Good People, Cool Things
Good People, Cool Things

Episode 47 · 1 year ago

47: On the Right Path and The Best NBA Dunks with Brett Gunning, Stacy Padula, and Maddy Moore

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Author Stacy Padula teamed up with NBA Coach Brett Gunning on a children’s book series based on the principles of his nonprofit, On the Right Path. And because every kids’ book needs some great illustrations, they called in Maddy Moore to sink a few clutch shots with her designs. 

We’re chatting about the book writing process, the best quarantines, and some of Brett’s most memorable NBA moments, including a delightful story about Kevin McHale. 

Welcome the locally source. Welcome the good people cool things that I speak conversations with contepres writers, musicians and other creatives. I'm your host, Joey held, and we have a good people cool things first on. Here three guests all part of the on the right path book series. We have MBA coach Brett gunning, author Stacy Padula and illustrator Maddie Moore, and all three of them are chatting about putting a book series together, which is a pretty impressive thing to do. Stacy and Brett and Maddie are all talking about the inspiration behind this book series, what it's like collaborating in the midst of a pandemic, and Brett shares some of his favorite moments as an NBA coach. And because I am a fellow basketball GEEK, we're also talking some of our favorite dunks in NBA dunk contest history. Lots of good stuff here throughout. If you like to get in touch with good people cool things, you can reach out on facebook, twitter or instagram at GPCT podcast, or send an email to joey at good people cool thingscom always love hearing from you, and you can also support the show via the shop, good people, cool thingscom shop. Get yourself a nice Hoodie, a nice hat, some nice mugs or shirts. I literally drank out of my if only it were wine mug today. Sadly it was not wine and said it was just some tea, but it could have been wine. And that's the most important part, is thinking positively, especially when we're all cooped up inside. In the meantime, settle in for a fantastic episode with Brett, stacy and Maddie. I'd love to get the elevator pitch on the book series here, but first, what kind of elevator are we riding in while you're why? You were telling us about the butt. Well, I've been fortunate over the last twenty secures in coaching to ride some all different types of elevators and and can't I can't really say that too many stand out, but one that did was I was fortunate to stay a beautiful hotel out in San Diego at one point, the hotel they'll coronado and they they stay. You know, it's an old, old fashioned hotel and very historical and they still kind of have the elevator shafts from years and years ago and I think at the time they even had it was at the point where they would have a hotel worker. Would would actually be like riding the elevator with with the with the people, with the guests, and I don't want to even say it's the term cranking the elevator, but I thank you. was almost cranking it up to each floor so that that's the elevator were we're riding in right now, but that, you know, the elevator pitch. You know, it's interesting. I was sitting on my couch one day months ago and I was reading a book to my son at the time, who was three, and it was a it was a dinosaur book, and he asked me to read it to him and so, you know, I said, I'm sitting there reading it to him and by the end I closed the book and I said Wow, I said that this was an amazing simple book about a dime. You know, it's a dinosaur book, but it here it is, you know, ten pages later, it taught my son a very simple, basic principle about being a good friend when you're at the playground. And at that at that point, you know, God had put in my spirit like I want you to write a children series tying in just a simple life skills that I've been able to witness up, you know, first firsthand through the game of basketball. So thus comes the idea of on the right path and it's tied into my nonprofit organization, which is...

