Legendary, 14-season veteran of the NBA, Corey Maggette, joined me to talk about the “no days off mindset,” leaving Duke early to chase his NBA dream, and stepping up his game to play with the most elite athletes on the planet.
“No one in the history of the Duke organization had ever left, especially as a freshman. And I felt at that time it was a great opportunity to pursue this dream that started when I was 12 years old at The Boys & Girls Club [of America], to bet on myself and see if I could make it in the NBA.” – Corey Maggette
Corey is a family man, former NBA standout, star player in Ice Cube’s BIG3 basketball league, and commentator for Fox Sports and the Los Angeles Clippers.
He was drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics in the first round of the 1999 NBA draft, and traded shortly thereafter to the Orlando Magic, where he played his rookie year. He went on to acclaim as an LA Clipper for the following nine seasons and took them to the playoffs in 2005-2006.
Corey is Michael’s former teammate and rival in the NBA, and friend of over 25 years (all the way back to high school!).
And if you’re a fan of the show don’t forget to Subscribe to see new episodes, and Rate or Review us wherever you tune in!
In this episode Michael and Corey talked about:
- What Betting on Yourself means to him
- Living by faith in Christ
- Moving forward without knowing the outcome
- Developing a strong work ethic
- Going all-in on basketball and academics
- What it was like to play for Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski
- Lessons on adversity and his rise to professional success
- And more!
Corey Maggette: The next thing was, let's say pivotal moment in betting on myself was leaving Duke after one year and deciding to enter into the draft. And that was a tough thing because no one in the history of the Duke organization has ever left at that time, especially someone as a freshman. I felt at that time it was a great opportunity to pursue this dream that I actually started when I was 12 years old from the Boys & Girls Club to bet on myself and see if I can make it into the big league.
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, took success into their own hands, and bet on themselves. My guest today is Corey Maggette. Family man, legendary 14 season veteran of the NBA, star player in Ice Cube's BIG3 basketball league, and commentator for the Los Angeles Clippers. Corey is my former teammate and rival in the NBA, and a great friend of mine for over 25 years all the way back to high school.
Michael Redd: It is a true pleasure to have him on the show today and introduce him to all of you. In this episode we discuss what betting on yourself means to him living by faith in Christ, moving forward without knowing the outcome, developing a strong work ethic, the no days off mindset, going all in on basketball and academics, what it was like to play for Coach K, leaving Duke early to go after his NBA dream, and stepping up his game to play with the most elite athletes on the planet. Corey is a true friend and an inspiration to me. An inspiration who I believe has only just begun to make his mark on the world. Here's my conversation with Corey Maggette.
Michael Redd: Corey Maggette, my brother, AKA freaking nature, AKA man-child. Ladies and gentlemen, I've been knowing this man for going on 25 years plus all the way since we were in high school at the Nike All-American camp back in the day. Thank you for being on the podcast with me today my brother.
Corey Maggette: Anytime, Mike. You make us sound like we're really old. 25 plus years.
Michael Redd: I've been knowing you since you were 15 and 16 years old. I won't disclose how old we are. So a former teammate, former rival in the NBA and just an all around incredible man who's become an incredible father and husband, and a man of God, a man that loves his family and I'm just honored to have you on the podcast. We go way back as you know. I want to start the show off and we'll get into some integral details about your life and journey. I will always start this off with saying what has betting on yourself meant to you personally?
Corey Maggette: That's a good question. When you think about the notion of betting on yourself, you are relying completely... Basically you're living by faith. You don't know what the outcome may be, but by faith you are pushing through, you have great perseverance. Regardless of the hills and valleys, you continue to bet on yourself. I love how you start this off on betting on yourself. I think a lot of times we forget to bet on ourselves. To take a chance on the things that we believe in, the things that we want to pursue, and it's kind of how I look at it, Mike.
Michael Redd: Is there a pivotal moment for you from teenage years being a Duke to the league? There's a number of times I'm sure you've made major bets of yourself. Was there a pivotal moment, even as a young child, you made a bet on yourself?
