto bring? Well the the answer? Your firstquestion, you know what people can expect from a speech is they can expecta guy who's very high, energetic and who brings a message that hits home toa lot of people. You know so one of my main messages from an anti bullingstandpoint is be careful. What you're saying due to others, because you neverknow that person will be like a future and going out and not just being thechange, but going out make that change and especially to the students. The onething that I think that separates me, joy from any other inside buildingspeaker is, you know, I'm real with these students, like I don't Beste likeI talk to them. You know like they're adults unless it's the elementaryschool age and I try to talk down in a little bit talk down to their age alittle bit, but as far as like middle school and high school, like I don't bestem like everything that I tell them is from my heart. Like I don't usepower points, I don't do any of that stuff, because one of the things I gotfrom students is that they're, not big in that stuff, like they want to hearthe real stories, which is what I bring to the table and so but yeah like they're, going to get aguy who wants to bring as much and positive energy and much inspiration ispossible and I got one goal and that's to go out and inspire one person liketo inspire one person. Even if that's all it takes is one because that's allit takes to live is just inspiring one person. That's always been my goal tomake an impact, leave an impact. He just just not one person, because so,if I expire one person and at any school or any conference I go to thanmy job is done, and then the other presentation I have is transitiontransitioning life with autism. So that's about my life, how I transitionfrom elementary Middle School High SchoolCollege were next day but they're going to get a guy who'svery high energy who wants to aspire a lot of people and it's going to bringhis a game. The one item that I have to have with me, Oh man, I think for me-and I'm not wearing it now, because...

...it's in my to my drawer upstairs, but Ihave A. I have a chain with my with my kids names on it and that's the onething I always have to wear, and you know because it reminds me that I'm notjust I'm not just an autism Avocat, I'm not just motivation speaker when I'malso a husband and a father as well and wearing that chain under like my sire,is number one. It tells what it reminds me that I'm a father, but it alsoreminds me that the same time that you know I'm more than just than just amotivation, speak on more than just a Wan basketball player. Like I'm, aparent- and you know, and having my kids on my mind, like twenty four hoursseven days a week, there's nothing wrong with that either I yeah that's a fantastic thing tobring with you and yeah if you're across the country, yeah just look downat that and be like all right. This is good. This is good! Now you just justfrom chatting with you for a little bit and seeing I you know some of some ofyour videos from the past, like you're, very comfortable speaking in front of agroup of people, not not everyone else, O with the oldFel joke of I wore it's like death is the number two fear and public speakersa number O. So if you're at a funeral you'd rather be in the casket thandoing the eulogy now still, even in our virtual times,people have some tenuous ness with public speaking, even if they're in anoffice setting or something where it's just presenting to their colleagues oranything like that. So for people that maybe aren't as comfortable on a stageor in front of a group of people, do you have kind of a go to tip or pieceof advice. So the one thing I've always told people is to obviously number onebreaker speech before you. Do it and number two speak slowly, because youknow I help coach Girls High School Ball here in the Bola Church in highschool, and you know a lot of our girls like practice. Their speeches for, likeyou know, speak for senior night or speech class and they always come to mebecause they, you know, I'm always on the circuit speaking and they alwaysand they go right through the speech like a hundred miles an hour and theone thing t I would say I love the speech but slow down just a little bitbecause you don't want all you don't want to get all your words out there soquickly that people can't understand you, and so so I've always told peopleyou know slow down and- and I think most of all is that just be yourself,you know, don't go up there. Trying to prove to the world a Oh yeah, I coulddo public speaking this and that no like just be yourself and be who youare because I think that's the one thing that a lot of people respectabout a lot of speakers is that they're just being themselves, and I thinkthat's the reason why I've won over. So many, not just you, know: Middle School,high, school and elementary audiences around the country by that's why I havewon a lot of you know, respect you know from people in the conference an eventsworld, because I just I just go out there and be me- I don't want to you-know, try and beat something that I'm not, and you because I was alwaystaught that from my parents. It's just to be yourself, and so that's alwaysgoing to be. You know one of my biggest advices to people who are in publicspeaking is just go out by yourself and you know you're going to get somebacklash, and I think this is one thing. Joy that I learned right away is thatyou know my goal early on, like maybe a year in my career was oh yeah, goinspire. Everybody well as soon came to realize that you're not going to expire.Everybody you're not going to always please a lot of people, because thereare going to be some folks out there who don't like what you do. Who Don'tlike what you say. You know. That's that's the word we live in becauseeverybody in the World Ay. Has it a Bingo, and you know I tell kids all thetime. 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 notgoing to tell that person straight out because you don't want make your fightslike. I do that, my friends, all the time like you know, if I'm one of myfriends I'll use sports as a good example, is one of my friends say: OhYeah Lebron is the grace of all time I'll be like you know. I respect youropinion, but now Michael's a great small time. Then then, it gets into adebate argument which I try to avoid so much, but you know just being yourself and justknowing that you know as long as you feel likeyou're doing good at what you do as long as you feel like you did a goodjob, but other people, you know, don't...

