Oliver Taylor and David Gurwitz Interview

23 Jan , 2016  

Oliver and David


00:40 Deputy Taylor if you’ll give me your background before meeting Mr Gurwitz.


Just an inner city kid from Far Rockaway NY, in Queens! Just a kid with a dream and took a chance on something I loved. People felt that I was pretty good. I wound up playing on my high school team and wound up becoming a “high school star”.


David: Leading scorer in the country – by the way, with no 3 point shots – by the way.


Oliver: I didn’t end up doing well on the SAT’s and they ended up doing an article on me in the New York Times. David Gurwitz ended up reading the article and wanted to give back. He contacted my school and my coach and told them that he wanted to tutor me. Me and him got on the phone and started talking and it just went from there.


01:49 Mr Gurwitz there were probably thousands of kids in the same position, why did he stand out to you? That’s a really great question. I guess the timing was great, my oldest who is now 26 at the time was little and I saw the article at the time and wanted to give back. I also come from a family that is very giving. We didn’t come from money, my grandfather had money, but he lost it in the war. He brought a car to try and feed the hungry and he wound up fighting eventually for the Russian army. It was that giving that my grandfather did that allows me to be here. You live from giving and the article about him was really a beautiful article. Lou Carneseca who was a top coach at St Johns really wanted him to come. It all hit me at once that maybe if I could help him maybe he could go to a place like that.
03:27 When your relationship started what did ya’ll work on? I know there was a lot of school stuff but was there any personal stuff? I had been a teacher at Stanley Kaplan Educational Center and it was eventually brought by the Washington Post. It was the biggest test preparation company in the world. So I was a tutor and I knew how to teach math and reading and that’s what we did. I drilled him. I knew he could handle the drilling and he did it all.


04:00 Deputy Taylor, what was it like to have this guy come and help you try and realize your dream?


It was great. You gotta think, this is somebody you don’t know anything about, different culture, different background, different mind frame. He shared a lot of things with me and made me start to see things differently. Especially coming from the inner city, just let me know that I had to keep working hard. My mind was saying I was a C+ B student, but the standardized testing was saying that you’re not ready for college material work. Knowing David, he said they can’t tell you that. As long as you keep working hard you can succeed. You should ask him what degrees he has now. What do you got? I have associates in General Studies and bachelors in Communications.


04:52 And how did it feel finally reaching your dream and going to college?


At the end of the day, you can tell anyone your own story. It allows you to know someone can’t tell you what you can’t do, but in your mind you know what you’ve been through. Experience is the best teacher. – that I can be successful at whatever I do.


05:19 and how did the relationship progress once you made it into school? Did you stay close then? We stayed close because he had actually given me the edge to go to the University of Seton Hall. Being a leading scorer in high school, everybody wants you for something. He was more concerned with the educational standpoint. What are you going to do after life after basketball and that speaks volumes by itself. If you don’t make it in basketball what can you do in life? When I look back on it and some of the guys I played with and competed with are struggling right now. One, because they didn’t get their degree, and two, because they didn’t have the skills to succeed. They allowed basketball to use them instead of using basketball for your benefit.


06:04 David, I had a sense of that also. You’re dealing with someone with such self respect and drive that that makes it easier. He was willing to learn, he doesn’t have a big ego. He could have, being a leading scorer, but he just doesn’t have it. He was a pleasure and still is. He wants to help, so it’s a win/win all around. But, these kids now don’t really appreciate if they put the work in now what it opens up. It’s hard for them to know and that’s what the sheriff and I were talking about, how do you get them to understand? They need to hear his story, they need to hear my story they need to see what you’re doing more and more and then they ask a question, why do I need to learn trigonometry or biology? Well your mind will learn this or that and it will open up, kids are comfortable with technology. I had him learn accounting with me. Look at this and look at that, because we could create an intellectual curiosity. If you do that you can get rid of about half the problems in the world.


