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Derek Anderson talks Gregg Popovich, Pat Riley, “Stamina”

Oct 9, 2013, 11:48 AM EDT

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There are a lot of guys who have come through the NBA and can tell hard knock life stories about growing up poor.

Derek Anderson blows most of those stories out of the water.

He never had a father around, his mother was out of the picture and he was fending for himself by the time he was 12. He was homeless, and by 14 living at different houses of people that would help out (like the janitor at a high school gym that let Anderson sleep there). He was also a father at 14 and by 15 he had full custody raising his son.

If Anderson had never played at Kentucky or went on to an 11-year NBA career, most of us would understand. The circumstances would have been too much to overcome.

But Anderson says he refused to allow that and went on to be an NCAA champion at Kentucky and an NBA champion. Anderson has a book out now called “Stamina” (available pretty much everywhere) that talks about how he broke out of that cycle with incredible perseverance. The book’s point is something he tries to pass along to others — you can’t quit, you just have to take responsibility for yourself and keep moving forward.

You have to earn people’s respect.

Now Anderson looks back with admiration on the NBA people who treated him like an adult — Miami’s Pat Riley and San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich are near the top of that list.

“I think Coach Popovich is one of those coaches that allows his players to be players, he disciplines when they need to be disciplined, and he gives everyone rewards when you need to be rewarded,” Anderson told ProBasketballTalk. “He gives you a fair chance. That is why you see a bunch of guys who are not big names and they become better players because he gives you that.”

The adage other players have used is that Popovich treats grown men like men, not children to be scolded and bribed.

“Exactly, that is the level of respect, you give it and you get it you return,” Anderson continued. “But if you kiss up to these kids and these players eventually you are going to take advantage of it like anyone would. Popovich is one of those great guys that you really respect and you look up to because he treats everyone fair.”

Anderson also was on the 2006 Heat team that won an NBA title and respect was a theme there, too.

“It was different,” Anderson told PBT. “You had a bunch of high level guys with emotions but they all (controlled them), like Gary Payton didn’t get technical, Alonzo Mourning didn’t wild out he just played hard. Dwayne (Wade) was young, Shaq came to play every night and the rest of us were role players. I made two big threes in the Chicago series to help us win and the next series if didn’t get to play but Shandon Anderson did. We all sacrificed fro the betterment of our team and we all won a championship so I think it was different and I think that most of it was because Pat Riley didn’t allow a superstar to dictate the team — he always would dictate the team.”

That Anderson was able to even have those moments speaks to his stamina.

He says he didn’t want to write an autobiography that was just a retelling of his life; he wanted one that showed people how they can understand the consequences of their actions and break out of the cycle of poverty.

“What happens is we are all in a cycle of poverty and that is mental or locations but the only difference what I chose to do is that I chose to be great,” Anderson said. “I didn’t want to be average, I didn’t want to be ordinary where you looked at me and you actually knew everything about me. I wanted everybody to look at me and be like, ‘he is able to do anything.’

“The greatest compliment I ever got was coach told me that someone asked him ‘how do you stop Derek Anderson?” and he said don’t let him get the ball because once he does it he is able to do everything.

“And that is the way I looked at life, I said when I get an opportunity that is all I want and therefore I won’t make excuses. Nowadays you speak and even back then everyone makes excuse for the way you grew up but you have been blessed with a gift so maximize it. I speak to people I’m cordial, I’m nice, and that is how it happens, it always came back, so that is the reason why I always believe that I would be successful.”

Anderson’s message is one a lot of young NBA players could use to hear. Actually, it’s one all of us could use to genuinely listen to.

  1. vi3tguy415 - Oct 9, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    like his words matter. he was a bench warmer esp for MIAMI. nba fans don’t listen to guys on the bench. if it was kobe then sure. it would def catch people’s attention.

    • asimonetti88 - Oct 9, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      Clearly you don’t know what you’re talking about. Anderson started over half the games in his NBA career, averaged 29 MPG for his career and averaged 12 PPG for his career. He shot 34.1% from three and scored 17 PPG for the Clippers in 2000! He was one of the most important role players on a Portland team that arguably could have won a championship if not for Shaq and Kobe.

      On top of all of that, he was one of those random players that was unstoppable in NBA Live 2003 thanks to his three point rating.

      • edwardemanuelson - Oct 9, 2013 at 1:42 PM

        You beat me to it. Basketball-reference is a beautiful site. 😉

      • vi3tguy415 - Oct 9, 2013 at 3:59 PM

        ME:” HE WAS A BENCH WARMER”. YOU: “Anderson started over half the games in his NBA career”. does that mean he was never a bench warmer??? clearly, you don’t know what your talking about and must a MIAMI fan. My question to you. was he ever a bench warmer? YES OR NO

      • paleihe - Oct 9, 2013 at 4:21 PM


        By your logic, do you consider Kobe a bench warmer?