...feel that way. You know what don'tworry about other people's touts and the pinions, because in life only oneperson stops in opinon your life afther most and that's yours so be yourselfand just worry about you and don't worry about the Nex Sayers or whatanybody else says and thinks love it, and now for your Michael and Lebron arga the space jams as well. Okay, it's not even close Tam Wan significantly. Apparently my kids watched it. You knowwhen it came out. HBAI I haven't seen in ordiance, I'm the original. You knowif your thinking thing, because you know I've seen the previews and I'mlike. Oh, like Michael, it was perfect because Michael was in retirement. Thelimy tuns brought him out of retirement and you had guys like agric on CharlesBarclay lose her. It was just so cool, it's just so cool and then my wife cameout to me. I said Oh how's, the movie. She goes yeah, it's not that good. Iwas like I figure, because it's not the original, it's not the original, and sobut yeah. I mean space gym one all day its time of close and they had one ofthe greatest movie soundtracks of all time to yeah. That's the that's! The otherelement that immediately jumped out at me as, like. I couldn't tell you asingle some space to know. I was just like I mean I remember music being inthere, but it was always just kind of like the way. The way the space on oneintegrates, the music is so much better than it, and also spite to two hours,long yeah, O for that type of move. T that's too long. Man and like I feltlike the luny tunes weren't like the original Luny Tom cartoons, like from aanimated standpoint, whereas space gentman at mid is like that was whatcartoons look like that day. Yeah it's a lot, a lot of ai and tech,yeah, sort of things in this new one, which I mean for the kids who are intoit sure, but no, it's not an now. You also have your own podcast.The centered podcast was that something that you also alwayswanted to do, or did it kind of become after you had written the book you'relike Hey, we can keep talking about this. Let's do a poggatacut actuallysome that just came to my mind during the pandemic, because I saw a lot of mybuddies. A lot of my friends and who are pro athletes are even like. NotAthletes Start up their own podcast and they just you know whether it was aboutsports or politics. You know that's why I was like. I was like you know whatI'm not doing much these days, except just sitting at home, working from homeand doing like two to three. You know presentations a month. I was like youknow what why not to start a podcast. You know why not just start it and soand that's what I did so. Basically what the center podcast is. It's, noit's just it's just talk, show it's just a talk show and I bring people on.I talk about where they're from their home towns like so it's like a tog showgetting to know people better, and you know I know I interviewed J billiteother day who works for span, who also wrote a lure for my book, along withNextan at Alabama and just sitting just sitting there talking with Ja for anhour and a half just getting to know who he is outside of. You know who heis on the TV and ESPN. It's just incredible conversation. I've had somepretty good guests on lately and it's something I want to continue for awhile. You know and then an I recently just started my own merchandise coolingto you know which, if anybody wants to geta G T A couple, t shirts merchandise and go to my website, anthem and lit onthe 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 thinkyou may laugh at this. I got to give a shout out to Chris Jericho. You know ofa w the wrestler, because you know he has a. He has a podcast of his own andonce I started listening to it, I got really invested with how he talked tohis guest and how he got to know his guest, and that's that's where I gotthe idea from I was like okay. I want to do something based off of ChrisJericho'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 were onspotify Odom so and we're on Youtube as well. You know at the center podcast soif anybody wants to check it out, it's for you I'd be grateful.