07;15 Mr Gurwitz, when you started with him, you maybe didn’t know if it was going to work out. If he hadn’t reached his dream of going to college what did you want him to take away even if he didn’t get to the ending point you wanted him to be at? Well, at his house, there was no father in the house and the most important thing is family and kids which he’s gone on to have. To realize that basketball, I was a pretty good player, not as good as him, but to realize that basketball stops. Even Larry Bird retired, There’s no more Dominique, although I hate to say that down here. You have to go on. You have to anticipate. If you look at a Magic. What made him so great was the anticipation. Of how he saw and that’s something I think everyone has to learn, how to anticipate. That’s what I kept stressing. His athletic training made it easier, A lot of athletics is decision making. It’s not just shoot. When, how, what team, what time.. You know I was trained by Red Auerbach. I don’t know if you know who he was, ok. I spent a lot of time with him. How’d you pick Larry Bird, how’d you pick Bill Russell? Amazing story, how’d you pick Dave Cowens? I learned from the master how they saw them before anybody else did, so I think that way naturally and I try to pass that on to my kids. Oliver got it right away.
09:00 Deputy Taylor, tell me a little bit about your college career. Great experience, one it was close to home. I had the opportunity to go home when I got homesick. Playing for PJ Carlisimo and playing on TV at least twice or three times a week. Having an opportunity to play in a big time conference let me know that when you work hard you can succeed. Being from the neighborhood that I’m from, you see all these players, but not a lot from where you come from, so you really can’t relate to them. Being close to my town and city it was easy to go back and talk to kids to let them know if they continue to work hard they could be the next one. I didn’t have that coming out of high school. I had to set the standard for everyone else. Traveling to different states, signing autographs, learning a different game. Going from a two guard scoring guard to a true point guard helped me become a better leader. So, my experience was great. Then the big east tournament was a shining moment. Playing in Madison Square Garden when you know Muhammad Ali boxed there, Michael Jordan played there and people had performed at their highest level there. Just being able to walk away with the MVP trophy from guys like Alonzo Mourning, Billy Owens, some of the top draft picks in the NBA it came from a lot of hard work, You work hard you’re going to have your time and when your time comes take full advantage of it. So I enjoyed it.
10:41 After college, how’d you end up here in Rockdale county? After college I went overseas and played 11 years professional basketball. My brother moved to Georgia and I just happened to stop by coming back from Argentina and two days afterward to World Trade Center went down. So once the trade center went down that was the end of my basketball career. And I just liked Georgia and Rockdale county, so I decided to buy a house and live out there.
1111 How did your relationship break off or separate for a while? After college I went overseas and I was gone for 11 years. I’m in different countries and I know David was doing business. I was trying to start a different type of career. I was trying to learn different languages as well. We lost contact, my phone number had changed. David,,,, It’s a funny story how we got back. The reason we got back was, my brother actually tried to set up a company call IROCK records and he’s always online and he’s into music. And he informed me one day, have you seen David Gurwitz? I said no, He said he’s doing music. And that’s the last thing I’m thinking that he’s doing. He was my tutor, my mentor, so that was the last thing I was thinking.


I had to physically see him on the computer to see is this the same guy that I know. Then when I saw him I reached out and we’ve been in contact ever since.


12:27 What was that feeling like when you did get back in contact? It was almost like your big brother got married and went away to California and comes back into town after doing something else and we just happened to meet each other once again.