Corey Maggette: Well, I would say I bet on myself, and this just goes back to when I was around 10 to 12 years of age when I decided to play basketball. Before that, I was playing baseball. I was a pretty good baseball player. I was a pitcher and I was a power hitter. All of a sudden I just said, "I want to stop and I want to try this game of basketball." Being probably one of the tallest kids on our team at that time and trying to change sport at that time, I didn't even know how to play basketball and decided that I wanted to try it. I never forget. It was a friend of mine, his grandfather named Pops said, "Hey, why don't you come to the Boys & Girls Club and we'll see what you can do. We know you can run, we know you can jump, so this would be good. You just listen to my instructions."
Corey Maggette: I went out there and I was the worst player on the planet in my eyes. At that time it was more of a challenge. It was a challenge like, "Wow, I like this game, I like coming upfield and uptempo," and I wanted to get better on it. And so that day was the last day that I ended up playing baseball and I decided that I wanted to try basketball. The next thing was, let's say pivotal moment and betting on myself was leaving Duke after one year and deciding to enter the draft. That was a tough thing because no one in the history of the Duke organization has ever left at that time, especially someone as a freshman.
Corey Maggette: I felt at that time there was a great opportunity to pursue this dream that I actually started when I was 12 years old from the Boys & Girls Club to better myself and see if I can make it into the big leagues.
Michael Redd: Was that a mindset that was cultivated in your household when you were younger as far as taking a risk on yourself, being a go getter? Was that a mindset in the household with mom and dad?
Corey Maggette: No, I wouldn't say that, Mike. I would say my household was more about your work ethic. My dad worked 13 hour shifts. So when I think about growing up, he was always gone or when he got back home he would sleep because he was tired. His motto was you have to work. If you work at it, you can get better. That was the mindset in our family to just work as hard as you can. Don't make any excuses, don't take any days off. My dad, I don't think he ever took a day off from work and he never missed even if on a sick day. And so that was his attitude, that never give up mindset. And that's how I approach even my life today and having being in the NBA and making those decisions later on in my life.
Michael Redd: So like I said before, I've known you since we were teenagers and I remember seeing you at the Nike All-American camp in Indianapolis. You walked into the gym and it was like, "Wow. He has to be going to be in senior year." And they were like, "No, he's going to be a junior." And I'm like, "Oh my God. I'm in trouble." So I'll say this, I took a bet on myself guarding you throughout our careers because you were literally one of the most challenging guards to play against in the NBA because you were so physical, so strong, so quick. You could do everything.
Michael Redd: And so it's been a remarkable journey for you and your NBA career, and it began at Duke. So talk about that decision to go to Duke, come out of high school.
Corey Maggette: Well, I went to a pretty prestigious high school, Fenwick High School back in Oak Park, Illinois. This was a school that really produced [inaudible 00:08:06] league students, and they invested in their students, invested in academics, and I had the pleasure of going there. When I think about the decision of going to Fenwick, that actually allowed me to pursue my career. And not just far as basketball, but academically to be a better student. You're coming from public school and now you're in a position where you have kids. I have kids in our school that were already taking AP courses for college. And so for me, it was a challenge again trying to be a better student.
Corey Maggette: The other challenge of learning this different culture coming from basically the inner city and going to this prestigious school. And when I think about the staff there at Fenwick High School, they really allowed me to grow. They challenged me, which was great. When I think about the basketball coach at that time, his name was John Quinn, he took a chance on me. "Hey. We're going to start you as a freshman." I didn't expect it to start as a freshman. It was like, "All right. Okay. Well, if you're going to start me, I'm going to go out there and work hard." Just so happened that everything started to go in the right direction.
