tanya tatum

Tanya Tatum

*Over the weekend, I watched a program called “Summer Dreams,” a show about the NBA Summer League that takes place in Orlando and Las Vegas every July.

For those that didn’t know (such as myself), it is the proving ground for NBA draft picks and undrafted hopefuls vying to secure their spot on a pro team. It is also where potential new coaching staff and referees chomp at the opportunity of being employed by the NBA.

The documentary profiled the journeys of a few different players, a female ref in training, and a college coach that wanted in. It was the coach’s storyline that inspired this post.

A former realtor; Joel Abelson spent the past six years chasing his dream from team to team on a smaller college level.  Saying he had never spent more than six months in one city, Joel ate, drank and breathed basketball, knowing that one day his dream would become a reality. His sacrifices were many and he was determined that something was going to change in Las Vegas.

After hours of networking, he managed to get an interview with the general manager of one of the teams. He showed up at the interview confident of his chances, until the GM asked the one question that dashed all hope.

“What makes you any different than the next guy I’ll interview?”


He didn’t have an answer. The GM went on to advise that everyone thinks they can do the job, but when faced with that question, you have to have an answer. What is that “thing” that makes you stand out from the crowd?

Without bashing Abelson, I was shocked that in his commitment to achieving such a difficult goal, he never asked himself that question. How is it that he never pondered a response, even if just used to encourage himself?

Have you?

Most of us know that in order to attain success, you have to hunt it down with skill, determination and preparation.  One principle is no more valuable than the other, but I would dare guess that the latter is where we are most likely to fail; being unprepared when the spotlight is on you.  It is important for us to not only ask and answer that question over and over during our “pursuit of happiness”, but be ready to verbalize our reply when the moment arises.  That being said…

Why are YOU any different than the next?

The doors of the forum are now open…

Tanya Tatum is the opinionated host of “The Tatum Talks”, a live radio show with an interest in African-American interests on Blog Talk Radio.  Feel free to join in on the weekly madness every Wednesday night from 9-10p EST at www.blogtalkradio.com/thetatumtalks and daily at www.facebook.com/thetatumtalks.  She can be reached via email at [email protected].