...guiding youth basketball players on the right path to reaching their maximum potential through free teaching, education and mentorship. So we we dove into this project with stacy and Maddie and we we can't be more excited to get our first book complete. You're very soon. That's super cool and spot on with I'm always amazed every time I read a children's book. I was like, I don't remember that many good lessons I when I was reading books. So maybe I was just reading the wrong ones growing up, but I feel like they've really really stepped up the game over the past decade or so. Yeah, you're right. I mean, yeah, back in the day reading curious George and books like that. There's way more teaching going on nowadays. And Stacy and Maddie, you're also with us on this elevator. So Brett gave it a nice overview of the book. How about how about you two? How did you end up getting in touch together to working on this series. I guess ironically, could link it to San Diego as well. So earlier, and see, I think it was my gosh, was the spring of two thousand and nineteen. I had gone up to California and I ended up meeting up with a producer out there who is a friend of Mine, David Gunning, and he actually happens to be Brett's nephew. And David want us to talk about turning one of one of my books that I had already written into a movie. So David and I started working together and we're currently working on turning my entire book series into a TV show. But because I was in contact with David when Brett had the idea for this book series, Dave had put me in Brett and hotch so that we could dive into this together. So when I was out in California, actually stay in San Diego. So it's kind of funny that Brett picked that elevator of all of them, but it's pretty cool. So yes, sir, David connected us and then Brett and I drove into it and I, you know, as the publisher and the author, I needed to find a really talented illustrator. So that was when I set out to do interviews and just, you know, put it out there on a bunch of different sites and I'm so blessed to get Maddie, Maddie's application, because I just loved her portfolio and everything before I even met with her, and then she was just the one. You know, there was a couple other illustrators. I remember showing, you know, their work to Brett and stuff, but me and Brett were both just enthralled with Maddie's work and we just couldn't be happier with the way things are going. That was very flattering. It must be nice to hear Maddie Hunh. Yeah, stacy and I connected just after I graduated university and with this crazy, crazy year we've been having. I graduated with a degree in a field in which I couldn't pursue given the pandemic. I studied archeology for four years at Punn and I've done excavations on traveled a lot and that's just something that wasn't viable for the fall and even going into the next year. So I kind of had to stop and look at myself in the mirror and say, you know, what's skills do I have, what do I love to do and what can I do from the safety of my own home? And it's funny because I always told myself drawing is something of a hobby of mine and I never wanted to turn it into work and I always kind of wanted to keep it as this thing that was my escape from, you know, school work or you know whatever. But then I'm sitting here with this my tablet in my hand and just knowing how much I love doing this and I thought to my you know, why not give it a shot, why not make this my job? So I also went out to a bunch of application sites and I've sorted through piles and piles of applications. I interviewed for a huge amount of jobs...

I was not remotely qualified for, and then I stumbled on Stacy's advertisement about this project and immediately it run about with me because I come from a family of international coaches. And then Brett's mission just really spoke to me growing up around coaches. And then stacy and I connected and we really hit it off and yeah, the rest is history and we've just really kind of melded well together. It's always nice when you have that moment where you're like yes, this is this is the one, this is it, and that's awesome that y'all found each other like that. Will get back to the design element, because I think that's a very crucial part of really any book, but especially for Children's book. But, Brett, I have to ask, because there's twelve books in the series and I saw that there's you've got twelve basketball skill pillars and twelve life skill pillars. Are we seeing one of each in each of these books or are all twelve in every one of the bucks here? Yeah, so it'll be one life skill in each in each book, and we are we won't, we won't. WE WON'T DIVE INTO WE WON'T, we won't dive into the basketball skills per se with this that this will be more the life skill component, and we even tie in a Bible, a Bible verse as well. So this is solely you know, the nonprofit tries to tie in like twelve life skills with twelve basketball skills and I've always been passionate about that. As far as you know, a lot of times players may hear you know, of you know, being unselfish, right, and everybody kind of knows what the word on selfish means, but do they know what that means within the game of basketball? So that that's kind of tied in more with the with the nonprofit. This book series will solely be touching on the life skills and it'll be one, one life skill for with the with each book. That's fair. I feel like trying to cram twelve into a single book might be a little ambitious. So I think how you've let it out make sense. Do each of you have a favorite life skill out of the well, a man, there's there's a lot of good ones. You know. I think probably one that stands out to me is, you know, is the word, whether it's coachable or teachable, right, and let's go with teachable for now. You know what when you're when you're when you're at a younger age, I think. I don't think people realize a lot of times that the one kind of person that we choose to listen to the least is the one that's actually trying to help us the most. And what I'm saying is is a lot of times, whether it's a teacher at school or one of your coaches, you know it, there's been a little bit of development in society where it's like if a if a coach gets on you, or if a teacher, you know, correct you, it's you know, well, that's what that's what they do. It's it. You know, that's what that's what coaches do. They yell at us. You know it's like. But as you get older, you realize that people that that teach her, people that coach, it's for the most part that their passion is purely and simply trying to help other people, you know. And so I think if we can, at a young age, get kids to you know, just to realize, and the reality is your kids only know what they see or what they're taught. Right when you come into the world with no knowledge of anything. So you the only thing you know is what you see or what you're taught. So if we can teach at a very young age that your teachers or your coaches, they're sole purpose is to help...