Corey Maggette: And then when you look at far as the stance of thinking about Duke University, I would just remember the Christian Laettners, the Grant Hill at that time, the Johnny Dawkins, and I just thought about, "Wow, this would be a great experience to be involved in one of those high prestigious universities." At that time I remember having a conversation at my school with John Thompson and selling me on Georgetown. And I just loved him as an individual how he was almost like a father figure when I was talking to John Thompson. And then the other side of it with Coach K. Having Coach K come to my home and talking to my parents.
Corey Maggette: He's from the South side of Chicago, so right there you knew it was some type of connection being a fellow Chicagoan. To me, those were the decisions when I look back on making that choice to go to Duke. It was more about who really saw me at that moment? I had to say that Coach K and their organization and the school was just so great to be a part of.
Michael Redd: So that's the one thing that me and you have in common, we both were coached by Coach K, had the privilege of being coached by Coach K and during the olympic run, and you obviously played for him. You we're all ACC as a freshman, dominant obviously in high school and you have a great year at Duke, and then you leave early. You make the huge bet in a time where it wasn't popular to leave school early as much as it is now, especially from Duke. Guys who went to Duke usually graduated all four years, or left after the junior year at some time. And so you made the huge bet on yourself to leave school early and go pursue your dream in the NBA. Talk about that timeframe and the conversations with Coach K on making that decision.
Corey Maggette: Well, you said it, Mike. It was a very trying time, I would say, back then when no one ever will leave the Duke franchise or organization, you can name it whatever you want. Honestly, Mike, when I look at those decisions, my first instance was to never leave Duke. That was never on my mind that I wanted leave and go to the NBA early. Honestly, when I look back it was more about I wanted to stay there all four years and get a degree and help me get a good job, because I honestly never thought that I was going to make it in the NBA. To be honest, that was never my thought process. It was more about the work ethic and trying to get better every day.
Corey Maggette: And honestly, it got really thrown at me. I remember after the national championship game, they started to send out these publications on who could be in a draft and they started talking about Elton Brand, they start talking about William Avery, and then all of a sudden they start talking about me like, "Hey, Corey Maggette has a chance to be a lottery pick in the NBA." I honestly didn't even think personally about trying to leave and I never forget I'm on campus and they're telling me, "Hey, we keep hearing that and you're trying to enter the draft." I said, "I have no idea what you're talking about."
Corey Maggette: And they wanted me to have a press conference about it. I'm like, "A press conference about what?" After that, I remember this whole ordeal of trying to advocate and see Coach K and have a conversation with him. Honestly, I respect him even more for that time when I look at that time on how he handled it. He didn't want me to go, he told me that, but he sat me down and we had a conversation. He pulled out all of these publications and notes about your abilities and far as where you will be drafted, from a financial standpoint where would you be. If it's one through five, just five through 10, it was 10 through 13, those different things.
Corey Maggette: At that time I was thinking like, "He's just trying to sell me on to stay at school" which again it was never my intention to leave. But as an adult now, you understand that he was really trying to help me. He was really trying to invest in me and just take the whole basketball part out of it and let's think logically. And it was a really good experience to have him sit down and go through all those notes and giving me the option. And ultimately, it was still my decision to make. And I remember talking to him again and leaving his house, and then having a conversation with my parents. They said, "Hey, we want you to stay in school but ultimately this is your decision."
Corey Maggette: That's where you have to put your big boy pants on and make a grownup decision. The maturity in making that decision on my own and not really relying on my parents or even the coach at the time to make the decision.
Michael Redd: And that bet paid dividends because you had an incredible 14 year career after making that major, major decision. Now, we always say this, there's a transition from high school to college and there's obviously a transition from college to the NBA. Talk about the work ethic and how you had to ramp things up because of the competition level, which is the ultimate level of the NBA. We always say there's levels to this. And so to [inaudible 00:15:33] now in the NBA, how much more did you have to work on your game, take your nutrition to another level, your fitness to another level, what was the thought behind that in your approach?
