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The pro athlete is a sad tale. He signs a big contract and thinks he's set for life. I didn't think I was set for life, and I don't now. As athletes, we are important, celebrities, in demand and rich. Then we are out of the game and we are not important, not celebrities, not in demand and not rich.
People are interested in pro football because it provides them with an emotional oasis; they don't want football to get involved in the same types of court cases, racial problems and legislative issues they encounter in the rest of American life.
Turning pro is a mindset. If we are struggling with fear, self-sabotage, procrastination, self-doubt, etc., the problem is, we're thinking like amateurs. Amateurs don't show up. Amateurs crap out. Amateurs let adversity defeat them. The pro thinks differently. He shows up, he does his work, he keeps on truckin', no matter what.
I created lots of characters in high school and college, and the first character I created in pro comics was Liana, Green Lantern of M'Elu, for a backup story in 'Green Lantern #162,' my first professional sale.
In college I never realized the opportunities available to a pro athlete. I've been given the chance to meet all kinds of people, to travel and expand my financial capabilities, to get ideas and learn about life, to create a world apart from basketball.