...you and bring the best out in you and and create great habits and things like that, I think if if we, if this, if this book series, can do just that and just allow kids to understand that being coachable or being teachable is an amazing life skill to have and it's something that could benefit you in so many amazing ways, I think. You know, I would pick that one as far as standing out the most. I want about being humble. You know, humility. I think that's really really crucial, because that's one thing. I think it's true across many disciplines that if you go in with the humble attitude, you're going to succeed more, you're going to absorb the lessons of others better and actually be that coachable person. You're going to also want others to rise with you, so you're going to be a good friend and you're going to be, you know, grateful and thankful and you know, I really think pride can hurt somebody a lot, whether it's in athletics or just in any field or any even just life situations. So for me, I think that's the one that really stands out as a core principle that could change people's lives. Yeah, I also think resiliency is one of the pillars that, especially this year, I think can kind of speak to everyone and really kind of resonated with me that we all have had to be so adaptable and so flexible and so, you know, willing to change for the better, and I think of any age group, as Stacy said, whether it's sports or just you know, general life. I think we could all do with building our own resiliency and being flexible facing challenges like we've all faced this year. Ye, spot on with that. This has certainly been a year of resiliency for a lot of people and I think that ties in nicely with I would imagine in a quote unquote, typical year that your process of working together would probably look a little different than it has this year. So can you kind of take us through what has it been like to work with other people and putting a book together during a pandemic? Stacy, we can start with you for this one. Yeah, I mean it's amazing what you can do with the laptop in the Internet, because that's what so much of this has been done. It's amazing. I mean, thank God for the technology we have. Yeah, it's been interesting, you know, doing everything remotely, but I think it's worked really well. It would be awesome if we could meet up and brainstorm in person and everything, but I don't I really don't think it's been too difficult, you know, to do it this way. I mean it's awesome because when we're in three very different parts of the country and we're still just able to meet and work together. So I think with writing, with publishing and even my other industry, which is education, private education, for tutoring in college counseling, I've been able to kind of continue with that without really skipping a beat. So feel very blessed because it's not the case for most other professions. Yeah, definitely. Do you have a go to tool that you found most helpful, or is it just kind of emails, hopping on Zoom, that kind of thing? I mean, facetime has been a blessing for sure. That's what I use probably more than anything, even, my Gosh, even just to see family members at this point. So but yeah, so I mean facetime and Google docs, where I mean I know even for our book, Maddie set up a Google doc for us with all the illustrations, all the text and everything, and it's just we can all be on there at the same time, we can leave notes for each other. I mean it's just been a great tool and that's exactly what I use with my students as well. So...