Corey Maggette: Well first, I had to say I felt going into my rookie year in the NBA worked through Orlando [inaudible 00:15:50], he was the coach at that time. I felt like I was more than prepared in condition and physically. I remember the times back the training for Duke and how we used to just have these crazy insane practice and Coach K wanted to make sure that we were the best conditioned team. And so from a conditioning standpoint, I was far beyond any other player. Back then, you remember the older vets, they would come in and work themselves into conditioning. And I remember a couple of guys having oxygen masks because we were doing five seventeens. And Doc had us throwing five seventeens in a certain time and I'm like, "Man, this is easy. This is what we used to do back with Coach K." I'd breezed through it.
Corey Maggette: So I'm like, "Oh, is this what the NBA's about?" But then all of a sudden from a physicality standpoint, I remember Ben Wallace on our team at that time. I'm like, "Wow, this dude is huge." I took that step of talking to those older veterans about the training part of it. I feel like I was still physically gifted myself at an early age because I wanted to work out with the football team and lift with them because I saw the benefits of it. And then you get to the NBA and you start to learn more about functional training. And Ben Wallace and Bo Outlaw and the trainer at the time, his name was Mick, and Orlando, they really invested in me. It was a miraculous change how I got better even to the fact of... Around that time, I decided, "Man, I'm going to stop eating fried foods and not drinking sodas because I wanted to put all the right energy in my body."
Corey Maggette: Your body is like an engine. You got to put the right gasoline. I wanted to have the right fuel. And so those guys really taught me. If you saw Bo Outlaw and Ben Wallace, these dudes are ripped up like [inaudible 00:18:00]. Even to this day, Bo Outlaw and Ben Wallace, these guys are in the gym every day. They're taking care of their bodies. That was a lifelong and lifestyle change for me that really helped me, I would say, during those years to improve. One thing coming into the NBA at the time, I wasn't the best shooter and I had to really work at it. So the countless hours of trying to be a better shooter, the countless hours of trying to be a better free throw shooter, and the time of just using my God given abilities, my speed, my strength and agility to be successful in the league.
Michael Redd: I talked to a number of entrepreneurs and founders as well, how important is it to have mentors? Because if you have great veterans for us in the NBA, it almost shapes your career. And I often encourage founders, entrepreneurs, leaders to have mentors that can help them along the way in their journey.
Corey Maggette: No, you're absolutely right. A lot of times you have to earn the respect. And you know this, Mike. You got to earn the respect of those veterans at that time. And I'm thinking about from a basketball standpoint. And once they see that you're really pursuing hard work ethic, they gravitate to you. They push you to do things that they might need, but overall from a mentorship standpoint, it really helps you during your career by having someone that you can count on that can actually talk you through those different scenarios. And even now, I have mentors and people that I talk to even from a faith based standpoint trying to strengthen my faith. You need those people that are seasoned. That has the little more knowledge than you do to help you pursue what you're trying to accomplish.
Corey Maggette: I look at back then in my basketball career, I had a lot of people that helped me along the way from Michael Finley, from Juwan Howard, fellow Chicago guys that I had a chance to talk to about making sure to save your money and then about having good teammates like [inaudible 00:20:23]. When I was on a time of starting to retire, how are you supposed to handle it? I really had a number of people that I can actually count on that can give me great advice, and even to this day that I still talk to.
Michael Redd: That's phenomenal, man. That's phenomenal. Talk about not only the external strength that you exhibited throughout your career, physical strength that you exhibited, but talk about the mental strength to deal with adversity. Trades, slumps throughout the season in your game, injuries, that bounce back mentality. Talk about that aspect of your game.
Corey Maggette: When I think about my dad and having that never give up attitude and just work ethic, I think about the time in my career I had a lot of injuries. And it was tough when you think about you have to sit out and you have to wait. And then for me, being a player that I felt like, "Man, I'm doing everything I can in the gym of taking care of my body. Why would I have a knee issue or have a hamstring pull?" It does take a mental toll on you as an individual. Honestly I had my brother around which is great. My older brother, I can always talk to him. I can always call my mom and tell her about the things that were bothering me still as an adult.