David,,,, but it’s so funny the basketball connection to all this is that I became a piano player because of basketball. I grew up dribbling a basketball like Pistol Pete. Pistol Pete used to go to the movies and dribble. I did the same thing. I wasn’t as good as him, but I did this a million times. When I went to college, I was always into music, I had a good ear, but I never thought about playing an instrument, I’d rather go play ball like Oliver. So I was in a class, math class and the professor drew a piano and he showed in a keyboard from c to c that there are 13 keys 8 white and 5 black and there’s a sequence known as the Fibonacci sequence. You should Google it. It’s the most prevalent pattern in nature. So, Fibonacci was a mathematician in the 1400’s and he found this pattern of how plants grow and shells, it’s fascinating. It’s also in music, it’s also in our face the ratio from here to here. I heard this and I ran down to the music building, I was in shape. Thank God I’m still in shape. I go into the music building and there’s 30 pianos and I’m shaking I can’t believe music is math. I put my hands down and I had it in my hands from the first time I touched it. This is at 19 years old. and I start playing. I was a disc jockey, I had a good ear everyone listened to my shows. Ten years ago I made my first cassette and I gave it to my cousin. My cousin called me up and said, “you’re really good, but don’t think you’re such a big shot, your mother was much better.” I said Rich what are you talking about, he said she never told you? I said what? He said she never told you she played in Carnegie Hall? My mother never told me, so I have this blood in me of someone who was able to play at Carnegie hall. So I’ve developed this musical talent now. I compose music which is another thing. My music is used in hospitals for kids to reduce drugs given before and after surgery because it’s very calming. So now I’m a world famous composer and concert pianist. I do stuff for the special Olympics, I do stuff all over the world. So, because I put the site up he was able to get back in contact with me.
16:00 and what was that like for you David? When I got the email, I was driving down the Palisades Parkway and I almost had an accident. I shouldn’t be saying this in front of the sheriff, but I looked at my email while I was driving, so I saw Oliver because he wrote to my site and I contacted you right away and that was it we’ve been in touch ever since.
16:27 what are your plans for the future now that you are back in touch? Staying in touch that’s the first thing. I came down for a wedding, also I do business, and I’m in the financial advisory business. I’m on TV a lot, I speak about stock markets and I have a client in Atlanta that I’m going to see, so there’s business to do, but I’d like this story to be out there more. It’s not for the ego, as you can see, it’s to help people. Which he clearly inspires people, we should get it out there. I’m good at math, but 1 and 1 is 11 if you play properly.
17:10 Deputy Taylor,, talking about the message, I know you’re out here working in a school now, helping kids out. What do you hope they can take away from your story? One the most important thing is about working hard. People come through your life for reasons, and just try to identify it. Now being in the Rockdale sheriff and working in schools, to be able to effect the kids and any form or fashion is a plus. I always reflect on how it happened for me. He didn’t know one thing about me. He just knew inner city kid, maybe stereotypes, who takes a chance on that? and like the sheriff said earlier, chance and trust. You gotta trust somebody and you gotta give them a chance. You can’t tell me I can’t succeed because of standardized tests I’m proof of that.
18:26 Sheriff, can you tell us a little of what it’s like to have Deputy Taylor and people getting to know his story how it can affect the youth in Rockdale county.


As most people know, to me, law enforcement is one of the most disliked careers that you can be in and when you have a positive young male working for any public safety position and lead the life that he has and the fact that he is now leading is very helpful to an agency, but it’s good to know that he can possibly touch a bunch of other males. I too was a mentor and you asked a question earlier, to David did you know which way he would go and as a mentor you don’t know which way they will go you only suspect which way they’re going to go and that way is the right way, but you don’t know. I had two young men that I mentored and I often wondered which way they would go and out of the two, the one that I thought was going to go the wrong way is actually going the right way. Now he has a degree in journalism. As mentors, it’s always good to know that we inspired a person’s life. He has grabbed that torch from David and he’s now a mentor with kids in the school that he works with. I remember that I served on the hiring committee and prior to that I believe he was working with a security company. A lot of people probably wonder, how did he go from being a basketball star to working in law enforcement, but they just don’t understand. It’s good to see him in this role. I think you said it best, he doesn’t have an ego and you don’t need to have an ego to get to where he is. So, he has two positive things going for him, well three. He came from a single household and didn’t use that as an excuse. He doesn’t have an ego and ego can sometimes get you in a lot of trouble. It can land you in jail, cause you to do drugs or become violent. and now he’s in a career where he’s helping people, he counseling people and trying to help. I think that having him in our agency or any agency should inspire and is inspiring a lot of young people.


21:49 tell me about Oliver’s life day in and day out, not just in the school.