...we're fortunate to have that. To your facetime sessions also devolve at some point into playing around with all them Emoji. I'm not because I feel like all of my facetime stupid's some fun. You know. That did happen actually one of my students where it was like I hadn't done the updates when I didn't even know that you could act, and all of a sudden his face turned into like this giant cow with like hard eyes and like what's going on, like you're suddenly account and he's like, Oh, I just did the update and yeah, that was that was entertaining, but the no, that's nothing norm yeah, and Maddie, from the illustration side of things, what is your process like? You have like are you given some instruction around what what to go for, or is it just kind of you have the text and take it from there? Yeah, every project is different and I kind of have to eat. There's always that kind of really awkward process of figuring everyone's working style out for the first few pages and we really kind of have to read the room and see what works and what doesn't. For this particular project, Google docs has worked really well. So, for example, a process would be, I would submit to Breton Stacy maybe three very very rough sketches on the Google doc and they can go in at their leisure make notes that, you know, I really like this, I really like this, let's add this and then just really and then up and then I would upload a newer sketch and then colored sketch and then, through every process I would have their feedback in real time. Yeah, which has been, as Stacy said, my process has been completely seamless. This is how I normally work, which is why I pursue this career. Get the pandemic. But yeah, we've all worked well with the Google Doc. We've all been really communicative and really it's been a sin really Nice Nice. That's always always good to hear, rather than a pulling teeth story, which it doesn't sound like cute. You all have a problem with that. So that's awesome. And another element that I think is interesting is the marketing side of things because, again, pre pandemic there are events you could go to, conferences to attend where that's a very natural bring the book with you, talk about it, interact with people, get them excited about it. But that's not really a thing we're doing. You know, virtual conferences all over the place. A lot of things just getting canceled or postponed. So have you found any kind of unorthodox marketing tools as you're promoting the series? Mean I have actually two different PR teams now working for the publishing company, kind of like keeping me in the loop on what's been working what's not. One of one of them Vernica. She mentioned doing some you know, virtual conferences and stuff that we could plug into keynots keynote speaking, things like that. There's been, you know, some magazine article, those newspaper articles, things like that, but it is I mean that facetoface contact, like the idea of setting up a book signing or a book reading, you know, at the local barnes and noble and mean right now none of that stuffs happening. So it is it is different. But thankfully I do have, you know, two different teams of people kind of working on that to figure out how we can take advantage of the situation and what works, but not waste time on what isn't working. So that is a bit of a challenge right now. I wonder this just triggered something, but when I first moved to Austin and again this might not work super well in cold cities. Right now. But the I met someone who was a cab driver who just had all these great stories with people and he...

...had learned from a friend of a thing called Barstool poetry, where essentially there'd be a stack of Napkins and you'd come over and write a title and then put them in a bowl and someone else would take the title and write a poem underneath and then he'd read some of his favorites throughout the night and I I always thought that was very entertaining and I feel like you could kind of work an outdoor book reading sort of thing like that. You know, get some heat lamps, but spread people out nicely, just get a nice PA system to do the read I feel like you could make that, make that work, if there's not crazy amounts of snow everywhere. Yes, I and maybe Texas would be the place for that. Maybe we'll come down to see you. Brett. Yeah, head over to San Diego, ride the elevator and it is perfect. Yeah, I know it is. I mean it is interesting just the adjustments, you know, because of the pandemic and always not, you know, just not knowing if there's going to be another major lockdown and what's coming certainly a year of uncertainty, but I mean thankfully working from home, I think has given me a little bit more time in my day because I'm not commuting anywhere, and that time I've been able to invest in a lot of creative projects, and including this one, and really just the publishing company and building that up into something that I honestly never imagined it would become that it's becoming. And I honestly think that the pandemic has given creative people more time to work on their projects. So there's probably I'm getting more book submissions from other authors them I would have expected, and I think there's got a lot of people writing books this past year. So it's interesting. I do think everyone I know who is a creative person, whether it's, you know, with making homemade masks at home or, you know, drawing and writing songs, whatever it is, everyone's sort of been able to do that a little bit more this year because of covid absolutely. I know I finally finished my book, a short story. So I am one of those many people that I have been like, you know what, I'm taking the extra time and I'm doing some stuff with it and of course that opens up an interesting question and Maddie, let's start with you for this one. But have you picked up any quarantine hobbies? See, this isn't a great quarantine hobby, but one of my absolute favorite things in the world to do, other than drawing, is to travel. So I'm sitting here on my computer, when I'm not doing commissions for clients, you know, planning the next big getaway and these crazy extravagant trips that I'm never going to be able before to go on, but dreams are free, so I spend hours rinning itineraries on my computer. What's the most extravagant you've planned? I think the Maldives. That's one of the only places that's open right now and obviously I would not flight to the Maldives at the moment, but that's one of those places where you've got to fly into a major airport and take a charter plane. It's a whole process, but maybe one day. It doesn't look gorgeous. That's quite uninsteadable. It's study and it's like an all beach itinerary. So right, it's very out no lose. Brett. How about you? Have you picked up in a hobbies during the quarantine? Oh, man. I would just say I'm pretty much been on on the my life's been on the run the last twenty six years, and the court the core life of being at home. I learned just how women are, what wired much differently than men and are way tougher than men, because it meaning mothers, and mothers in particular, meaning when we get to just, you know, wake up in the morning and you know, we get to say, Hey,...

