Before he became a big-time motivational speaker, Walter Bond played big-time hoops at Minnesota (1988-91) and played three NBA seasons.
After an appearance last week at the North Community YMCA as the featured speaker at its business speaker series (Bond’s remarks are featured on the Metro page of this week’s edition), he told the MSR, “Clem Haskins was a phenomenal leader — he was the one who told me to be a motivational speaker. The one thing that I respect and love him for is [that] at age 18 he had an amazing impact on me not only as an athlete but also as a person. He turned me from a little boy to a man. He could do things that probably my dad couldn’t do because he had a different role.”
After he retired from basketball, Bond said he tried entering the business world but was routinely turned away. Lack of experience was the usual reason given.
“I saw a disconnect in the business community,” said Bond. “It’s methodical, and they have certain ways they do it, and a lot of times you have to think outside the box. One thing I learned through that process was that I needed to be an entrepreneur. They did me a favor — if I had gotten the job, I wouldn’t have been
an entrepreneur right now.”
Now years later, it is business that comes calling rather than the other way around, says Bond with a smile. Corporations large and small, nationally and globally, seek him out for his workshops and buy his books and CDs. His schedule book is bursting at the seams.
The former Gopher coach Haskins was one of three key individuals who played a huge part in his life, says Bond. He “impacted me for those four years I played for him. I’m 43, and he is still impacting my life,” he admits. “He provided tough love and ran a tight ship.
“I was fortunate. I had a mom and dad who were employed and good citizens, who installed discipline, loved and raised me,” says Bond of his parents.
Bond also shared his thoughts on a third-year football player who quit the Gophers a couple of weeks ago, supposedly because he felt abused: “People have to understand that great college coaches are tough on their players,” he points out. “Clem Haskins was no different — he turned boys into men. I want that for my son.
“Don’t confuse tough love with abuse,” warns Bond. “Jerry Kill [current U of M football coach] is a tough cookie, and Clem Haskins is a tough cookie. Far as I am concerned, that’s who you want to coach your football team.”
“I love Minneapolis,” concludes Bond, who lives here half of the year, spending the other half in Florida. “I get out of here in the winter, but this is my second home. Minneapolis has been great for me, and I want to be great for Minneapolis.”
Whitening of baseball returning?
Thus far, Blacks have been overlooked to fill the six major-league baseball managerial job openings this off season.
Conference expansion or conference busting?
The Big Ten Conference announced last week that it will expand to 14 teams in 2014: Maryland, an original member of the ACC, and Rutgers from the Big East will join the former Midwestern-based league.
“We stayed with 11 institutions for 21 years,” Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany told reporters last week. Now his league has added three teams in five years.
Last week’s news lends more credence to the prediction that college sports will soon be reduced to a small set of “super conferences.”
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.