Allan Houston, two-time NBA All-Star, Olympic Gold Medalist, and Founder of social impact and leadership development company FISLL, rapped with host Michael Redd about his rise to becoming a top NBA player, and his subsequent successes, failures, and hard lessons learned.
“Relationships are the currency of life.” – Allan Houston”
Allan is a legendary shooting guard from the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks. In addition to making the 1999 NBA finals with the Knicks, he’s also served as GM and is currently a special assistant to the General Manager.
The two-time NBA All-Star, Olympic Gold Medalist, and philanthropist is also Founder of FISLL – based on the values of Faith, Integrity, Sacrifice, Leadership, and Legacy – created with a mission “… to engage, equip and inspire people to Live Better, Perform Better, and Lead Better.”
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In this episode Michael and Allan talked about:
- Allan’s commitment and devotion to mastery, on and off the court
- How confidence is built on preparation
- Why you have to show up with everything you have
- How to build a foundation for achievement (hint: maintain strong relationships)
- Why true success is about focusing on the details and being consistent every day
- And more!
- Allan Houston
- FISLL on LinkedIn
- Allan Houston on Instagram
- Allan Houston on Twitter
- Michael Redd on Instagram
Allan Houston: I was like... this was probably my chance to prove that I am who I know I've always been. Take the challenge on the highest stage at the height of what the Knicks' highest expectations were and take that challenge on.
Michael Redd: Hey everybody, this is Michael Redd and welcome to the Betting on Yourself podcast. Where I interview successful entrepreneurs, athletes and other top performers who rose to the top and took success in to their own hands and bet on themselves. Today I'm talking with Allen Houston, legendary shooting guard from the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks. He's a two time NBA All star, Olympic Gold Medalist, founder of social impact and leadership development company FISLL, and an all around incredible man of humility and integrity. In this episode we talk about Allen's rise to become one of the top players in the NBA which came with its fair share of success, failures and hard lessons learned. But what really impresses me about Allen is his commitment and his devotion to mastery on and off the court. He cares so much about the people around him and about showing up with everything he has. Truly remarkable human. Grateful to know him and I can't wait for you to hear his wisdom. Here's my conversation with Allen Houston.
Michael Redd: We can just jump right in my brother. I've been waiting for this podcast for a long time and this is a podcast where I'm really going to give roses to where roses are due. I love this guy who I'm about to talk to. Allen Houston, who is a former two time all star, former Knicks, Detroit Pistons player in the NBA, Olympic Gold Medalist, Knicks executive, business man, kingdom man. A man who loves his wife and his kids and has been a tremendous example to me. More than anything, he's one of my closest people in my life. And so today I had to pleasure of having him on.
Michael Redd: Allen, it's good to have you. Well I won't call you Allen. Allen Houston went out the door maybe about 20 years ago and now its just H2O. For those listeners, H2O means his jump shot, his game when he played was just like water. By far, and ill let him share, one of the hardest guys for me, who I ever played against, to guard. Period. I mean obviously the Kobe's and LeBron's, Allen Iverson, I would put Allen right there with those guys because I just couldn't do anything with him. So and there's more to that and we'll get into that in the podcast but brother thank you for being on man.
Allan Houston: Man, thank you, thank you. I'm just so proud of you man. Thankful for our brotherhood and relationship. Relationships are so important in life in general and when you can have meaningful ones, ones that can last that's just, that's what its about.
Michael Redd: 100%. I never forget my rookie year. We met in chapel, playing you guys in New York. I'm watching you from the sideline, I wasn't even dressed as a player, I was a rookie. I remember you saying a number of kind things to me and encouraging me on my game and life, period. For those who are listening, Allen has had a massive, massive influence on my life. When it comes to how I built my house, my game, parenting. My fashion, because when it came to fashion and I met Allen and he introduced me to some of his people that we loved, [Gerard 00:03:52], shout out to Gerard. On and on and on, and it was so important for me to have veterans like Allen kind of shape my career. And he was a Godly man at that. And I just wanted to share that. And I think you know that.
Allan Houston: Shout out to Gerard, look good and feel good.
Michael Redd: Yeah, yeah man. So the podcast is, as you know we talked about it all, about the theme of betting on yourself. And you've done that throughout your whole life. Tell me in your own words, what that has meant to you, to bet on yourself.