...we're going to work today or hey, I'm going on a five, five day trip to La and Phoenix and I'll be home in five day, and you know that now the mothers get stuck at home and it's seven. So my quarantine has been a revelation of reality for just the amazing hard work that you know, my wife and obviously mothers in general, you know, just do when, when, a lot of times we get to run around the country and chase our passions and things like that. So my days are up with the kiddies, cooking breakfast, to school lines, to pick up lines, to I don't know. Then all of a sudden the days over. So I can't really say I picked up a hobby other than probably learned a little bit about more of the real world that wives and mother's live in every day. Always good things to know, for sure, stacy. How about you are just just doing all the creative things? Yeah, yeah, I've had a lot of a lot of creative projects. I guess one of the things that I've been doing now is I decided to open up another company. So I recently, just in the past month, opened up an online shop. Actually a Maddie has a hand in this too, and it's to help raise money for animal rescues. So I have two long haired docksins, Briley and Baxter, and that's actually who the publishing company is named after, as Briley and backster publications. But I just opened up the Briley and Baxter shop which fifty percent of the proceeds from every item go to a different animal rescue every month, and Baxter was a rescue, so he's kind of the inspiration behind that. But what I did was I built up the dogs following over the last few years on instagrams that they have, you know, over five thousand followers and you know, I've made amazing friends all around the world who are dog lovers through Instagram and from there I've met a lot of people that are involved with rescues. So we've been able to team up with a couple different ones, the tiny tim on Whales Foundation for this month. They help dogs that suffer from Ivdd, which a lot of docksins do because of their long spines. They help them, you know, financially, whether it's the need to a doggy will share or they need surgery. So that's who we're donating the proceeds to this month. Next month I think it's going to be a rescue that's out of New York. Still working out the details for that. But the shop basically was Maddie's artwork as the huge part of it. So she drew a bunch of different illustrations of Briley and Baxter dressed up for graduation, for Christmas, for Easter, I mean every holiday you can think of, and then I put those images on items that range from t shirts and sweatshirts to masks, to mugs, to journals, to phone cases, to basically everything that dog lovers can buy for a good cause. So that's kind of been my project. My New Hobby lately is just building up the store. Now I think there's over like a hundred and eighty different items available. They're reasonably priced and it's on Etsy. It's called to cuddly docksins, which is what their instagram name also is, and it's the Briley of Baxter shops. So yeah, that's probably my latest hoggy. Next month I'll probably be something different. But this month, as a fellow, I have two dogs as one there each half docks and or at least partial, and I don't know what the twenty three in me, yeah, equivalent is. But yeah, Chiwawa docks and mix and a Jack Russell terrier and docks and mix...