He tells me sometimes he has to go to a house and lock them up. Maybe you can give a scope of what it’s like to be a sheriff, and what people don’t know and appreciate. Like Oliver, I came from a single family. I’m sure he goes to calls and has to deal with looking at those households is the same household that he came from. The worst feeling that a person like him can ever have is leaving that household and not knowing if h eis coming back. Leaving that household in the position that he’s in that he can’t really do much. Leaving that household knowing that he has to take someone to jail that he didn’t really want to do. When you talk about domestic violence, you deal with households that they’re in that domestic violence because of financial problems. Maybe the dad lost his job, but he’s always been that hard working man to provide for his children. But, he probably relates that to his life, even though there’s a mother and father in that home. He goes to those houses where there’s only a mother she has 2 or 3 or 4 children and that mother can’t do what it takes to run that household effectively. He takes that home with him. A lot of people don’t understand that when we go home, we go home with a lot of pressure and stress. I remember one of the deputies made a stop and the guy fled and the area where he fled there was this basketball court and guess who was there dribbling a basketball on that court on their off time? Deputy Taylor. So, what happened? He got away, but they caught him several days later. To relieve the stress I know he still goes to the basketball court.
02:32 David,,, you call it a 9 to 5 job, but with people who have situations that don’t get resolved in 2 seconds, so it sits on you. It’s not just someone you took to jail, it’s people you have to keep out of jail. You call them, you see them, and you spend time. I’ll tell you 2 years ago, you probably won’t remember this. The situation there was the following: they were picking deputies for different shifts. I was a sgt at the time. You’re only as good as the head, people you work for. He had said something that will stick to me to this day. He said, all you have to do for people is be fair. That’s it, be fair across the board. I don’t care what the circumstances, be fair. You go to house calls and as long as I know that I tried to be as fair as I can be I can go home and sleep. I have a job to do, I gotta make sure when I leave that location that I did my job. If someone’s being aggressive and I leave them there and someone gets hurt. I don’t want to do it, but I have to be fair and do my job. People take for granted what the police do, I know I didn’t know all that they do. I believe a lot of it is financial and if these kids had money it would solve a lot of problems. So, I was not aware, but Oliver has taught me.


00:28 David,,,, So, I grew up in the Bronx right by the concourse and Cross Bronx Expressway, and the point guard for Kareem grew up he was a polish kid named Richie Lomas. Kareem was not Kareem at the time he was Lew Alcindor. The school yard was tough and I couldn’t get on the court a lot, so you had to be smart. So, they had guys playing and I would go buy them french fries. A bag of french fries back then was 25 cents and we would douse it with ketchup. I’d bring it back and the guys would eat them, their hands would get all greasy, and they would go out of the game and I would take his place. That’s how I got time on the court, by getting guys ketchup and french fries. There was one guy he was 6’3, 230, built like Ron Gantt and his name was “never on me.” No one ever dunked on him. He would just take you and move you aside.
01:42 and there were guys who played horse and one of the questions I wanted to ask Oliver was, did anyone ever beat you in horse? Oliver, That’s a good question, not that I can recall. Did you and Terry Dehere used to play horse? No, no because he was afraid of you? I wouldn’t say that, but we never played.
0209 So we get a chance to come down to Atlanta and see your life here, right I’ve never been here. I’m pretty good with words, but I can’t even express the gratitude of the little bit that I did to help contribute to this. And also, the joy that you have in this environment. You really love what you do. I mean this isn’t work. I mean you work hard, but it’s such a pleasure to see someone in an environment that they are thriving in and really having an impact I just wanted to express that. That’s true, you find something you want to do and you want to succeed at the highest level.