Corey Maggette: You forget about your parents love you unconditionally and any advice or things that you have issues, you can always call up on them. And so I just remember those times having those conversations with them and then with my wife, having a conversation with her about the different seasons and the mental strength. I would say my last few years in the league was probably the most mentally challenged. I would say far as perseverance, you know Scott [inaudible 00:22:41] is the coach and then Lauren Shenk, I felt like those two coaches didn't really allow me to be the player that I wanted. Honestly, I thank them for challenging me because it really taught me how to have perseverance.
Corey Maggette: It taught me how to really rely on something other than myself. What I mean by something that I started to really rely on my faith. I think honestly then, Mike, I still didn't really know about my faith. I was searching for God to help me during those times. And he did, but I still really didn't know him at that time. But when I think about those two coaches and those obstacles over time, it was really preparing me to give advice to my kids, to give advice to my son or my daughter if they ever go through an issue, but also to help me first from a business standpoint outside of basketball when my career was over, how to handle trials and tribulations and where you should really put your confidence and your trust and all of your worries.
Corey Maggette: And so I think about those issues that really built perseverance and then allowed me to be a better man today because of those issues. You can't have growth without obstacles. And I think when you have those obstacles it really challenges you as an individual on how do you want to be, and what's really driving you? And so I'm so thankful for those obstacles to allow me to the position I am in right now.
Michael Redd: Did it ever bother you that you never became an all-star although you had an all-star career?
Corey Maggette: Yeah, it really a few times, man. I felt a couple of times that I should have been an all-star, but our team just absolutely sucked at the time. And one year, the year I actually got hurt early and it really dropped my stock as the all-star standpoint. I remember I was with Adidas at that time and they sent me my all-star shoes. Man, I was just looking forward and I didn't make it. It hurt me as an individual because you work so hard and you feel like you're right on the cups of all stardom, I would say, and it just didn't happen. When I think about that, that's probably one of the things as a player being an all-star and being a champion. Because I think as players you want to be a winner, you want to be winners, you want to eventually be an all-star and you want to be a champion.
Corey Maggette: It just so happened all three of those didn't work out. And so it really bothered me because every year I did my best. I put my entire body on the line every single day to try to help my team. And I felt like for me, how I can help my team is to do what they told me to do. "We need you to get to the line eight or nine times." I gave up my body every single game to help my team. And it just so happens it didn't work out for us winning the championship or getting past the second round in the playoffs or being an all-star. And you think about that as an individual, but then you look at how you could have gotten better and what you could've done differently.
Corey Maggette: But when I look at it, it still is what it is. It was still such a blessing to play this game and to be involved in National Basketball Association.
Michael Redd: We talked about how to handle adversity and challenges. Talk about handling success. Could that be just as challenging or even harder than managing adversity?
Corey Maggette: Yes, because I think a lot of times if you have a lot of success, sometimes success can come fast for you. A lot of players, if it's in sports or in business, that you get a large sum of money and you made it. You have all this money and all of a sudden you don't know how to manage it. Or, you get all of this success and you're caught doing the wrong things or thinking that you're invincible. That's a hard thing. And honestly, to your previous question about having those mentors, even in your success or even in your trying time, mentors are so important. And so as much as you can have issues of failure or a situation, you can have the exact same thing.
Corey Maggette: I just really believe that you need to surround yourself around the right people that would allow you to be better, but also that will hold you accountable. I think a lot of times people that have great success, they have a lot of yes men. When you have success, you really need to have people that will hold you accountable and tell you the truth in order to make you a better individual. And the people who really allow those people around them, I think are usually the ones that might have failure but are able to get back up as fast as possible.
Michael Redd: So you have an incredible transition after an incredible career in the NBA, and you transition right back into basketball as the MVP champion, the face of the BIG3. Talk about that experience in playing in your later years and how the BIG3 allowed guys who still had game that could still play and still athletic to be able to play the game that they love.