Allan Houston: That's a great term. It ultimately, it means believing in yourself more than other people will believe in you. Although, I do believe sometimes we do need people to believe in us more than we believe in ourselves. But I... So much of I think growth and development in life is self awareness. Being able to know who you are, know who I am. And we talk about this a lot and from an early age we not only recognize, "You know what, I'm tall and lanky. I might have a little jump shop, a little gift here." But the biggest thing we learned was who we were spiritually. And who gave us the gift and the responsibility that we felt to honor God with our gift. So when you know that, know who you are, then you can bet on yourself because then you believe in yourself and you believe in your purpose, you believe in where you're going.
Allan Houston: And another thing I think betting on yourself means is, is having a vision. When God gave Joseph a vision when he was 17 years old, that you are going to help run the world, you're going to be second in command to the most important person in the nation. And that's going to rub some people the wrong way. People that are really close to you. But you have to believe in that so strongly. And one of the ways that you can bet on yourself and believe in yourself is know God to the degree that, "Man, this vision that I have is pretty strong man, it's not going to be for everybody to buy into or believe but I have to bet on it, believe it, because it's for me." There will be a lot of people who will kind of buy into that vision that you have for yourself and a lot of people who are going to try to detract you and try to knock you off of that vision. And so I think that's what it means to me.
Michael Redd: Is there a pivot able moment that was in your life that you said, "You know what I'm going to take a massive bet on myself."? Now obviously you grew up in an incredible household. Your dad coaching at Tennessee, you make the jump to Tennessee. Is there a moment in your teenage years or a pivot able moment that you took a major bet on yourself?
Allan Houston: I don't think I see a moment where I say I bet on myself, I think there are moments where you kind of act in faith as more of a response to the situation where you can say, I'm going to back away from this or I'm just going to keep moving forward. I think one of them that I can think of is honestly when I was 14 or 15 years old and I received Christ. I was 15 and growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, my father was one of the most well respected college basketball recruiting coaches, talent evaluators. In the '80's the University of Louisville won two National Championships and went to the Final Four four times and I grew up watching that greatness. My mother was, still an incredibly bright woman, so when we talk about business... So for me, I learned a lot of things but one of the things that we had was a foundation in our faith. So growing up in Louisville, the culture was of faith, going to church. But I had to make a decision that, when I was 14 or 15 years old, to kind of respond to the call of God.
Allan Houston: And I liken it to, you remember when... We were in that era and I don't know if you were in this era Mike where [crosstalk 00:08:30] you try out for a team and you don't find out until your name is posted on the wall in school.
Michael Redd: Yeah.
Allan Houston: And so you find out. So for me, signing up to try out is a step, right? So for me I liken to my faith where once you make that decision to tryout, right? Now I got to put myself out there. So when I made that step to respond to the call of God, to say, "Now I'm on the team." But then there's a stage where you have to say, "You know what, I'm on the team but am I actually contributing? Am I getting playing time? Am I being coached? Am I being held accountable?" And that discipleship period after I received Christ when I was 14 or 15, for the next 10 years was a tough one for me.
Allan Houston: I would say the other time, earlier in my life was when I was a junior. I was receiving these pounding headaches and I couldn't understand why. I started getting these stomach pains. Well, I was taking anti-inflammatories because I was growing fast and my knees were hurting. But I ended up getting a bleeding ulcer right in the highest point of conditioning. And the last day of conditioning, I got across the line, made my time and passed out. I woke up in the hospital, with a tube down my throat. And everybody was like, "Man you lost a pint of blood. And this was very dangerous." I ended up receiving the pint of blood from my uncle.
Allan Houston: And I just remember that as a time where, you put yourself out there so much that you don't really know what you're putting yourself through. You're so tunnel visioned, you're so locked in, that I didn't... And I think were so driven and you just focus on that, you don't realize what's going on. And so again, these weren't times where I felt like I made a decision to say go after something. It was just, you constantly just respond to the call. And you put yourself through things because you have a mission and you have a goal and you have a call.
Michael Redd: And having that vision, right? And that call and mandate commissioning from God, did your perspective of risk change? So even though there's a vision do you see it being a risk just be being obedient to that call? What's the emotions behind that still? Okay practically this vision is gigantic, its massive, but still I got to take that first step.
