Pro Basketball Player Donté Greene: When First-Class Character Meets Undeniable Athletic Talent

by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media 

He was one of the most prolific basketball players to come out of Baltimore. Among the many Division I options that were on the table for him, he chose to take his talents to Syracuse University where he averaged over 17 points and over 7 rebounds a game, setting a record for 3-pointers made (90).

Drafted by the NBA as a 2008 first-round pick, he kicked off his NBA career with a 40-point debut in the NBA’s Summer League in Las Vegas, before going on to spend the first four years of his professional career with the Sacramento Kings.

These are just some of the accolades for Donté Greene. Perhaps though, the most imposing thing about this young brother is exactly what the title to this story says; “first-class character” and “undeniable talent.”

It’s that combination that separates Greene from the pack.

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I’ve come across so many people who have had off-putting experiences with athletes, whether it was because of their character or something else. That’s why it’s important for us to highlight those athletes who exemplify great character, a heart for others, and who represent positivity.

That’s who Donté Greene is.

Greene has done an amazing job at taking the “highs with the lows,” as he would call it.

Perhaps though, the most imposing thing about this young brother is exactly what the title to this story says; “first-class character” and “undeniable talent.”

What are those highs and lows for Greene?

Well, his career hasn’t necessarily been a walk in the park. The Baltimore breaded professional ball player has dealt with his share of adversity, and believe it or not, it started on the night of the 2008 NBA Draft — a night where he was expected to be selected early in the first round. Instead, he was snagged as one of the last few picks in the first round.

Greene used that as motivation though, as he put on the most impressive showing in his Summer League debut, proving to his fellow athletes and to coaches that he belonged in an NBA uniform.

From there, his NBA journey began, but it wasn’t too long after that when Greene would face adversity again. This time though, it was a move from the NBA to the NBA Development League (D-League). This move came after he set on the bench for most of his rookie season.

While some players would have assessed the situation, viewing it as a major set back, Greene did just the opposite. He viewed it as an opportunity to help his organization and get better in the process so that when he did get an opportunity to move back up, he’d be ready.

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Greene put on a show during his brief stint in the D-League, and days later, he was back in a Sacramento Kings uniform. After that, he would experience the business aspect of basketball, as he was released from the team in 2013, ultimately bouncing around the league a bit before ending up overseas.

According to Greene, landing overseas was probably the hardest thing he’s had to deal with, but not only for the obvious reasons of being on the outside looking in as far as the NBA goes. The thing that hurt him the most about the transition was being away from his family, specifically his kids who mean the world to him.

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Well, another transition could be approaching for Greene if he continues to have success overseas. That’s a turning point that the Orangeman says he’s ready for, considering he hasn’t laced up his kicks for an NBA game since 2013.

Greene says he doesn’t take his position in life for granted though and that he’s had a lot of time to mature as a player and as a person, even though his children know him to be a “big kid,” always leaving a favorable lasting impression on those he comes in contact with.

Greene is the perfect role model for other young and older athletes out there today, as he exemplifies a love for the game of basketball and a level of character that keeps him involved in the community and grateful everyday for the opportunity he’s been given to provide for his children.

Checkout our exclusive interview below and CHOOSE TO BE INSPIRED.

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Q. Something that most people might not know about you. You were born in Germany, which I believe had a lot to do with your mother working for the National Security Agency (NSA), at the time. Tell me a little bit about that.

A. My mom worked for the NSA 13 years before she had me. Germany was great! I lived there until I was four years old and then came back for another year between the ages of 12 and 13. Living overseas helped me become more cultured. Living among different nationalities and lifestyles…I thought it was cool. Looking back on it, I’m glad it worked out the way that it did.

Q. You were selected in the first round of the 2008 NBA Draft. The one-and-done notion is something that’s received a lot of attention for years now, especially after years of seeing guys go to the league straight out of high school. What influenced your decision to leave Syracuse for the NBA after your freshman year? 