Corey Maggette: First of all when I think about post-career, right when I retired from the NBA I went to go work for the NBA. And I worked in their basketball operations division. It really allowed me to see the ins and outs of the game and to take myself out of just being a professional athlete and understanding what it truly takes and all the people that make this work from concessions, from the parking, from the event planning. Even from the people that are turning on the lights. And it really gave me a better perspective on this game and how much it's a surreal lifestyle to the basketball players. And so that was a great step for me once post-career to get involved in the NBA and see that side of it.
Corey Maggette: But then in that process, Ice Cube, he's the owner of the BIG3, asked me about... Just randomly, I got a call from him like, "Hey, you're interested in playing in this 3-on-3 basketball." I'm like, "3-on-3 basketball?" I'm thinking about it and I'm trying to get some guys together. I think it'd be great. At that time I was still working for the NBA and honestly, they were like, "Hey you can't really do the basketball thing if you're focusing on this new career path." And I remember having a conversation with Adam Silver. And Adam was like, "Don't worry about it. You can do it. You can do it." It was just towards the tail end of that summer, and I decided to do it.
Corey Maggette: And I remember a few of my colleagues at the talent, "No, don't do it, man. Just focus on this. Just do this." I'd say, "No, I can do both." And man, the first year I go out there, man, I'm playing well the first half. I'm like, "Oh, this is great." There's thousands of people there. It was like that feeling that you know when playing in the NBA arena and it's just that competitiveness. And then I remember that and going into the second half, I make a move, I blow out my achilles. Completely ruptured my achilles. And here I go, "Oh man. I retired from injuries and here I go when I'm retired and tear my achilles." It was a trying time. Another injury and another uphill mental battle that I had to deal with as well as rehab. I was like, "Oh man, I shouldn't have done that." I just remember that conversation.
Corey Maggette: And I remember having those talks with my wife at the time and really just trying to continue to be positive and to have that perseverance. Around that time I really started to rely on Christ more, started to change me. I remember after that I was like, "All right. Well, I'm not going to play. I'm going to focus on this." But it was amazing. I got another message from the man upstairs saying, "You need to go back and play." I'm like, "I don't even know if I'm ready." My achilles is still not ready, I'm getting back these old injuries like my right knee was bothering me, my foot was bothering me. I tell you, I persevered through that, but I was trying to be obedient to his call.
Corey Maggette: And I come back the next season and we win. We actually won the whole entire thing. We won the championship. I won MVP. I won MVP of the season, I won MVP of the playoffs and then we won the championship. And so when I look back at how impactful the BIG3 allowed me to get back what I lost from the NBA, it was something that I never even thought of. That I would be MVP, that we would win the championship and I would be a finals MVP. And at that time the edit were, "You are the captain of the year." So the captains was basically like the managers and the person that assembled that team. And so I won at that time. It was like four or five awards in the one season from actually just being obedient to push through when I honestly didn't feel like I could.
Corey Maggette: This was basically a couple of days before the season actually started that it was like, "All right, you need to go play." And it was the best decision that I said I've ever done.
Michael Redd: It's often said that the posture of being rigid is the natural enemy of adaption because it's the opposite of flexibility. You've been able to be portable and adaptable with your life, and it has led you now to being a commentator for the Clippers full circle. Talk about that pivot from playing to now being full circle one, of the lead guys commentators for the Clippers.
Corey Maggette: Well, I have to give a lot of credit to Ralph Lawler and this producer at the time, her name was Sarah Takata, that really... They were trying to push me. This was even back when I was with the Clippers that, "Hey, we want you to do this show, the [inaudible 00:34:40] show so we can start you off. You might want to think about this when you retire." That was back in 2003. I never thought about doing TV or even talking about basketball at the time. Its like sometimes people see stuff in you that you don't even see in yourself. When you talk about mentors, Ralph Lawler was a great mentor for me. Even a guy like Mike Smith that were play by play and [inaudible 00:35:08] for the Clippers, they just really pushed me.