0256 You’ve been pretty high level since I’ve known you. Even when you couldn’t get the grades, you weren’t depressed about it. I remember the first time you were quite. Oliver, I didn’t have time to get depressed, I had you inspiring me. Telling me you can do it, working Like I’ve said, even if you don’t get something, there are always other ways to get there.
0320 So tell me your recollection of shooting socks into a light basket? I’m glad you brought that up, see what we used to do was, I’d take the socks, squeeze it up, take regular tape and wrap it around to make it hard. Then I’d take a white hanger, fold it up and tie it around the edge then I’d take an onion bag cut the bottom off and put it around the edges of the hanger and then take tape and make the edges thick and we’d put it on the bedroom door and shoot. I used to do it all the time. I was so good at it, my brothers used to make me shoot all the way from behind the bed. How old were you doing that? 7, 8? Yes 7 or 8. All the noise in the house, people would come up and say stop making noise in the house. I guess that’s where I got the eye for shooting from. Isn’t that funny David,, we did the same thing, but we didn’t have the onion bag, Oliver,,, when I see what the kids have today with the hoops that go on doors, I’m like I wish I copyrighted it, because I created that years back. David, we have that at our house too, you can’t even open most of the doors because there are hoops on everything.


0540 Tell me what you thought when you heard some crazy person was willing to come tutor you when that story came out?


When I got the results back I obviously felt disappointed. Were you actually going to go to St Johns? Yes St Johns was my first choice. I’m going to tell you a true story. When I first started playing in high school, one of my teammates asked me what school I wanted to go to, because I was doing so well and I said St Johns and they laughed like it was a joke. The reason I understood now, was no big time coaches ever came to Far Rockaway. I remember to gratification I had when Lou Carneseca walked into our gym. David, he was an amazing man. I met him with you as a matter of fact. Even when I signed at Seton Hall, and he understood the reasons why, but he had Boo Harvey and other guys there so I was coming from Jr College and I wanted to make sure I was going to play at that time. I ran into Lou and we just talked and he was as nice as the first time I met him. It was just a blessing. No high profile school had ever come to recruit at Far Rockaway High School.
0733 and then the NY Times writer writes a story about you. and then they write the story, which is amazing in itself. Right. At that time I was feeling down and my coach said, some guy named David Gurwitz called and he wants to tutor you. We set up a meeting and once we met it just went forward, straight. Then once we had the meeting it wasn’t anything about basketball. It was; “let’s find a way to make you succeed.” Now that I look back, it was such a blessing.
0830 David,,, I wasn’t that impressed because I could score too,,, both laugh. but it was amazing even that I did it, because we had just had a baby and all of a sudden I’m bringing this kid around and teaching him math. Remember we used to go out to dinner a lot and I wouldn’t let him eat all that chicken he wanted to have. Oliver, the thing he used to inform me to try different things. Back then, if I had 10 dollars, I wasn’t going to take my 10 dollars to try something different, and maybe not like it. But you have to experience that and when I went to France there were so many different types of food. At one point when I was in France I was like, if you tell me what that is I’m not going to eat it. I’ll eat it and you can tell me afterwards. Then I ate a lot of different things, so that prepared me for that as well.
0930 You were quiet. Very quiet, I was very shy. What got me out of shyness was my last year at Seton Hall. I started working at basketball camps and working with the kids and being more of a role model. Then I’d go back to my neighborhood and they’d ask me to do things and I guess experience is the best teacher. My wife is funny because she remembers Oliver as so quiet, and she was like…that’s Oliver?? I was very quiet. But sweet, always sweet.
1110 So I remember when we got out of touch, I tried to track you down. I knew you were in France and I tried, but I wasn’t able to. I called Seton Hall and they weren’t in touch, I called Robin, who was a great lady. Robin Cunningham I owe her a lot. Even after I stopped playing at SH I still had like 2 classes left. Robin stayed on the phone, come get these classes out of the way and graduate. Based on her pushing me to finish my degree it helps me today in the workforce. David,, is she still there? Last thing I knew she was still there. I should try and get in touch with her. If you think about it, when we went through the process to look at the school, she was a major factor in the decision to go to SH. I remember meeting PJ and Robin was there and I said the ball is important, but we really want to get a good education. And the school really took pride to do that.
1300 I tell people my schedule back then, it was go to the gym at 0545, run the track, get breakfast and then it was time for class. Then every little break during the day, some students would get a nap, but I had tutoring, or to study and then by the time you had practice you were tired. I had it like that until my final year when all my classes were caught up and then I was like what am I going to do with my time? wow