...which apparently is called a jock shunned okay, which I did not know. Feel ridiculous every time I say it, so I just try to go with the full breed names. But yes, they're wonderful dogs and that sounds like such a fantastic cause. And I am going to look at the shop right after this because I want to see all those illustrations. Yeah, Maddie did a great job. I mean I have friends now all over the world like ordering stuff, like they're posting pictures of things from like Finland, the Netherlands, British Columbia. I mean those illustrations you did and they're all over the place now on tshirts Wich. It's super, super cool. I love doing a wating fantastic, fantastic. Now one thing I always like to ask on this podcast is a question you wish you were asked more frequently, and stacy, you provided the prompt for this one. That your faith is a big link between you and Brett. So how is faith central to both your life and your work? My faith is central to, I would say, every part of my life, but it really became, I say, a navigating factor when I was this junior or senior in college and I sort of reddicated myself to my faith after kind of walking away from it for a few years and realizing that there was so much missing when I wasn't walking and step with my creator. So once I turned back to my Christian roots and really started just walking forward, God really started just showing me a lot more about myself and the gifts that he had given me and that he had a very specific path for my life, which I did not need to know an advanced but what I need to do is just trust him with it and trust him to open all the right doors and shut all the wrong doors. As I continued to give him, give my will over to him. So after college I actually was working in architecture industry. That's what I had gone to school for, was architectural engineering and interior design, and I just felt like something was missing. It was weird because I had always loved design projects. I mean I really I literally had started drawing houses, like interior floor plans of houses from I don't know when I was like ten years old onward, and it certainly was a fun hobby for me. It was just when I got into the field there was a lack of personal connection. I felt just kind of empty, just sitting behind the computer working on I don't know, these big office plans from Microsoft's, you know, new Long Island office and stuff like that. I think I wanted to be interacting with people a lot more than I was. So I started praying for good to just show me. I was like, I know you created me to do something. I just know this isn't it, and you need to show me. I'll do anything. I'll go on the mission field, I'll go back to school, will like whatever it is you know, please show me. And at that time my Stepdad was really sick with pancreatic cancer and he had only been given three to six months to live, but he had already, you know, lived past a year. And we're dealing with all that at home. So I opted to take a medical leave of absence to help my mom take care of my Stepdad and in that time, you know, really seek out God and pray about what he had for me and what his plan was for my career. And that is ultimately, through a long series of events, that's what led me to the field of education, and what's so amazing about that is working as a tutor and a college counselor. I work every day with teens and that's what my books are about. My my other two book series, gripped and Montgomery, like hi, there for teenagers and they basically educate kids about the perils of prescription drug abuse and other issue social issues like bullying and peer...

...pressure. It's done in a fiction way and hopefully and entertaining way, but it really just want kids to know that that is not what leads to fulfillment. So the fact that I get to work every day with teens and even take a bunch of them on his interns for my book series, it's just amazing how God work that together with me being able to work daily with my tended audience for the books that I actually started writing when I was a teenager. So, you know, I would say that I've come from, you know, the architecture industry and then gone on to education and literature, but it has been all because of my faith and the direction that God has so clearly given me through divine appointments and just things that you would call chance happenings, but they're so coincidental you know they can't possibly be a coincidence and it's really just been an amazing avenue and I'm so fulfilled. I mean, I still remember what it felt like to go to work in Boston every day the architect firm and how empty I felt. And then now it's like I wake up every day and I can't believe I get need to do what I do because I just love it so much and I just feel like I'm doing exactly what I was created to do, and that security and knowing that in the fulfillment that comes with that is just unmatched. So yeah, that's a long winded answer, but I try to sum it up this. It's it's really my whole life. Honestly, that's a powerful feeling for sure. Brett, do you have anything to add? And that'd be hard. That's gonna be hard to time follow that. But you know what, all I can sum it up and again as just in the way that stacy and I crosspaths. It had God's finger prints all over it. My nephew, David had had given to me a couple of stacy's books. This was years ago, couple of years ago, and I am part of a great church here in Houston, Lakewood Church, which is Joel Osteen's church, and they obviously have a great youth and young adult group as well, and my good friend of mine is the leader of the youth and young adults at Lake with. His name is Nick Nelson. So my nephew gives me these books from a from a friend of his who happens to be stacy. I wind up taking the books to my friend at Lakewood and you know, just said Hey, you know, keep these in mind if you guys were looking for some books for the for the youth and young adults. And so fast forward a couple years later, which happened to be a couple months ago, when I had that in my spirit about doing this series. I had remembered that David knew somebody that wrote Christian based Youth, Youth Book. So the moment it was in my spirit to do this, I was like, man, I got to call I got to call David and get see if it would be okay, if he could connect us. Well, David wound up calling me the day before and and I was at a dinner and I said hey, Dave, can I call you? Can I call you back it? So here it is. God had already had he already orchestrated. Before I was even going to reach out to stacy, it was already this thing was already all orchestrated. So when you when you get to that point of understanding, you know there's the Bible verse about how God knows the end from the beginning and and he wired us from the womb. You know, I've been passionate about basketball my whole life and I think when you can, you can get to that place of peace to say, okay, he's wired. He has wired each one of us with these unique passions, right whether for Maddie it's what her passion...