Corey Maggette: It's been an amazing experience to make that jump from playing career to playing a little more basketball and 3-on-3, and then going right into TV and really staying close to the game. For a lot of players, they don't have this type of career path. They don't have the post career where they can go right into a job. I'm very thankful for it. I know it's tough for a lot of guys that they have so much more to give and so much basketball knowledge and high basketball IQ that can be utilized in the league. I'm just so thankful that Fox gave me a chance to talk about the game. I went from doing... Mike Hill at the time, he still works for Fox, one of his shows called the Best Sports Show won a national shows, and then I went from there, I started to do college basketball in the Big West and started to get more reps and try to get more polish.
Corey Maggette: And then from there, I started to do the Clippers pre and post, pre halftime and post, and I started to do games, and it's been a great ride. It's been a great journey. They've really allowed me to get better. When I think about it, having something to do once you're done with the game and actually still being close to it, it's been great because you're looking not only from your old basketball mindset, you're looking from a coach's view. So all the things that coaches probably told us that we thought that they were crazy, now you're actually seeing those on a film yourself and you're able to assess them and talk about them. And so it's been an amazing ride and the people that really have pushed me and allowed me to take these steps to continue in this new career and in TV.
Michael Redd: And you're terrific at it too. And I'm not just saying that. I watch how you handle yourself and how articulate you are and knowledgeable of the game. Although sometimes for me, as I watch the game, my eyes are archaic because the game is different than how we played. [crosstalk 00:37:40] Totally different game. So I've had to adapt my eyes to how the game is played today, which I think you would have thrived in today's game easily because you would have shot more threes probably too.
Corey Maggette: No, you would have shot more threes. You would have thrived in this league.
Michael Redd: We have fun. I didn't shoot that many threes in our play. Maybe four or five a game compared to.... [crosstalk 00:38:04]
Corey Maggette: I know. Instead of four or five, you would have had the green light to shoot 12 a game. And the players couldn't touch you, so one drive, you're getting fouled and you're shooting 88% from the free throw line.
Michael Redd: I couldn't touch you. If I barely touched you, and me and you knew that we had theatrics to our games, so if you touch me I knew how to [crosstalk 00:38:27] through the foul and you'd be at the free throw line probably 20 times a game the way you played.
Corey Maggette: You know what, most people don't understand. All this James Hart has done [crosstalk 00:38:37], he learned that from me. The [inaudible 00:38:41] to flop and to seal the foul, I remember having those conversations with James Hart. We had the same [inaudible 00:38:50].
Michael Redd: When you and I played each other, [inaudible 00:38:52] that was our weapon. My goal was to get you in foul trouble so I don't have to play against you. That was my goal.
Corey Maggette: Exactly. You take the start around, you put the the second string, you got to come in and guard.
Michael Redd: Exactly. Who was your toughest guard that you had to guard? Top three toughest guys to guard.
Corey Maggette: Top three toughest guys to guard. Number one was [inaudible 00:39:19] Djokovic. He was just a monster running off the screens. And most people, they know him, but they really don't know this guy was 6'8", 6'9", and he just never stopped moving. It's just amazing how he shot the basketball because of the way he ran off of those screens. Next probably would have to be Kobe because I remember every game that we played against them, there's one game I got the best out of him and I challenged him and I was talking trash to him. But then the next time we played, he knew every single move that I was doing. And he was like, "Oh yeah, I know you've been watching my tapes." He would say this while I'm actually dribbling and doing the move.
Corey Maggette: I'm like, "How's this guy doing this?" I'd make a spin move, "Oh yeah. I'm sitting on that. I know that. I did that back two years ago." He was just so tough from the standpoint of... Far as his basketball IQ was just amazing. He really pushed you. If you're going to score, you're really going to have to give him everything you've got. Three, I would say later on in my career someone that was tougher, it was probably... T-Mac was another one. Lebron was tough too because he was just physically gifted, and Carmelo, those guys at the time. And also, I was playing the four back in my later used at the career, so I was guarding fours like LaMarcus Aldridge and these guys.