1345 So, she taught you time management also. Yeah, oh yeah. That helped out a lot.
1430 I wasn’t surprised that you’ve made yourself into this, with that determination. Your mother had something to do with that also right? Why don’t you talk about your mother a little bit. She worked 3 jobs. She gave me the desire to contribute and work. She taught me whatever you want to do in life, if you work for it you can get it. My step father was there, but in terms of the glue, she was there across the board.
1501 5’1, maybe 5’3 – I met her bunch of times, she loves me and I love her. She was at every SH home game. Even now, she flies down and stays with me. But growing up in the inner city it wasn’t like we didn’t have a bike or stuff, we had everything. Amazing lady, but I guess that’s where the motivation comes from. Always making sure my kids are working hard and consistent across the board. Well your family, tell us about your brother, everyone is accomplished. Yes, I have 2 brothers and three sisters. My 2 brothers live here in GA about 5 minutes apart. At one point we all played basketball on the same team. My brother Kurt wanted to play at Hawaii and my other brother opened an ATT store. He’s the brains. That’s how you got back in touch with me. yes he’s always on the computer and knows how to do that. He’s very responsible. Even when I went overseas, he was the one to hold the money that I sent back from overseas. He never wanted anything. That’s great and so nice to hear.
1700 David, you doing this story, it may seem like I’m a big part, no I’m just a small part. You had a brother that everyone trusts, he could shoot let’s give him the ball and the money. A mother that isn’t letting anything happen to her little kids right…. right. Talk about Alonzo Mourning sitting in the back, your mother plays a lot bigger than 6’11 and she was 5’2. She’s only little physically, that’s the only thing little about her. Smiling all the time. Although there were times when she had to be rough with you guys occasionally. Correct. So then you have a brother in business that you trust completely which is a great thing. Correct. and because of him we got back in touch so I owe him. My other brother is also a sheriff in the next county. So your whole family is a success story. Yeah. You should all feel very proud, considering the stories of where you come from many weren’t so successful. Whenever I go home, it’s the same people doing the same things, they’re just a little older. Basketball was my way out and getting help from the people who crossed my path now I try and help kids by telling them my experience.
1830 This is so important for the kids, to hear. Correct, anytime you can affect any kids in society, because I mean they’re the next generation. They have futures. If we forget about them what are we doing as a society? I agree It’s bigger than us.
1910 The person who is writing the story for the local paper asked what made you do it? It was timing, but obviously God made me do it because I didn’t think to do it. One day I see this story and the next I’m calling your coach. Your coach was a great guy. Yeah. He interviewed me by the way and you were saying I was taking this city kid and I didn’t know what he was going to be like. He made sure you weren’t taking a risk with some nut like me. He drilled me with questions. I was very impressed, he was protecting his player. I said, I don’t care if he scores more points, I want to make sure he gets to the right school. He also played a role and I was impressed the way he was other than being a coach. Oliver,,, I still stay in touch with him. Does he still coach? No actually he retired and he’s living out in Long Island. What’s his name? PJ Delaro He’s sitting back enjoying life now. So, he coached all those years? Yup, all those years, wow. He always told me and everyone else underneath him that I was the best player he ever had. That’s probably true. Coming from Far Rockaway there was a lot of talent.


2040 You know it’s funny now that I’m here I’m having all these feelings and we’ve reconnected in New York, but I’ve finally come down here to see your life. It’s just a tremendous feeling for me. I appreciate that for sure. I wanted to see you. Even without the cameras, I don’t care about publicity.
2130 what would you recommend that we’re finally making this a little more public, because we hadn’t done it until now, what would you want people to get out of our story both individually and collectively? It’s huge, I believe because you’re talking about two different individuals from different backgrounds and different cultures. You could sit down and tell the story of me going from zero to ten and you from zero to ten and different people hear it and maybe there are some similarities in certain aspects of it. With kids today and the division and separation, it doesn’t matter we are all God’s people. This story, look at me and look at you and it doesn’t matter and we’re brothers. That’s right. That speaks volumes. You’re gonna get me crying. At the end of the day people have to understand that help comes in all forms at different stages. When someone puts their heart out to help somebody else the reward is bigger than what they are giving out. Oh for sure. I can thank you 1000 times for being a part of who I am, not just you but other people.


