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Former Basketball Star shares his experiences with students

Nathan Swaffar, Reporter

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From Left to Right, Adrian Branch driving with Gabriel Ramos, freshman, and Cameron Pfannenstiel, sophomore.

Last Wednesday, a former professional basketball star came to Topeka High to share his knowledge about past experiences of bad decisions, stories about his time in the NBA, and how his decisions and actions got him to where he is today.

Adrian Branch has an impressive resume. He is the fifth leading scorer in Maryland Basketball History and led them to the 1984 Atlantic Coast Conference or ACC Championship, he was drafted 45th overall in the 1985 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls, he was part of the 1987 Los Angels Lakers NBA Championship team, he was honored as an “ACC Legend” at the 2004 ACC Tournament, in 2007 he joined ESPN as a basketball analyst, and has been a motivational speaker for over 20 years.

Branch has played against some of the best Basketball players of all-time and states that is was a privilege to play alongside them.

“I knew during the time that I was in a special place and I knew that,” said Branch, “I knew that if I was going to be there one or ten years I wanted to soak it up as much as I could playing with those championship Lakers teams and playing against the great Dominique Wilkins, Michael Jordan, and Dr. J. I knew they were good and I knew that was a moment in time.”

Branch’s presentation was focused on making right decisions. He spoke with students about mistakes he has made like how he was arrested when he drove a friend to a drug deal, or when he drank alcohol with the wrong person on the Lakers team bus. He did it in an interactive way pulling students on stage and reenacting some of his bad choices, but having some fun in the process.

“If it’s done right with the right attitude and humility, this will never go out of style. Everyone will always want to be encouraged and most of the talk was just acknowledging people. Hey come on up how tall are you how short are you, you know styling and profiling. So most of it we were talking a little bit, but a lot of it was encouraging, you know, letting kids laugh letting them have fun.”

He stated that even if you make bad decisions, you have to let them go and learn from the mistakes you make.

“I threw back a lot of God’s gifts. I was a highly gifted and talented athlete but I was a knucklehead, and so I was a ringleader and instead of a team leader and I have to believe in at 53 and not beat myself up on what was lost and look at what I’m doing now and that it’s positive and that it’s a redemptive story.”

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Former Basketball Star shares his experiences with students