Speaking Engagements
NBA Career

Fishing with Dad


My family moved from the city to the county when I was in 6th grade and I was in for a culture shock. The pack of neighbor kids that roamed the country-side near my new home called me a “city slicker” because I didn’t know how to fish. Those were fighting words, but these guys were pretty tough so I decided to get a rod and reel and figure out how to be an angler. I located an old tackle box and fishing pole in the barn and night crawlers were easy to find. I rowed the boat into the middle of Bridge Lake and I was ready to catch a few “lunkers”, as my new fishing buddies liked to call big fish.

I was hooked when the bobber disappeared on my first cast and I landed a hefty 14” small mouth bass. I was a natural and couldn’t wait to show my dad that his first born son was a “fish-catching machine”. Father’s Day was the perfect time to take my dad to the “hot-spot” near a fallen tree along the North shore of the lake. “I don’t want to catch any of those tiny, blue gill “nibblers”, he said, “I’m looking for a trophy fish.”

I casted my jumbo crawler into perfect position and waited impatiently for 20 seconds for the first hit of the day. No luck. I feverishly reeled my bait back into the boat and tried again. After ten minutes and twenty-five casts, my hands smelled like worms instead of fish. I was frustrated.

It was time for some of that old-fashioned dad advice that teenagers dread. “Great fishermen keep searching for the big one, maybe we should move.” he preached. I responded with passion, “Dad, this is the hot spot.” I’ve been catching big ones here all summer. We have to stay!”

“Maybe we should try a plastic worm or other lure to change our luck.” he suggested. “Sometimes fish like the bait reeled-in slow and other times they prefer a fast retrieve. I am sure that if we make a few minor adjustments our fishing bucket will be full in no time.”

I was a seasoned fisherman of one month and didn’t believe I needed any advice. However, I humored my father and moved to the mouth of a stream one hundred and fifty yards away. An amazing thing happened. I immediately caught two jumbo perch and my dad landed a large bass and crappie. I was shocked. We found a new hot spot and I learned three valuable business and fishing lessons.

  • Don’t be a Nibbler – It is easy to relax and coast because of past success. Are you a complacent nibbler content to stay in the same old comfortable fishing hole or an aggressive angler that constantly searches for new hot spots? Keep moving and improving.
  • Open your Tackle Box – You cannot do the same things you’ve always done and expect improved results. High achievers in business, and on the lake, diversify their approach and constantly explore the possibility of new ideas, concepts and strategies.
  • Seek “Old-School” Advice – There is no substitute for the sage wisdom and the fresh perspectives of a seasoned veteran or outsider. The winning edge in any competitive endeavor can start from the strategic vision of an independent mentor or guide.
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