For people to see that you’re doing something to better yourself, people are going to want to help you. I’m sure if I didn’t care, you would have seen that. If you said I want you to come to the training center on Friday and I never showed up eventually you’re going to say what am I going to do? I’m not going to hunt him down. Absolutely, you showed up like a clock. and even how I got to you. Remember Steve? You should tell who Steve is. Steve was a high school councilor and I considered him my big brother as well. He was there in many different ways. He used to drive you to my house. Yes, and he would come and pick me back up. So, there were a lot of people who played a big part. Wow. When I think about it now I’m very grateful and thankful. Now that you’re telling me this I remember, but I hadn’t thought about it, but used to probably sit and wait to drive you home. Yes, and it wasn’t 5 minutes. Yup and he used to do the same thing for St Johns. Now when I go back to NY he always comes to see me as well. So, my core of people surrounding me was amazing.
0140 It’s amazing and what are you doing with it all? You’re giving out. Don’t forget where you come from. When I work with my kids at school I think, if I can get one of them they might be an impact on 1000 others.
0200 Tell me about your school, the economic background of the kids, the rougher kids and the ones you see could possibly be a positive role model for others. I just asked you 4 – I always go back to my experience. I played in France, Germany, Israel and that’s a lot of different cultures. People have different mentalities. So, when you’re dealing with kids, black African Americans, kids are going through a lot. Just in this area right here, Rockdale city there’s an area where a lot of stuff goes down. When you’re dealing with kids, people have bad days. You can’t treat everyone the same way. Some kids are rougher than other kids. With what I went through makes me relate to everyone. Lots of times kids see police and think they are bad. They’re going to lock us up, or our parents up or racial profiling. All people look at law enforcement different. Then you have some law enforcement officers who have made some bad choices. They don’t put that on the news when you’re doing well or doing good things. That’s what I wanna hear about.
0406 what’s the stuff that’s not on the news that you are doing well and other men and women are doing well? Officers in schools, talking to kids, educating the general public. We have a job to do and if you’re doing crime, we didn’t lock you up you locked yourself up. We’re just doing our job but it’s because of the decisions you have made. My thing is – where are these kids going from here, to high school and once they are 17 they can be charged as an adult and go to jail if they make the wrong choices. If I’m talking to the kids I tell them, we are all going to make bad choices, we are all not immune to that. The point of making a bad choice is that we can learn from it. Not to do it again. Once we learn not to do it again, now we’re maturing and wising up. Sometimes you can make a bad choice and say I do put you in jail, you can still look at it as a learning tool. Don’t look at it like I’m in jail my life is over. Find different avenues, make it up.
0545 You have so many different levels of situation to try and help. The guy in jail, the kid in school, the kid who might make a bad decision, the kid who did make a bad decision, so it’s like a game on one level. I don’t mean it in a bad sense. You have to decide whether to shoot, pass off, strengthen the kid and they know that you’re there for them. The ones that I know there name personally, because I have a lot to pay attention to. If you’re not on the basketball or football team or things of that nature, if I see you we are always at a gathering talking about choices. Those individuals I stay on more, because they’re going to learn eventually. My thing is – if you come into a room that’s dirty and you complain about it every day, eventually, somebody going to clean it up. If it’s not you. So, if I’m talking to this kid every day, everyday first thing he’s going to do is say he’s tired of hearing it so let me do what I gotta do. And then when he gets it right I’m going to applaud him for it.
0705 What about kids who are in gangs? What’s the gang story down here? In this school there are no physical signs of gangs, you’re not going to see it. At this age they’re not trying to get labeled because they know we have the eye for it. We have an officer who handles all the gang stuff. If I get anything gang related it automatically goes to him. That’s one, because we want to put a stop to it. 2 I teach a gang program that helps kids learn to make better choices. We don’t single out any gang, they never hear me say “crips or bloods”, no one. We talk to kids about gang situations and how you recognize it. How it effects our communities. What not to get involved with. How to refuse. How to deal with peer pressure. How to deal with any situation that you are going through. Not just in middle school, this is a tool you’re going to learn to prepare you for high school, college and the world and that’s to make the right choices. Now as long as you get the tools, and I make sure in my classes. I make sure that all the kids get involved. When they get older and go out, they know good from bad. That’s a choice they’re going to have. Like anything in life, if you make a choice you have to be big enough to deal with the consequences. Say you get into a fight, you have school policies and you have the law. Depending you can be put in jail. I didn’t have the law in our schools, we had security guards. In the high school they have 18 police in the school and there is only one of me in the school. So you can tell the different culture and different mentality of the kids.
1007 If they had 10 it wouldn’t be enough? I would assume so. wow. I haven’t worked there, but some schools have as many as 23. You wonder how society changed so quick.