      • vi3tguy415 - Oct 9, 2013 at 4:59 PM

        koke a bench warmer?you open your mouth and we know your an idiot already. don’t waste my time

      • asimonetti88 - Oct 9, 2013 at 8:53 PM

        “clearly, you don’t know what your talking about and must a MIAMI fan.”

        Lol, no. I’m a Lakers fan. I’m just not 12 years old, so I actually remember Anderson’s playing career.

        “My question to you. was he ever a bench warmer? YES OR NO”

        No. He only had one of his 11 seasons where he played less than 20 MPG and that was his last year. He averaged 29 MPG for his career dude.

      • vi3tguy415 - Oct 10, 2013 at 2:48 AM

        Wrong! I just googled. He had many seasons as a bench Warmer !!!

      • vi3tguy415 - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:20 PM

        asimonetti88 on 10/09/13 @ 12:40 pm “Anderson started over half the games in his NBA

        asimonetti88 on 10/09/13 @ 8:53 pm ” He only had one of his 11 seasons where he played less than 20 MPG and that was his last year. He averaged 29 MPG for his career dude.”


      • asimonetti88 - Oct 10, 2013 at 9:22 PM

        How is that contradictory? He started over half the games in his career, he averaged 29 PPG for his career, and his last season he averaged 14 MPG. All of those are correct statements, as is the fact he was never a bench warmer, except MAYBE his final year, when he still averaged 14 MPG.

      • vi3tguy415 - Oct 11, 2013 at 2:41 AM

        Is cool man

    • ryanrockzzz - Oct 10, 2013 at 7:56 AM

      What does a story about perservering through life and becoming a professional basketball player have to do with sitting on the bench or starting LOL. If you wanna get people going…looks like you did you job. The sad part is how insanely off base this comment is, to the point where no one on this board respects it even an ounce.

  2. psly2124 - Oct 9, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Must be a republican. Used the phrase “personal responsibility”. Those two words are kryptonite to liberals. If he were a liberal he would blame his parents, school system, the government, his coaches, and last but not least racism, which is the go to move for liberals in the blame game. All excuses used deflecting personal responsibility.

    • jimeejohnson - Oct 9, 2013 at 7:41 PM

      The party of stupid Republicans has spoken.

    • Kurt Helin - Oct 9, 2013 at 11:22 PM

      This is what drives me crazy about the political debate. There are plenty of Republicans who don’t take any personal responsibility for what has happened to them in there lives. There are a lot of Democrats that have. Derek Anderson comes in with an inspiring story and you want to cheapen it with tawdry political hate.

      I pity your lack of empathy for others.

  3. cowboysmavs - Oct 9, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    psly, you sir are a jacka$$. what a pathetic comment

  4. antistratfordian - Oct 9, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    Anderson has “Won Olympic Gold Medal” on his website and “Gold Medal Olympian” on the cover of this book. I’d say that’s more than a little deceiving since he’s never won an Olympic gold medal.

    He won a gold medal at the U.S. Olympic Festival in San Antonio in 1993. There were 3,500 athletes at the 1993 Olympic Festival and only 125 of them were Olympians – Derek Anderson was not one of them.

    It’s unfortunate that he had to tarnish his inspiring story with fraudulent trumpery right on the cover.

  5. oowy - Oct 9, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    Still….not a bad bench warmer! I think there are worst ones out there. Don’t hate

  6. psly2124 - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    Typical liberal tactics. Take down a good guy because he doesn’t have your point of view. He is a success story and all liberal scum bags want to do is tear him down. I don’t even know if he a republican or not. But he sure speaks like one.

  7. psly2124 - Oct 9, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    Nome of you scumbags have ever hung or knew an Olympian. And you throw stones. You wouldn’t know the time or dedecation it takes to compete at an elete level. I best friends with all American wrestlers and football players. You punks couldn’t last one minute with them. Call me out now. I never seen or heard from more pathetic individuals.

  8. coryfor3 - Oct 10, 2013 at 1:31 AM

    Sounds like he overcame a lot but to do that, he had to have a lot of help from someone along the way. If you are a 15 year old father and manage to play at uk, someone other than NBA coaches reached out to you a lot earlier.

  9. ray9mansett - Oct 11, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    You, sir, viti3guy, are the horse arse! What have you done to compare with what DA has accomplished? Let’s not talk yet about on the court: All American, national champ, national runner up at UK, nba champ, etc. How about a young man going from abject poverty and abandonment to teenage father living on his own at 14, to multi-millionaire? Can you top that? I’ll wait for your response, Einstein.

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