Mario West dreamed of becoming a professional basketball player.
After a standout career at Georgia Tech from 2003-07, that dream was eventually realized as he played for numerous teams, including the Hawks, and in numerous countries from 2007-15.
His next dream is to become a coach. He’s working on that as the director of player development for coach Josh Pastner at Tech.
In between those dreams, West set a goal to become an author.
His first book, Defend the Dream, has been published and can be purchased on his website, http://www.mariowest.com/.
West will have a book signing at the Barnes & Noble at Technology Square on Sunday from 2-4 p.m.
He took a few minutes on Thursday to discuss the inspiration for his book and what he hopes people will get from it. Questions and answers have been edited and/or paraphrased for clarity.
Q: Why did you decide to write a book?
A: The reason I wrote a book is first of all, when I think about my life and what I’ve been able to accomplish, God has done so much for me.
It was a dream of mine to share my story.
Two years ago, I was playing in Argentina and I tore my Achilles tendon. I was in agonizing pain and different things were going through my head: “I have to rehab for eight months. What am I going to do?”
God spoke to me: “You need to work on this book and share your story.”
Took two years to complete the book.
I want to encourage others. We’ve all had a dream. I want people to know that they can overcome any challenge in life that they may come across while trying to achieve their dream, whether its playing in MBA, being a scientist, singer or dancer.
But there’s a process that follows.
Young people, we have this vision or idea, especially if they are good, that it’s going to be an easy route or straight path.
This book is to help young people achieve their dream and fulfill their greatest potential.
Q: Was writing something that you had ever considered?
A: When I achieved my first dream of playing in the NBA at 22 I was in total amazement. I was humbled. At that point, I said I would love to write a book one day to share my story. Looking back, I’ve come so far and now I’m in the NBA.
I had been putting it off. With my Achilles torn, God was like don’t put this off anymore.
For me, it was like, my dream since I was 7 to play in the NBA.
My passion became greater than the game.
Once I tapped into that God wants more, I realized that I can do more. He gave me all of this so that I can do more.
It goes hand in hand with my position here at Georgia Tech.
Q: Did you have an idea how to write a book?
A: No, I didn’t.
I had a co-author, Shakyna Bolden. She’s a childhood friend.
I shared with her. She encouraged me to share my story. She previously worked as an editor at Essence magazine.
People throughout my life have told me to share my story, but never to the point of saying you should write a book and share your story.
Q: What’s the biggest takeaway from you book?
A: The biggest takeaway: I would caution every reader that this isn’t a basketball book. It’s more a book about different trials and tribulations that you will face in everyday life.
I break it down into four quarters like in the game of basketball.
If you don’t start the game of life or the race to pursue your dream the way you want to, how are you able to recover? How are you able to get through the process to the fourth quarter to put yourself in the best position to achieve your dream?
Do you have humility? Do you have discipline? Do you have passion, faith and determination? These are all different lessons that you need to achieve your dream.
In addition, I have a workbook outlined that helps you answer those questions.
How will you respond to certain obstacles and things that will happen every day?
The main thing to understand is that there’s a process that follows with pursuing your dream.
There can’t be any self-entitlement. You have to work for it. There are so many factors that tie into achieving your dream. If you stick to the playbook, your chances will increase.
Q: Who are your favorite authors?
A: I love motivational books. This book will also inspire. I love books written by Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes. I read the book by Chris Gardner, The Pursuit of Happyess. I love that book.
I’ve read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
I’ve read David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell.
So many book have inspired me.
My thing is we all have a story.
Though I believe my story is still being written.
Writing a book was another of my dreams.
Now I’m actively pursuing another dream, which is to be a coach.
You just have to have the faith, discipline and determination to pursue your dream, despite what others think, despite the adversity or obstacles that you may face.