Allan Houston: Well, I think one of the biggest decisions that I had that kind of felt like there would be kind of more public consequences is when I decided to leave Detroit and come to play for the Knicks. When I was in college, I signed with the University of Louisville and my father got the head coaching job at the University of Tennessee my senior year, and he actually became the first black head coach in the Southeastern Conference. So I watched him go through that and watched how he just showed class and dignity. Going to the south and one of the first things that happened is that before we got to campus he received this note that he was going to be denied access to a club that all the other coaches had historically been gained and they received membership to right away. So when I saw that I was like, "Okay there's a certain way that you're going to know that you're going to have to do things and make decisions that are going to be considered risky."
Allan Houston: So when I left Detroit nobody thought I was going to leave. People were like, "Allen's not built for New York." "He's more a quiet assassin type." "I know he has toughness but is New York going to be the right place?" And people were killing me in Detroit. Everybody was like, "Man, what are you doing?" I had just gotten married and so, so many things were coming at me right at the same time. You make this decision at 25 years old to get married. Make a big decision to leave the place that you thought you were going to start and spend your career and then go to New York, the epicenter of basketball and sports, the height of... They had just lost to the Rockets in '94. And Reggie Miller was this Knick assassin and so I felt like you know what, that's really when I felt like its time to bet on yourself. Put yourself out there because for me, I was like... This was probably my chance to prove that I am who I know I've always been. Take the challenge on the highest stage at the height of what the Knicks' highest expectations were and take that challenge on.
Allan Houston: Obviously the money was helpful. You know this Mike, the money was good. But for me it was more about, people think that you are not ready for this and I knew I was. And it was a challenge at the beginning. Playing with Patrick Ewing, playing a new style, a new system. The first half of the season you have these expectations and people are like, "Man, he ain't worth the money, blah blah blah..." but I knew deep down that I was ready for it. But that doesn't mean that you still don't have doubts creep in, right? You still have these things that kind of knock at your door, right? Like peck at you like a crow, like a bird. And it just, that's where when we talk about our faith. My faith really was what got me through that and kept me in line with the vision that God had given me before I came to New York.
Michael Redd: That's so strong man. I think about you in merry ways. I'm reminded of the game winner you hit against Miami to send the Knicks to the finals, the Eastern Conference Finals. Talk about that mind set in that moment, having the ball in your hands and going for the game winner. And how that mind set is translatable to business, to life, family man, business woman, family woman. Talk about how that mind set can transition into every space of life and what you were thinking of in that moment.
Allan Houston: Man, so many layers to that and I'm so glad you brought that perspective to because some people, when I'm reminded of that shot, for people who may not remember it was were in the eight seed and it was a year when we had a suspended season, I mean not suspended but a shortened season. Very much like the one were seeing right now, right? Very intense, lot of games and short rest. So we played 55 games and we made a trade, Spre came, Latrell Sprewell. So we didn't feel like an eighth seed, we didn't feel like it, we always felt like we were better. Caught a good momentum coming into this season, coming to the playoffs. Won six out of eight games to make the playoffs now.
Allan Houston: So we get to this match up with Miami and to answer your question, when you're in those moments you don't think bout the magnitude of the moment. I wasn't thinking about, "Okay if I miss this shot, people might get fired. The franchise might be going in a different direction. Who knows." You don't think about any of that. All you're thinking about is the preparation. That's the only thing. I tell people when you're on the free throw line or when you're in these moments, confidence is actually built through preparation. You put yourself in a situation where you're ready and you don't have to think about the moment. It's the last thing you want to be thinking about. You know this, when you're shooting a shot you're not thinking about the mechanics of the shot. You're not even thinking about the result. You're thinking about going through the process again and again and again. It's like a golf swing. So that mind set is what translates, is preparation. Being okay with being comfortable in your preparation, right?
Allan Houston: And that's really what I've taken is that faith grows just like a muscle. You can't grow your faith without putting yourself out there. I remember a couple seasons after that shot, I'll never forget this. So one of the seasons, one of my better statistical seasons where I had 50 points in two games in that season. Now before my highest scoring game in LA we had a road trip and I had gone, we played the Clippers I think, and I had missed two critical free throws at the end of the games. A lot of things didn't bother me but missing shots and missing free throws at the end of games really ate at me. To the degree that after the game, Charlie Ward, my friend was like, "Man are you all right?" It just killed me. I kept thinking, "Man how you miss it? You can't do that, you can miss a block shot or something."