A. I went into Syracuse knowing it was a possibility for me to get drafted after one year. I just wanted to go to school, work as hard as I could and get better. After my freshman year, I knew I had a child on the way and a family to take care of. So, the decision was a no-brainer for me. My dream was within my reach, so I had to take it.

Q. You’re widely known by your fan-base for the five seasons you spent as a Sacramento King. A lot happened during that time, including a short stint in the D-League in 2009. Can you explain what those five years meant for your basketball career and what you learned about yourself during that time?

A. It was great for me. I love Sacramento as a city and the fans really took me in. Great family town that loves their basketball. The D-league helped me get my game back on track after sitting for half my rookie year. It was actually a lot of fun playing with guys who had been pros for a minute trying to get a look in the NBA. But for my career, it helped me see the business side of being a pro, learning the ends and outs of everything.

Q. You represented the USA twice (2006 and 2007) in the FIBA games. What was it like playing in the FIBA games?

A. It was a blessing. To be able to walk out there with that USA on your chest and represent your country was a great feeling. Also, the traveling part. We were in Serbia for about two weeks, having a blast sight seeing and experiencing a different culture. Playing against younger players, who I would see later in the NBA, was crazy! Definitely a trip to remember.

Q. You actually attended school in Japan when you were younger. Do you recall what that experience was like?

A. Japan was beautiful! When my mom told us we were moving there, I didn’t know what to think. Would I like the food? Are people going to speak English? Once I got there, I realized they knew more about the American culture than I did. My three years there was great though. I still have many friends from my early school days who I’m in contact with.

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Q. You won a gold medal in the 2006 FIBA games. How special was it to win a gold medal while you were still in high school? 

A. Very special!  Not everybody can say, “I won a gold medal for my country doing something I love.” It was a tremendous honor and something I will never forget.

Q. Donté, you went on a tear in your freshman year at Syracuse, averaging over 17 points per game and over 7 rebounds per game. You started in all 35 games and you also set a record for 3-pointers made (90). No wonder you were a first-round pick following that performance. How did it feel to add your name to the elite list of players to come through that program, specifically Carmelo Anthony who also grew up in Baltimore and played at your alma mater, Towson Catholic?

A. It was a dream come true. When I started to take basketball seriously at the age of 13, all I wanted was to get a scholarship at a big-time school and make it to the NBA. Now, to follow behind Melo was the icing on the cake. Even though I didn’t kill like he did, I got my name in the record books and I can always call myself an Orangemen.

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Q. You scored 40 points in your NBA Summer League debut. Explain your mindset going into that game, a game that set the tone for the start of your NBA career?

A. I had probably the biggest chip on my shoulder out of all NBA rookies. I was predicted to go mid-first round and slipped to the end of the first round. I wanted to go out and prove all those NBA teams wrong that looked over me. I wanted to show that I was here for a reason and that I belonged in the NBA. And that’s what I did, haha.

Q. You might have been sent to the D-League for a few games, but after some great performances you were brought right back up. Explain how you were able to succeed in the midst of that adversity.

A. When I got down there, I didn’t look at it as a punishment. I looked at it as a reward for me sitting on the bench knowing I could be out there helping my team. I went down to the D-League to have fun and get better. What made it easier was I was with a great group of guys who just wanted to play ball and win. We did just that.

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LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 19: Donté Greene #13 of the Memphis Grizzlies looks on versus the Denver Nuggets during NBA Summer League on July 19, 2013 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jack Arent/NBAE via Getty Images)

Q. In the last three years, you’ve bounced around a bit from the NBA to overseas play. What has that experience been like for you? How have you handled the ups and downs and remained positive through it all?

A. For me, I think it’s helped. I’m definitely more mature. I had some growing up to do and I believe I’m on the right path to step foot back in the NBA and be successful. You have to understand that life is full of ups and downs. You have to take the highs just as good as your lows. Only worry about what you can control and leave the rest to the big guy upstairs. Believe in yourself and anything is possible, as long as you put that work in.

Q. Where are you in your professional career today? Do you have plans to try to get back in the NBA, or are you focused on dominating the league you’re in now?