...is, or for Stacy with her patther. They're all different, right, we we don't have we all we all don't have the same unique passion. But when you're able to recognize, like okay, what is this unique passion that he put inside of me, and when I come to peace with what that is, what can I now do to use that passion to be of service to other people or to help other people? And in turn, can I lead? Can I wind up leading others to God through the passion that he put inside of me? And I think that's what we're trying to do here with this series, and it's been amazing working with both stacy and Maddie. But I think the whole purpose here is, you know, can we impact lives, you know for the kingdom, and can we lead others to God and through this book series? And I think that's, you know, that's what's most important for me with this project. I'll only add that I think the storyline for on the right path is just it's simple, it's beautiful, it's poignant in a way that will speak to families of every faith. Bret's mission to write the story and Stacy's words, which bring it to life, are deeply rooted in their love of their faith and a love of God and I think that's a wonderful thing. And, as I always do on the show, ending with the top three, because everyone loves a good list. And Brett, you've got more than a quarter century of coaching experience. So can you distill this down to your top three coaching moments? Wow, that's that's that's tough. I will say this. My dream was always to get to the NBA as a coach. I get to the NBA twelve years ago and my first year with the Euston rockets, we get to the Western Conference semi finals and we're playing against the Kobe Bryant led Los Angeles Lakers. We took them to a game seven. We wound up losing eventually in the game seven and the Lakers wild all going on and beating the Celtics to win the championship. So I think that stands out number one, just as far as a kid, you know, growing up outside of Philly, Philadelphia, and you know rooting for the sixers as a kid and having the opportunity to get to the NBA A and fill my dream. And here it is, you're playing the Lakers. So that stands out of the number one number two again, growing up in the Philadelphia area. That the the heated rivalry was with stacy's, now Boston Celtics, and one of the great players on that team was a guy by name of Kevin McHale. So it was Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish. They were the the original big three at the time. And so here it is, I'm a kid again growing up in Philly. I'm watching the sixers play against the Celtics and Kevin mcale was this dominant player. And if somebody would have said, you know, twenty five years from now, you're going to be coaching, you're going to be on a coaching staff with that guy, I mean you can't even make that stuff up. So I think the second moment would just be all the great coaches that I've worked with, but in particular a guy that I grew up watching as a hated Boston Celtic guy. Now I'm I'm on his staff, coaching, Coaching Him, coaching with him. And I think the third one. You know, a couple of years ago I was fortunate to be a part of a great Houston rocket team. We won sixty five games, which was the most in the franchise's history and we had the opportunity of coaching in the Allstar game. I was an assistant. The head coach was Mike Dant onny and again, for just a regular simple kid from outside of Philadelphia to be to be coaching in the Allstar game and to be around just the greats,...