Allan Houston: So the next game, we're at the end of the game and the coach, of course we run the same play, now in that moment, and this is important for people to hear, in that moment I had a decision. Do you take the ball to the basket, try to get back to the free throw line and potentially put yourself in that position again? And do you shoot a jump shot to avoid that situation? I needed to be in that situation again so I could prove to myself that I am an 85, 90% free throw shooter late in games who could be counted on. It was more important for me to kind of respond and recover to that than to actually prove anything else. So I went back to the line the next game, made two free throws, won the game.
Allan Houston: That is really where faith comes from. It's putting yourself out there in those situations. No matter what happens, you live with it because it was the effort, it was betting on yourself. It was putting yourself in that situation. The Miami shot is about no matter what would've happened, made or miss, you put yourself in that situation, right? About preparation. And then you live with the results but you believe in yourself enough that more times than not, if I'm prepared and I keep putting myself in that situation, I'm going to have success.
Michael Redd: That's so good. And that takes you places that you never thought you would go because a year later you find yourself with your play, your courage. It leads you onto I think the greatest team that you've ever been on probably, with the Olympic team, in Sydney. Which was an inspiration to me as a young player watching you guys play. Did you ever think like, "God how'd I get here? This is the pinnacle of our game."?
Allan Houston: Well, I mean, it was just that. So right after that Miami series in that series, I was invited to an Olympic qualifying tournament in Puerto Rico because the Olympic team needed to qualify. And just being invited to that was like, "Wow!" So then the next summer is the Olympics and I get a chance to be on that team. And you got to think, the practices, right? Just the practices alone, spending time with those guys, Ray, you know Ray Allen and KG, Vince Carter, Garrett Pate, Zo. You keep going, Vin Baker, Shareef, Jason Kidd, Steve Smith. You're practicing every day with these guys and spending time with them and you just can't put a value on that. The confidence it gives you going into the following season. Things you pick up, the validation. All those things. And then the experience of just being in that world, right? We went to Sydney, won the gold medal, walking out and going into Olympic stadium, opening ceremonies, just the whole experience was just unforgettable.
Michael Redd: I often say to people, you and Ray Allen set the blueprint for me. Eight years later I had the privilege of playing on the '08 team. And you're exactly right, all those emotions and just a tremendous, tremendous honor to be on that team. Fun question here, what was your greatest game?
Allan Houston: That's a good question, my greatest game...
Michael Redd: I personally love the Laker game in LA against Kobe.
Allan Houston: Yeah.
Michael Redd: I'll never forget it but tell me your best game.
Allan Houston: I'm probably going to say game six against Indiana to clench the Eastern Conference Championship. I had 22 in the fourth quarter but the only reason I say that is because the magnitude of the game. I think that the Laker game may have been a good individual performance, I was in a flow. They played... Once you get in a rhythm, you know this, you have 50 almost 60 points you know! When you get in that rhythm there's really nothing that the other teams going to throw at you. Its just a matter of you getting to your spots and just staying in that mind set. But game six '99, this was the same season as that Miami shot, we went on to beat Atlanta the following series and then we played Indiana in the Eastern Conference Finals. And LJ had went down, Patrick was already out, now Larry Johnson, his back was kind of bothering him and we were just so banged up. And in our mind we didn't want to go back to Indiana for game seven, nobody wants to go play game seven on the road if you can avoid it.
Allan Houston: And so early in that game, I really actually wasn't playing well, wasn't in any kind of rhythm and it's just like one of those moments where things start to click. And I don't know, it's Madison Square Garden, playing to go to the NBA Finals. And the other thing that really was like a spiritual moment for me is, my wife was due any day with my first child. And we knew that if we won this game, this Friday night, I kind of knew in the back of mind that my daughter, we were going to go and induce and she was ready any minute so it was safe to induce. So I knew and I felt like this kind of gave me a peace and man, the fourth quarter came and I just got going. It was just the magnitude of the moment, it just all came to a head. All those things we talked about when I was younger, going to Detroit, Tennessee, coming to the Knicks, it all kind of just came to a head.