A. I want to get back in the NBA. I think it’s time for me to come back home and hoop…but just trying to prove myself all over again. Being in Dubai for two years kind of hurt me. I have to go out, put the work in and show what I can do.

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Q. You’ve always been a humble person and a guy with a lot of character, which is why I’m not surprised you’ve experienced success in your life. Speaking of which, you have children who are very near and dear to you.Talk about how having your kids has changed your perspective on what success means and on life in general?

A. My kids are my EVERYTHING!!! I do this for them. I always wanted to be the young cool dad, and to be fair I’m the biggest kid you might meet. When I’m on the court and I might need a little pick me up, I think about them to get some energy. When I’m overseas and missing them like crazy, I’ll tell myself it’s for them to have a better life. It’s not just about you when you have kids, and I’m blessed to have my little ones.

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Donté,

My man, thanks for taking this interview and for being so open about your journey thus far. It’s crazy to think that just years ago, we were in open gyms on the same court and walking the Towson Catholic hallways. I always respected your character and your talent of course. Made it easy to root for you to win in life bro and that’s exactly what you’re doing today. Continue to set an example for those around you as a great father, a guy active in the community, and as a pro athlete putting in the work on the court. Welcome to the Intern Media family. Your story has just been added to the Intern Media wall and we’re family bro, so you already know the support will continue. Be blessed fam. 

Karl Nelson II, Founding Editor of Intern Media 

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Collision 2016: Endorsed by media from over 100 countries

by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media

Just in case you’re wondering what it’s like to attend a conference like Collision as a member of the media, here you go.

First things first.  For those media professionals like myself who truly love what we do and don’t view this as a job, it all starts when we receive word of the invite.  The feeling that runs through our bodies and the way that our eyes light up, it reminds us that we’re in the right profession.

It doesn’t end there though.  There’s a crazy level of preparation that comes with a responsibility like this; an endless amount of complex reading, grueling writing and research sessions, interview preparation, video preparation, and a test of your overall creativity.

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It’s almost like being a professional athlete.  You don’t just show up to the “game,” put your uniform on and walk onto the court or field for the opening whistle, tip or kickoff.

As a media professional, you must arrive to the scene hours in advance just like some of the worlds greatest athletes.

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You have to be mentally and professionally prepared to not only do your job, but to also look for opportunities to develop a career-changing story or a career-changing moment for yourself, for your represented platform and most importantly for your audience.

It’s this level of preparation that sometimes has me feeling like that NBA superstar arriving to the arena in my Johnston and Murphy shoes, tailored fit suit, Ralph Lauren backpack, and my studio Dre Beats headphones, of course.

Maybe the brief description that I’ve just provided you with will have you thinking about that reporter, journalist, or camera man the next time you’re watching a sporting event or attending one of America’s fastest growing conferences in the future like Collision.

In the event that this write up crosses your mind, just think about the thousands of media outlets out there today who are dedicated to bringing you and millions of others the very best media coverage day in and day out.

Intern Media is dedicated to doing the same in its own uncommon way, focusing on the established individual and the individual in today’s society who’s lacking a voice.

Thanks again to Collision, a technology conference colliding the tech world with prominent sponsors and some of the most profound media outlets around the world today.

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Brian Macon: Changing lives with a basketball in hand

by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media

In the game of basketball, a lot of the time, we’re only accustomed to seeing the end result; the game or a player’s performance.

We’re not always able to see the blood, sweat and tears that’s poured out onto the basketball court in the offseason when individual players and teams are preparing for their respective basketball seasons.  We don’t see the ups and downs that a player or a team goes through over the course of a long season.

Just think about that for a second.  What if we were able to see more of those moments?

For the basketball fans of the world, we already have an appreciation for what we see from top athletes like a Lebron James or a Stephen Curry.

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Lebron James Fun Fact:  The two-time NBA Champion didn’t wear the number 6 in Miami for the reasons that most fans believe he did.  Lebron’s first child was born on October 6, 2004 and his second child was born in June of 2007.  According to Lebron, that’s why he wore the number 6 as a member of the Miami Heat. (msn.com, “30 interesting facts about Lebron James”)

So, just imagine how much greater that level of appreciation would be if we had more access to what’s going on behind the scenes.