0028 What’s on your mind Oliver after we’ve spent this beautiful day catching up and getting Ron Gantt here, and get all these people here filming, and show all these people who may have had a sense about your past but didn’t know. Tell me what you’re really thinking. For me it’s no different. Like I said, once I walked away from the game of basketball, I walked away.
0110 I don’t do things for attention, but if it’s going to have an impact especially for the young kids.


David, I think it will. I mean, here I am 59 years old. You talk about a Red Auerbach, it means something that you know what he did. I’m not just talking about that he selected Bill Russell and he changed the game. How did he pick a Dave Cowens who changed the game? How did he pick a Larry Bird who changed the game? How did he understand people that changed games? What does that mean in life? To recognize, how do you tell a kid don’t go with that gang? You’re changing the game of that guy, it’s no different. And that’s kind of what my training has been in life, and fortunately I was able to help you and I’m sure you understand I try and help many people in many ways if I can. You know if it’s helping people with medical issues or just helping them, money or help them to understand how to see the world. That’s the thing that I see you have incorporated and to help others who didn’t have your gift of athleticism. That was a gift also, but you worked hard, but that was still a gift. Clearly God gave you a hand eye. The fact that you were shooting at 6 years old with the socks, I was doing the same thing because we were crazy, but because we loved basketball so much. But you became exceptional and other people did, but how do you take a person who’s not exceptional? In that regard, but how do you make them exceptional at being able to avoid making a bad decision? To see it in a positive way, instead of that gang guy came at me and I had to avoid him, I feel great because I didn’t go for the gang because I’m not a gang person. How do we elevate the mindset, I don’t know the answer, I’m asking. How do we make everyone feel exceptional about fighting off the issues that didn’t exist when we were growing up. The streets out there are getting worse and worse, the overall situation and you have to put more into the kids to have them avoid that.
0334 Yes, you’re correct because everyone has a different mind. You got a lot of people playing with technology these days that we didn’t have growing up, so they sit at home and play games all day. Life I said, I used my sport as a life learning tool. Like the gang situation, if you see a gang coming dribble left. If you see a trap coming, why go? Reverse it, a gang someone who’s not talented it can work the same way. You reverse it and go the opposite way. In the game of basketball you learn when to shoot, when to cut and when not to. You know sometimes you can’t make that or you might get blocked or I might get a turnover. I just try and use what I’ve been through in life and the people that have impacted me. It’s like knitting a blanket. You start off little, but eventually it gets wider and wider and wider.
0445 David,,, I hadn’t thought about this, but my grandparents were unbelievable tailors. When I went to school they had sewing classes. In 1963 1964 there were sewing classes. I used to beat everyone. I would sew something before they even got the needle out of the thimble. Because my grandfather and grandmother were tailors. To a certain degree what you’re saying, stitching a life is something that we’re good at and we’re trying to help other people do. This has been fun, this has been a pleasure. Thank you hugs.