Allan Houston: And the next day my daughter was born and then 48 hours I'm off to game one of the NBA Finals. And I remember sitting in my bathroom before we were going to the game one in San Antonio for the Finals and literally just bawling, tears just flowing, I just couldn't control it. All this was happening and it was so emotional. And I would say for an individual game, that probably was, the way you qualify the best, I would say that just because of all the things that were surrounding it.
Michael Redd: So I personally know how hard it is to guard you. I was assigned to you every time we played the Knicks and I just dreaded it because there was nothing I could do. You could do everything on the court. Who were some of the hardest guys for you to guard? And then how would you fare in today's game? Because there's talk of obviously honoring reference to Clay and Steph and the modern shooters today but I always hark it back and say, "Hey, lets honor who was before them." Yourself and Reggie and Ray and all the great shooters that came before them. But who were the hardest guys for you to guard and then how would you fare in today's game?
Allan Houston: The reason you've been so blessed Mike is because of your humility. Were going to remember how cold blooded you were. You know what I mean, lefty and could do it all. Post, footwork, come off screens, ball screens, all that. You know what I mean quick release. And so to me that era that I think we came out of was, I truly believe, was one of the most impactful eras for the shooting, for our position. You think about, let me start with Michael, because that's probably the, you don't have to talk too much about that one, right? [crosstalk 00:27:45] I would just say that the thing that made Michael so hard to defend was the combination of his strength, his athleticism, his footwork, efficiency, his mind set and his just sheer determination. You can take one of those things that I just said and you would be a good two guard, right? You put them all and then you take the will and determination... And people forget, he played three years for Dean Smith.
Michael Redd: Yeah.
Allan Houston: And I think people forget how fundamentally sound Michael was. So then you take that and you go to meet T Mac, Tracy McGrady. And I think Tracy, to me when I say, besides Michael, because Tracy was what we see in Kevin Durant.
Michael Redd: Yep.
Allan Houston: Kevin may be a little bit more smooth to his game, but T Mac was 6'9. Once the ball got above his waist, there was nothing you could do. He got off the ground, elevated, post up, was a great passer, ball screens. People didn't shoot behind balls screens three feet behind the NBA back then like they do now. He was doing that sixth line doing that. I think we played them 2001 playoffs when he and Vince were basically on a mission against the world. And those two together were scary. Vince was tough, Ray was tough. Ray to me, flying off screens, I look at a guy like a hero and I see a lot of Ray in that. Flying off screens, could have the ball in his hands... When I think about today guard, today's position, and you notice I didn't have a ball in my hand a lot off the bounce. I wasn't going to play with the ball too much in my hand, right? It worked for me in that time.
Allan Houston: I think in today's era, a lot of these guards, you really don't have a real position that the guard... You see a lot of Jamal Murray, guys like that, who when they were playing younger you were like, "He's not really a point guard." But you're like, "Wait a minute, it doesn't matter if he's a point guard, he's making plays. He can score." You got to be a scoring threat. I think before our era you could get away with not really shooting the ball much and still organizing an offense. Now, you run an offense but you really don't come down and call a set as much. You run kind of actions with a lot of pace and speed, ball movement, a lot of different things going on. So guards now have to be able to make plays with the ball in their hand, penetrate drive, make reads, come off screens, make quick decisions. And you got to be able to shoot, got to be able to shoot.
Michael Redd: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Allan Houston: It's hard to really have an impact. And so when I think about today's game and I think you and I both will fit in this category is, we would've probably shot more threes.
Michael Redd: Yep.
Allan Houston: We probably would have had the ball in our hands a little bit more at the top of the floor and not just in the post or in isolation positions. We might have had the ball in our hands less in the post. But to be able to do all those things, that's where you make your money, you have to be able to score in different areas of the game. And my philosophy as a scorer is basically this, I have this kind of what I call, 42 rule. And to me 42 is like, if I can score from anywhere on the court in four seconds and two dribbles, that's my goal.
Michael Redd: Hmm, hmm, wow!
Allan Houston: And that's for any position now, by the way.
Michael Redd: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Allan Houston: And most guys, like big's, like Rudy Gobert and like a Mitchell Robinson, that may not apply as much. But where ever you get the ball, you still need to be a scoring threat.
Michael Redd: 100%. I mean and the game is different obviously with the rules, changes, its less physical, I think me and you would fit in quite well in this era. And I till honor the guys today. Great athlete, talented players. I just think your game was more north and south, you didn't fool around with the ball too much. It was either I'm going to shoot over you and I'm going to go past you to dunk it or lay it in.
