Tuesday, February 28, 2017

CSO Q & A- DePaul Athletics Hall of Fame member Bobby Simmons

                                                      Photo Credit: DePaul Athletics

Welcome to the latest edition of CSO's Q & A, where I chat with athletes and media personalities about life on and off the playing surface.

This week's Q & A focuses on former NBA player and DePaul Athletics Hall of Famer Bobby Simmons.

GG: You have joined basketball greats, such as Mark Aguirre, Ray Meyer and Doug Bruno in the DePaul Athletics Hall of Fame, how does it feel to be among select company?

BS: It shows that the mindset, the focus, the adversity and perseverance— as a kid from Chicago, most might not have access to.  Giving myself the opportunity to be the best basketball player and student-athlete I possibly could be. Being honored as a Hall of Famer is huge.

GG: Tell me about the Bobby Simmons Rising Star Foundation you started with helping out kids from Chicago get scholarships to DePaul?

BS: The Bobby Simmons Rising Star Foundation is a way for me to help implement change with having an opportunity and an endowment fund to grant scholarships at DePaul every year for kids that are non-athletic. On the other end as an athlete, you have more options and for the students who excel in the classroom and never have that opportunity to go to college, I try to open that door, especially to have that opportunity to come to DePaul. I see some of the former students and they tell me thank you and I ask why? And they say that they used the scholarship granted by me in order to continue the college journey. I am thankful because I am able to help.

GG: Speaking of the door being open, you left school early to enter the 2001 NBA Draft. You decided to come back to DePaul for your bachelor’s degree and completed it in 2014. How did you balance coming back to school, given a busy schedule?

BS: I started my businesses while playing and to be honest, returning to school was something that was always on my mind while playing in the NBA. I tried to go back in the off-season and it did not work because some of the classes I needed to take were not available. I knew life in the NBA would end sooner, rather than later and I promised my family I would graduate and as my grandparents got older, it became a no-brainer to finish. I took a chance knowing it was either basketball or life and
there is life after basketball.

GG: In your 11-year NBA career, which player helped mold you into the person you are today?

BS: The guy who drafted me to the Washington Wizards, Michael Jordan helped mold me. One of the greatest players of all-time picked me out of anybody, a kid from Chicago. I watched him win six championships with the Bulls and to be with him everyday was a great feeling. I learned so much from watching him play and his conversations and motivation on a day-to-day basis was impactful.

GG: Michael Jordan became a global business conglomerate through his sneaker brand, have you applied any of his techniques to your business ventures?

BS: Well, my first business was a sneaker store called Succezz. I was a Jordan Brand athlete my entire career and sneakers is something I know. If you have the experience and know the business, the logistics of it is easy to learn. By building those connections, that is one the key components to having an opportunity to network and expand. As long as I do that, the business will not fail, especially when you have mentors like Jordan.

GG: You played with Quentin Richardson at DePaul and in the NBA together, how did it feel to be on the journey together in college and in the pros?

BS: One thing about Quentin is that we always challenged each other. On the court, constructive criticism of each other helped mold our games and brought the best out of each other. You can’t forget about Lance Williams either because if we did not to do it, nothing was going to get done. It is a brotherhood and I always stay in contact with them all the time.

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