Awesome who knew Chris Jericho was sucha pioneer in a no man. That's fantastic! Now. You've you'vekind of been touching on this throughout the conversation, but Ialways like to ask people a question they wish they were asked morefrequently and for you, your question was: Who is my inspiration in life? Sotell us who's. Your inspiration is my father. You know because my dad, youknow my dad always has had a quote. You know whenever he's talked to peoplethat he said two heroes in life, one is his life father, my grandfather, whopast one thousand nine hundred and ninety se next night time and then andthen he said me and that's the first time. He said that to me is when I gotreally choked up in emotional, because I was like. Why am I you're here? I'mlike I'm your son? Obviously, but why me- and I guess I guess he told mebecause of everything I've been through my life, all the doubters, all thebullying, all the obstacles and challenges that I had to go have hadovercome growing up with autism, but my dad has always inspired me because hewas he was the one who always talk in to block out the noise. That's aroundyou, because you know if you have something, if you have a task that e itneeds to get done. If you have a goal in mind, you have a dream of mind thatyou say for yourself: You can't worry about the outside noise. If you do it'sgoing to drive you crazy and you will fail so he's always taught me to blockout that outside noise, always believing herself, because if you don'tbelieve in yourself in life, nobody else will, and he always told me too,that you know the harder you work, the more you were and that's always beenhis motto from day. One and that's always been mine. You know ever sincehe taught me that, and you know any chance I get. You know to play.Eighteen holds a golf on my dad. Whenever I get a chance, is it's alwaysa special moments like bad for me, because you know my dad is just and that justmy dad, but my mom too, I mean they done so much for me that I really don't know how I can repay thembecause of everything they done and everything they sacculate with me, butthey could have easily said you know their expectations for me werealways up here, but the day I was told my quote: Unquote my future fate. Theycould have easily just tone in the towel, be like no, like our kid has nochance, because again I told you the beginning. There was no resources forautism. There was no path or got it at the time. They didn't know what to do,but they found a way, and if there were days that I tested them, I push them orthere were days I a bad days. They still found a way, and so I guess youcould say not only you know was my dad, my one of my biggest inspirations forboth my parents because of everything they did for me. They sacrifice me, I'mnot haying to day without them, and so I'm just I'm just beyond grateful andblessed a had two incredible parents that I have. It is amazing howsupportive parents can really help just accomplish anything like it's. So great,no question here. All Right Anthony are almost off the hook, but always like toend with a top three and for you very fitting top three sports movies, MohMan. So I'm going to go from me, go from one to three. So number one remember the titans, I love rememberthe titans. Actually I actually got to meet the Real Herman Boon that one ofour all GC meetings at five six years ago. It was just awesome just to likepick his brain and just like talk about what it was like back then and thenwhat it's like now comparison. It was just awesome. Number two would be hoosiers. I LoveJean Hackmen in that movie and it also kind of reminds me of you know myjunior in high school when we went to the State Championship game, but welost, but we had our entire community follow us everywhere we go and so kindof so who's. Just reminds me of that, but who's jus always be my favorite andnumber three is rudy. I know a lot of people you know, especially forMichigan Stavan base. They look at me, go why. Why is that your top Reed, butand like I've, always loved? You know Rudy story of how you know like me, hedreamt a plane for Nordern as a kid had a lot of challenges and obstacles toovercome to get to noter, damed and...

...then to be able to play in order Damestadium for one of the most historical football programs. Of all time is youknow, and and it's an underdog and in spacial story in itself, and I justadmired it so much and who knows you know, I hope you know I get. I hope thecenter. My Book is the Opportunity One day to be put on screen and that thenwe can start having debate so who had the best two hundred dog story was anoter dame or was a Michigan Sang. Those are my top food right. Thereremember the titans choosers and rely Acalan when I, when that happens, whenyour movie becomes when Your Book Becomes a movie, Ishould say well, I am happy to be an extra in the background. I've been toldI'm very good at doing like background work and things just from years ofschool projects and all that, so you need someone that make that happen, butmake it a swell anthony. Thank you so much for hopping on the podcast peoplewant to learn more about. You check out your book, your podcast, all that goodstuff. Where can they find you? So they can also find me at Anthonio,which is my personal website, as well as my business website, so anthidia andhope to hear for guys Bam. Awesome will anthony. Thank you again for taking thetime to chat. Thank you joy. I appreciate it absolutely. We got a endwith a Corny joke, as we always do this. Why is it a bad idea to play basketballin the jungle man? Why is it a bad idea to playbasketball on the jungle because it rains because there's too many cheetasat after a check, good people, cool things is produced inAustin Texas, if you were a fan of this episode, go ahead and hit that followbutton that helps more people here, the Shell, you can send me a message, joyand good people cool things, com. Thank you to all of the guests who have beenon good people, cool things and check out all the old episodes, the goodpeople cool things com. As always. Thank you for listening and have awonderful day, a.

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