Allan Houston: Yeah.
Michael Redd: And it was a love to it. No man, I remember the times you used to pick me up. We would fly to play the Knicks and you'd have a car ready for me to come pick me up to come to the house and spend time with you then. And I learned so much from you. And I think the one thing that is probably underrated over all of the celebrity of Allen Houston is your ability to lead. And so in these times, in this climate of Covid, of social unrest, of the political climate, all of what's going on right now in our world, I think there's a lot of pressure to lead right. And talk about what servant leadership means to you.
Allan Houston: Wow. Well, it's really what drives me the most. When I was playing, I remember that Scott Layden, who was our GM, pulled me in the office, and I think it had been my fourth year, and he said, "I want you to be team captain." Mike, do we even have captains anymore? I don't even know. And it hit me like I'm not the most talkative, vocal person. And he said, and I said, "I appreciate it. Is there anything you need me to focus on as a leader?" And he said, "Well, first of all, you lead by example. When you say things it holds weight because of the way you approach life and the game." And it meant a lot to me for him to say that because I'm thinking he's going to say, "Man, you need to talk some more." He said, "You can be more vocal, I want you to do that but we're doing this just because of who you are." And I think that really resonated.
Allan Houston: So for me, so much leadership starts with knowing who you are, like we said at the beginning. And serving, right? Being an example first. Because you can say something and make a comment, try to help someone, but the first thing they're going to do is, they're going to be like, "Okay, is this really validating what this person's saying?" Because first they're going to go through this filter of, "What are you doing? What is your credibility first?" And so for me, I look at...
Allan Houston: So with the organization, the thing that we started called FISLL, right? We start off with this thing like the basic tool that I think is important first to have is, and it's a metaphor but its real, is a lens and a mirror. You have to be able to look in the mirror first and say, "Am I modeling my expectations, right?" And the lens is, "What view am I actually seeing this situation, which view am I seeing my world? Which view am I seeing from a selfish view? Or am I seeing from Gods view? Which lens am I looking at things through?" And those are the two things that I always think about from a lens of leadership is, "Whose view am I really seeing this from?" And then am I looking in the mirror? So if those are my kind of basic check points and then I just kind of work from there.
Allan Houston: And then the other thing I'll say is I have this kind of philosophy that everything matters. You know your kids say this to you and you say something and they'll be like, "Don't matter. Don't matter." and I'm like, when did that start to be a thing when a kid can say, "Don't matter." Everything matters. And I tell my kids, "Don't ever say that. Everything matters. Everything you say matters. Everything you do matters because it has impact on something. It has impact on the next situation." So for me what I mean by that is, I have, my wife and I are celebrating 25 years this year, I have seven amazing children. And what it comes down to me Mike is being attention. You can't, to me in this day and age, you can't help but to sit on the... you can't just sit on the sidelines anymore and just watch what's going on. You have to make a stand and either, you got to be on one side or the other. Am I going to be on the side that's helping the situation or am I going to sit? Because if you're not doing that then your basically on the other side. You can't sit on the fence, man.
Allan Houston: So you have to figure out, "What can I do?" It first starts with the home. We know it starts... "What am I doing at home? What am I doing with the people who are most important to me?" Then you work out, "All right what am I doing at work? What am I doing at school?" First start within but you have to do something. You got to think about leadership, you got to think about impact in today's world more than ever. And that's kind of how I approach it.
Michael Redd: After your illustrious career ends, you transition beautifully into being an executive with the Knicks. Being now the GM of the G League team. And obviously even becoming more of a full time dad and full time husband. Interesting for me is, what's next for you?
Allan Houston: Well, two years ago, I kind of transitioned. I was running our G League team for six seasons, and so grateful that our owner Jim Dolan, Steve Mills, Donny Walsh, even Glen Grunwald, now Scott Perry have basically said, "Look we value not what you've done but what you have to offer now." Learned a lot. It really comes down to how you work with people. At the end of the day, that's really... I tell a lot of young people and students, same thing we talk about leadership, "How are you with people? Are you authentic? Are you real?" You can learn the skills but you got to work with people. So two years ago Steve Mills said, "I know you did the G League thing now I want you to come and really help more with what we're doing here." And just recently Leon Rose, and Wess Scott, we started this leadership development platform. So we basically have these same conversations now with our players about impact. About okay... The same question you asked me about the shot, "How do those look in life? How does the things you're doing on the court, how are they looking in how you approach life?"
