I want the kids to know that it's not a myth that somebody from their city plays and wins in the NBA. I just want to influence them to work hard and do whatever they want to do in life, whether it's to be a basketball player or scientist... if they believe in themselves, they can do anything.
As for middle school, I had a really horrible era of style. I'd only play basketball with the boys during lunch, so I went through a phase of only wearing Lakers uniforms to school - that was cute! And then I kind of went through the Puma phase that everyone went through with the sweatsuits, which turned into Juicy Couture sweatsuits.
To be successful in anything, you have to have a passion for it, and that leads to being enthusiastic and demanding. I didn't have it for history. So I wouldn't have been a good teacher in that area. But I had it for basketball. And that's what coaching is at every level: it's about teaching.
Allah says in the Qur'an not to despise one another. So the criterion in Islam is not color or social status. It's who is most righteous. If I go to a mosque - and I'm a basketball player with money and prestige - if I go to a mosque and see an imam, I feel inferior. He's better than me. It's about knowledge.
Trip Hawkins - and this was the early 1980s - was saying there's going to be a day when everyone has a computer and they're going to want to do more on it, including playing games. So he started up a company, EA Sports, and he was going to have three games, football, basketball and baseball. So I was the football game.
The game of basketball has been everything to me. My place of refuge, place I've always gone where I needed comfort and peace. It's been the site of intense pain and the most intense feelings of joy and satisfaction. It's a relationship that has evolved over time, given me the greatest respect and love for the game.