...the greats of the game, that that was an incredible moment that I'll never forget. That it's super cool. I have two quick follow up questions. Number One, have you told Kevin McHale that you disliked him growing up? Oh, for sure. First of all, chemicals. He's one of the greatest guys in the world. I mean just an amazing, amazing guy. But the funny thing is, and Stacy and Maddie'll think this is disgusting, but he, Kevin McHale, was a it was a how do you say? Had A lot of hair on his body, let's put it that way. And and he was a guy that's sweated a lot. So my memory of him as a kid, but he would always whenever there was a stoppage of play, he would kind of yell to the ball boy like hey, tell me it's out so the guy would throw him a towel and he wiped his armpits and he wipe all over and then he like fired back to the kid and he would do this throughout the course of the game. And and back in the s they would always wear that. They were wearing the short shorts. So it was like short shorts, Harry, Harry, body sweating all over and I'm like, this guy's, this guy's what I you know, he's out of his mind. And then again here it is, I'm sitting there coaching with them and he's an amazing guy, just a great, great person. So yeah, I definitely told him and he didn't even have to he didn't even have to ask because if you if you grew up, if you're a celtic, you know I mean. Thinking about this, the sixers and the Celtics. They they're infamous for there was a fight between Dr Jay, who is the great player from the Sixers, and Larry Bird. So there was a fight during a game, okay, where they fought each other. Well, people, most people fail to realize is they fight took place in a preseason game. That's how much. That's how much those teams hated each other. You know, they were just so I don't think Kevin McHale was at all surprised that that. I hated watching him growing up. I've seen footage of that fight before, but I didn't think I knew it was in a pregreeve season game. Pre but but you know, Michael made the interesting point when you when you play in the same conference, you know you play it multiple times during the year. Then they played in the playoffs year after year. You know so and then so by the time you know that it got around the preseason, you know you've now played this team. You know, just like, for what with us with the rockets, we've played golden state, what three four of the last five years into seven games series is then you put you on. That's on top of playing them four times during the you know you after five years you've played the team thirty times. So that that's where the hatred just gets built up. So fantastic. Yeah, it's it. The more you see someone, it's kind of like it definitely in festers a little bit there. And then my second question, and many stays. You can feel free to hop and if you have a favorite as well. But you mentioned the Allstar game. Always love the dunk contest, do it during it. Do you have a favorite dunk from an NBA dunk contest? Well, you know, it's it's very interesting you say that. So when I was in college, I graduated from you, I graduate from U and Olv and the Oreur best player at that time was a guy by name of Jr rider, who also went by the name Isaiah Rider. But when he was a when it was his last year at Unov, he used to come into practice every day and he would do this. He was from Oakland and he would do it Dunke. It was called the East Bay funk Dunk, something like that, and it's you go up, you jump up in the air and you put it through one leg, you bring it around, you dunk it. And he was like hey, guys, just so y'all know, I'm going to I'm going to win the dunk contest on this dunk next year. And sure enough, the next year he won the dunk contest on this dunk. It was his final, final dunk and it was the East Bay funk dunk and we were we were like wow, this guy used to just he'd walk into practice or he walking after class.

He'd have jeans on and he just mean he was just unbelievable athlete and and player as well, but you know he would do it like it was nothing. And then here it is, fast forward a year later. You went to dunk contest on it. So that's probably the one that stands out the most and certainly the best name aim for a dunk. I think, Oh yeah, he's very funk stacy're Maddie, do you have a top dunk from your memories to go I would take not. I was going to say how many? How many dunk contests have you watched? And can't say I have a favorite. No comment. I started a basketball and pop culture newsletter this quarantine as well, and I did an article on some of the most underrated dunks and just one that I think is so goofy was Dwight Howard sticker dunk. I think a lot of people remember the Superman Dunk, but he did a dunk the year before were he it was kind of a normal dunk but he reached up and put a sticker of his face at the top of the backboard and then like got out a tape measure to show that it was like twelve and a half feet off the ground and it's just like this is so ridiculous but so creative, so I had to had to applaud it. I'm all for the silly factor in dunk contest. Well, we can get off the basketball talk and Y'all are officially off the hook for this podcast interview. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat and walk us through the whole back story behind this book, how you all have been working together and looking forward to all of the releases down the line. If people want to order a copy or learn more about the book, about all of Y'all, where can they go? Um, well, once the book is available for sale, will be a lot of announcements on the publishing website, which is just www dot baxter bookscom and I'm sure right on your website, for on the right path, you'll probably have a link to it too. Right, yeah, that's and that's on the right path. Dotnet. Perfect, perfect, Maddie, do you want to give a plug for your portfolio? Or if people are in need of an illustrator worse, you can find me at Maddie Moore, M Addymore, one word dot art. All of my socials are on there and my portfolios there for anyone of you. You can send me a message right from there. fantastics. We've got Acom, dotnet and a dot art. I like it. Is the most part married. Yes, no, I love it. I love it. Well, fantastic. Thank you again for popping on. This was so much fun and at a good people cool things first here with three guests on one show. I think we nailed it. Well done. All right, thank you, thank you. Thank you so much really, and of course we'll end with a corny joke, as we always do. How do you organize a party in space? How you plan it? People definitely repeating that one.

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