In my newest reading adventure, I had the pleasure of reading Jalen Rose’s book, Got to Give the People What They Want.  Just when you thought the former NBA star was doing it all, he added writing a book to his resume. NBA Countdown, a podcast, and most recently some brief acting stints, Jalen has emerged as one of the few professional athletes that make a career post-NBA play as well.

This book entailed how he got to this wonderful situation he is in today.  Personally, I found it more than informative from a kid who lived in inner city Detroit who made it to the NBA, and is now a successful TV and media face that does broadcasting for the NBA Finals and has a daily podcast on ESPN.  Many people wonder why Jalen has been able to do all this, and the answer is simple.  Hard work.  Which, ironically, is sort of a lost art in today’s society.

As I read through the book, Jalen is just as transparent in the book as he has been on TV about his playing days and the mistakes that he has made in his life thus far (which is beyond respectable).  Growing up, Jalen didn’t have his biological father around, but he had a “father” who was there for him and was able to teach him how to be a better person and man.  This came in the form of his Uncle Len and his basketball coach in grade school, the lessons were still taught.  This led to Rose becoming one of the top players in the city of Detroit and having his way in college selections.

In the best way possible, Jalen chose to stay close to home and play with his boy Chris Webber at Michigan.  Two National Championship appearances and two losses later, adversity was something that Jalen was accustomed to by this point.  Him and his Fab Five counterparts all tried their efforts in the NBA.

Transcending the league much like Earvin “Magic” Johnson did before him, Jalen was one of the few 6’8 point guards to play in the NBA.  This allowed success and a long tenure.  Keep gettin’ those checks Jalen!  He finally found his place in Indiana playing under the great Larry Bird.  Bird led Jalen and the Pacers to a Finals appearance in which they lost to the dynamic Kobe and Shaq led Los Angeles Lakers.

A few years bouncing around the league as a veteran after, Jalen got out of the NBA and into sports media.  And I have to say, we have all been very privileged for his natural charisma and honesty.

Throughout this book, it is apparent that Jalen has dealt with some serious adversity from an early age.  This helped him later in life to deal with the ebbs and flows of growing up and handling situations with professionalism, no matter what the issue.  The book gives great insight on the life of Rose and how the people around him have impacted him to become the person he is today.

Remember, encourage the doubters.

This is one of the tasks on his guide to winning life.  Transcending with me, I see exactly what he means.  You will not go farther and will not be more successful in life if you always stay within your realm of comfort.  For those who doubt, make them see you and watch you as you break down the barriers that you were told could never be broken. This is something that Rose reverberates through the entire book, which many people fail to realize today that there are always going to be people who doubt something you do, that is the staple of competition.

Another one.  Play hard, work harder. 

Life is about working hard to achieve your goals, but what are goals if you do not take the time to enjoy the journey and the achievement when you get there?  Making goals in life is tough, but when you do succeed, understand that is an accomplishment and reward yourself.  Once you do, create a new goal that is attainable so that you can take down that one as well.

My favorite, Love life.  It can be easy to focus on the things that frustrate you.

There always has to be a thought and friendly reminder to yourself that this life isn’t given, it’s a blessing to wake up everyday healthy and happy. For that, people should relish the family and support around them, or the current life they have, although everything might not be there.  Jalen is living proof that sometimes you can be dealt a bad hand from the looks of it, but deep down it is happiness and family support that can lead you to success and long-term growth and happiness.

To further this point, Rose has not been shy in the media or in the book about his father, Jimmy Walker. Walker was drafted first pick overall in the 1967 NBA Draft, Walker was never around for the birth or life of Jalen, or his 13 other kids for the most part.  Jalen was never given a quintessential “father” but he made the most of his situation and strived to be a better person (and player) than his father.  He did just that, as he tried to meet the father who was never around midway through his NBA career as he was hitting his prime.  Soon after telling his father he would meet up after his season was over, Walker died of health issues.  Although he never met his father, he has nothing but appreciation for what he did and showed him by not being around and allowed himself to want to be better than Jimmy, amplifying that work ethic.

I am a fan of almost anything Jalen Rose, and this book is no different A great read for a multitude of reasons, taking the time to read this will enlighten you on how to live a successful life and enjoy the short time we do have with those who we love most.

I will leave you with my favorite quote from this book.

“Mistakes are what shape you, missteps are what you learn from, and misfires are what make you focus harder the next time.”

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