Corey Maggette: I remember guarding Shaq situationally. Those were some really tough... I could name about 20 guys that were just really tough guys to guard. One guy that most people don't know that was a tough cover because he had this really unorthodox shot was Kevin Martin that played in Sacramento. This guy would just get buckets. If you left any daylight, he had this little crazy shot. He wasn't the strongest player, but he just used wits and his basketball IQ to just outsmart you. And before you know it, you got two fouls and you sitting on a bench and he has 14 points in the first quarter.
Corey Maggette: You go from a variety of players. And don't forget about yourself running off the screens and I have to chase you around all the time, and you would stop and then you'd run, and then you'd come off. I remember those too, bro. I remember those.
Michael Redd: We had some great, great games against each other. When I think about you and how me and you connect now life after basketball, I think of faith, family and fun. I know you love your family dearly. Talk about the ability to see your family and your kids grow up now, and that balance between work and family life.
Corey Maggette: It's been really good for me. As a professional athlete, you don't get to spend the time that you want with your family. I remember the Mrs. would always tell me that you're here, but you're not here. You're here but you're not here. And I honestly didn't really get what she was actually saying when I was playing, but I can get what she's saying now because you're so consumed when trying to be a better player that you tune a lot of things out. And now as I'm home a lot because I have the flexibility and the schedule to do so, you really want to invest in your kids more. You want to see them grow. You want to have conversations.
Corey Maggette: Even to this day, I'm having conversations every day with my son about his life, and his faith, and handling adversity and really just trying to... Our families is a God-centered family, a Christ-centered family, and that has been the key for us. It's been a key for me in my new journey as a Christian believer to use that to my advantage. To know that we were saved by grace. None of us should be saved, everyone should be judged, but because Jesus Christ died for us, that we have this free gift of grace. And so we really try to align our kids around that and understand the values of it, and it's been really impactful because it changed you.
Corey Maggette: The change is when you start to see the difference. You move to a different beat. You don't surround yourself around things that might be pitfalls or stumbling blocks. And I think for us and my kids, its really just trying to help them navigate through those times. And even for me, every day is a challenge and struggle, but you have to learn to navigate it and we just use a different source of power to help us through that. And that's how, Mike, our family is aligned. And it's been a beautiful thing to use that as our backbone to help us through our daily walk.
Michael Redd: Its beautiful, man. It's beautiful. Last question I have for you is if you had to go back to your 16 year old self, what advice would you give your 16 year old self?
Corey Maggette: Wow. If I can go back to my 16 year old self I will honestly say some of the choices that I made. One of the choices that I would say, and to be quite frank and honest, is having sex before I was married looking at it from a biblical standpoint the way you're supposed to align yourself. And I think too, some of those choices as a young adult, it changes you over time as an adult. I look back at that and really trying to have that deeper relationship with Christ. If I can go back to that area of myself and I can tell myself at that time, that's actually what I would tell him.
Corey Maggette: It wouldn't be about anything else. It's more about surrounding yourself around Christ and making sure that you keep your body as a temple to the Lord. And so that would be one thing that I would tell myself. Nothing else, because I think that would be more impactful than anything.
Michael Redd: Corey, you are a great basketball player, but you're a greater person, and I'm so blessed and so glad that you were able to share your story and for people to hear and be inspired by your journey, brother. Love you much, and I appreciate you beyond the cast.
Corey Maggette: Thanks for inviting me on your show. I appreciate it and peace to you and the family. Hopefully I talk to you soon.
Michael Redd: Absolutely, bro. What a great story of both physical and mental strength displayed at the highest levels of competitive sports. Corey is a picture of perseverance and faith. He's a man walking the long road of life with grace, grit and adaptability. Thanks for listening everybody, until next time. I'm Michael Redd. And remember, you are the secret to your success.
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