What if we could witness Curry get up over a thousand shots a day? 

What if we could witness Lebron’s three-part workout, consisting of sprints on the track, weight lifting in the weight room and then skill work on the basketball court?

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Stephen Curry Fun Fact:  The NBA’s reigning MVP and the 2015 NBA Champion once said that if he were to play in the NFL, he would be a “second-string punter.” (complex.com, “30 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Steph Curry”)

These are the things that we don’t get to see.

Well, that’s what a guy by the name of Brian Macon allows us to see.  Brian started playing the game of basketball at the age of six and he never looked back.

He’s now an elite basketball skills trainer based in Florida, responsible for a lot of the growth seen in both young and adult basketball players today.

Brian’s approach is the same for everyone that he trains, providing them with a level of training that is considered beyond the times, so to speak.

This is something that I’ve been able to witness on his social media platforms, a hub in which he posts a lot of his training videos.

He’s definitely taking advantage of this evolution of technology by putting eyes to the impact that he’s having on athletes as well as showcasing his knowledge of the game.

For Brian, it’s about packaging his work just like it is for the average journalist.

Brian’s not only preparing for an endless amount of training sessions or putting basketball players through workouts.  He also has those moments captured on video and then edited in a way that the viewer finds the content to be very fundamental and consistent.

However, even with putting that additional work in off of the court, who seems to get the bulk of the credit, if not all of it when you think about a player’s talent?

It’s the player, of course.  However, if there was a league or a broadcast that highlighted the trainers that stand behind these elite and most-improved athletes, we might actually see the tables turn a bit.

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Brian Macon giving a group of his young athletes instructions during a Handlelife basketball training session.

If there was an outlet dedicated to the journey of the trainer, hypothetically speaking, then I’m sure Brian would find himself showcased, as he’s having quite the impact as an important piece to Handlelife.

Handlelife is a sports training and lifestyle brand that focuses on motivating athletes as well as everyday people to work hard at perfecting their crafts.

Brian is a great representation of those grueling training sessions, the ups and downs that come with being an athlete, and of a game that is constantly evolving.

Brian grew up playing basketball and reached the collegiate ranks, making a name for himself in the sport.  As a student athlete at Miami-Dade College, Brian found himself ranked top 5 in the nation in assists.  And that was just after two seasons with the team.

Brian also helped lead his team to a conference championship.  After receiving those accolades at Miami-Dade College, Brian took an onward and upward move to Boston University.

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Brian during his playing days at Boston University.

At Boston University, Brian continued to be a floor general, leading his team in assists and becoming a co-captain after his first season with the team.

Brian’s career on the court might have ended after an ACL injury, but he didn’t let that stop him from continuing his love for the game, this time in a different facet though.

Brian decided to make the transition from player to trainer shortly after the injury, taking his personal experiences and years of knowledge to the up-and-coming ball players out there as well as those developing at the collegiate and professional ranks.

Today, Brian is one of the most pursued basketball trainers in the South Florida area and he’s managing Handlelife’s Florida division.

I have a lot of admiration for the empire that he has helped build, one that led him to working with two of my good friends, Paul Easton and Aaron Walsh of Drills And Skills Basketball.

As a basketball player myself and as someone who played from the age of six all the way up to the collegiate level, I can honestly say that behind every great athlete is a dedicated and highly-skilled trainer.

For many athletes out there today, that’s who Brian is to them and I’m proud to now have him apart of the Intern Media family.

Go to the next page of this article and checkout my interview with Brian as we went in depth with his history as a former player and now as a trainer who’s experiencing a lot of victories in his life.

These victories are not necessarily games won though.  Instead, the victories that Brian is experiencing today has everything to do with the lives that he’s impacting with his elite training methods.

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Brian at The Palace of Auburn Hills (Home of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons) teaching a group of youth at one of Handlelife’s clinics.