Allan Houston: So for me what's next is taking this conversation, taking these tools and really offering them to the world. That's why I took my foundation and I made it into a brand. Everybody's a brand, everybody's looking at brand. When we take the basic five fundamentals of life, we take faith, take integrity, take sacrifice, take leadership, and we take legacy and we calls those our five basic fundamentals of life. How do those look, how can they compel you? We basically teach and raise up young leaders, fathers, coaches, people who really want to have impact. And we've launched a team. We've launched a team of impacters. People who really want to adopt this mind set, this philosophy. We created a mobile app, so people can come on and receive the type of support, of community, of training and really fostering a healthy relationship between the young person and the adult. Remember when you were at Ohio State, remember how your life has evolved. And so for me it's about taking those tools and branding them to the point where people are like, "I just don't want to do them just because its cool, I want to do it because I want to make a brand."
Allan Houston: So we actually have a merchandising partnership with the NBA. A social justice collection. Because for me branding is, you take what's most important to you, like we talk about leadership and all these things, right? And you package it and you make an impact. And that's really what it is. And so for me the next thing for me is taking this brand and making it so that anybody who wants to have access to it can have access to it and make their own impact.
Michael Redd: That's so powerful, man. Among other things that you're doing with content and things of that nature, it's just, yeah. You're extraordinary, man. I want to ask this last question, if you had to share anything with your 16 year old self, any advice, what would you share with your 16 year old self?
Allan Houston: Just keep your strong relationship with God. Be a little bit more intentional about that. But one thing I would say is, manage and keep really strong relationships. I look back and the reason I'm really so grateful for this conversation is the way the world is, were being disconnected through technology. And I already don't have a good memory. So for me it's like there's so many relationships and conversations and experiences I think I let slip away. I would just say, keep relationships, keep the strong ones. Obviously there's going to be ones that may not be the best, but hold on to them, learn from them, and just tend to them. And the other I would say is keep a strong relationship with God.
Michael Redd: I don't have to add anything to that. That's exactly right, me and you both are men of faith and that's the one thing that has bonded us. And you said something about relationships that I think is so powerful. Relationships are the currency of life. There's a statement that, "It's lonely at the top." Well if its lonely at the top you may not be at the top.
Allan Houston: Hmm, that's good. I like that.
Michael Redd: So your emphasis on relationships is so good. And I been knowing you for 20 years brother, 21 years. And you've been a blessing to my life, man. An inspiration to me. You were at my wedding. [crosstalk 00:44:05] man.
Allan Houston: Man, you were getting at it. But look Mike there's one thing that I want to say just because you said something that was powerful. People think about Kobe, right? You got a chance to play, battle Kobe. And I think about him a lot and the reason I want to bring this up is because you said, "When it's lonely at the top, you may not really be there." Think about Kobe and when we were playing against him, you didn't see the impact he had on other people the way he did when he was gone.
Michael Redd: Yeah.
Allan Houston: You think about this, right? You felt when you were playing against him or watching him that it seemed like he was lonely because he was always so driven. He seemed like he had to distance himself from people because he was so driven. But now that he's gone, people are kind of like, "Man, I remember Kobe came to my game. He called me." And I'm like, "Wait a minute. He wasn't lonely. He wasn't doing the things that it seemed like. He was pouring into people." We just didn't see it, at least I didn't. You know what I mean? And I think that's important for people who want to be really driven. It's okay to be driven, it's okay to want to separate yourself from negativity and bad situations. But that doesn't mean that you still can't give.
Michael Redd: 1000%. He is Allen Houston, AKA Asage himself. He's special to me. Man, thank you for being on the podcast man. My brother.
Allan Houston: Yeah, my man.
Michael Redd: Man, I love talking with Allen. He reminds me that true success is about focusing on the little details and being consistent every single day. It's how you build a foundation of success, no matter what you're doing. I'm so grateful people like him are out in the world doing such amazing work. You're an inspiration brother. Thanks for coming on the show today. You can follow Allen on Twitter and Instagram @Allen_Houston. Thanks for listening. Until next time, I'm Michael Redd and remember, you are the secret to your success.
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