Before the films (586 total as an actor or director). Before the featured performances. Before the tours and the books and the national radio shows. Before “Lisa Ann” ever existed—I was a basketball fan. 

I grew up that way, catching my first NBA Game in 1983 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. It was the 76ers—Dr. J, Moses Malone, and Maurice Cheeks the year they swept the Lakers to win a championship for Philly. The pace, the skill, the teamwork—basketball was love at first sight.

The game made me competitive, kept me in shape, and gave me something to follow while traveling. Later in life, basketball would keep me in check while I was on the road as a Feature Entertainer. I mastered syncing my travel schedule with the NBA schedule so I could go to games and experience arenas all over the U.S. Cheering beside fans in their team’s home stadium birthed instant connections with the cities I visited. To this day, I can and will watch at least one game a day—every day—during the NBA regular season. Come playoff time I am a total shut in.  So it's safe to say my one true love is the NBA and the romance is still very much alive. 

Twenty-five years ago, I decided to become more than just a fan. Having seen first-hand the dangers NBA players face on a daily basis, I felt it was my social responsibility to help these young men navigate their newfound fame and wealth. I decided to mentor young players, to take them under my wing and teach them what they needed to know in order to not get hustled by “friends” and women out to take what they have. 

That began 25 years ago. Today, I am ready to drop a Shaq-sized bomb on you: Basketball players are just people!

Why do I say that? Well, if any of the unfortunate incidents involving NBA players that we regularly see on the news happened to you, would you want millions of Americans to immediately react with blame and judgment? NO! As a matter of fact, you might just want some empathy from a public that understands very little about you and your situation. 

So that is exactly what I am asking you to have for professional basketball players you may see involved in off-court “incidents”—empathy.