ONE MISSION: INTERVIEW WITH ADAM STANFORD
Copyright © 2019 Ursula Vari
I first watched Adam Stanford play during the Venice Ball League quarter-finals at the Crete Academy in Crenshaw. I got to witness his caliber as a player during the impassioned game. Through it all, he remained collected and precise with every ball. His talent was evident in his speed and impeccable accuracy. During our post game shoot we talked about life as an international player, the challenges while playing in Europe and the difficulty navigating the dating world and the possible reasons why it is so. Stanford was easy to photograph, yet the images came the most alive when I handed him the basketball. His life’s passion was evident with the immediate ease which followed once he faced the hoop. In between wardrobe changes, I got the chance to ask him a few questions.
Here’s my brief interview with him.
NAME: Adam C Stanford Jr
HOMETOWN: Richmond, Ky.
CURRENTLY IN: Fontana, CA
OCCUPATION: Professional Basketball Player, Graphic Designer, CEO of One Mission
You played in China and recently returned from Thailand where you played for the Bangkok Tigers. How did you end up playing internationally?
I ended up playing overseas out of college. Right after receiving my Masters from Campbellsville University. I went to a Pro-Tour in China for a month, then to Denmark where I played for 6 months.
How was your upbringing? How did your parents feel about your decision to be a professional athlete?
My upbringing with basketball was hard because I went through a lot growing up. I attended Kentucky Wesleyan College where I was a walk-on for the team. This was really hard because I did not play-I was only able to practice but not play. Then after some time I started to play for only a couple of minutes. People thought I had a scholarship for the team but I never received one playing for the college. My Junior year I started to play a lot but I was still a walk-on then I transferred to Campbellsville University when I finished my years at Kentucky Wesleyan receiving my BA in Graphic Design. Eventually I got a full-ride scholarship for the school. I played there for a while. It went from good to bad. But I was the only player that played overseas from that team. Which means I got the last laugh and received my Masters in Sports Management. My parents were happy about my decision even though I have a strong football family and background. But they were really supportive.
What were the challenges when you first started out-if any?
I faced challenges with my knee injury that happened in my Sophomore year, that I didn’t recover from until I got out of college. But I faced challenges with proving people wrong playing sports, which I love to do.
Did you have a mentor who was instrumental in who you have become today?
No, but I had my grandmother who would make sure my head was leveled but then she passed away which was hard for me. My dad would talk to me to make sure I was still focused.
What advice has your mentor/first coach given you that you'll always remember?
My grandma and dad used to always tell me that “You have One Mission so complete it and enjoy it because you are young. Can’t nobody hold you back so keep going.”
Do you have a pregame ritual that you do before every game?
I listen to Trey Songz, because it keeps me calm and relaxed. I liked being calm and relaxed. While I do that I would have my gummy bears.
How did you end up playing in the Venice Ball League?
I went to the VBL in 2014 to the VBL Open Run where they had the best players out there that year and the most that ever came out. I was known for my speed and later I got recognized for my hops and me dunking on other players. From that year my VBL story shot up quickly with me meeting and knowing a lot of celebrities.
What’s in your gym bag that might surprise people?
Haha my gym bag only has my game stuff but it does have Gummy Bears and orange juice.
What is your fondest memory of this season?
My fondest moment was winning the Conference Championship two times in a row. And then getting player of the game in the Drew. Also, joining the Dunk Fest with the top dunkers because I was with the top dunkers and I was a no name dunker. But I got the Block Of The Year for the event. That helped me a lot. Last is getting my 1st overseas contract because it let me know that I was just getting started with my basketball career.
How do you channel your frustration when the referee’s decision doesn’t go your way?
I get mad but I just take my anger out on the rim when I attack the rim. I will go with the thought that nobody can stop me.
What moment this season were you most proud of yourself?
This season went by fast but a proud moment that I got to play for P4E. That’s a family on and off the court. But I was proud to play for a family, because that is big for me.
If you could meet and sit down for dinner with anyone who would it be?
Dwayne Wade, that is who I looked up to and My idol for years since I was a kid.
You and I spoke about the challenges of dating as an athlete? Could you elaborate on why you find the process difficult?
It is difficult because you have to split your time between sports and a relationship. But also when it comes to social media it’s difficult because people will find me on social media and my “other person” will get jealous or insecure.
What qualities are you looking for in a woman (ladies pay attention!)?
I’m now taken. But you have to be goofy, fun, go with the flow, intelligent, know what you want with life, have passion, not insecure, don’t worry about social media everyday, down to earth, knowing how to cook like me because I like to cook, I don’t like smokers at all and don’t like liars. You have to be in shape because I stay moving a lot but also understanding.
You are the CEO of ONE MISSION, a clothing brand that caters to all ages. What was your inspiration to get into the fashion industry and what is YOUR mission?
My inspiration is from what my brothers used to tell me, plus my grandma and my dad used to tell me about me having One Mission and I used that phrase for my life. Everything that I had been through showed me and everyone that I have One Mission and I’m not letting anybody stop me. My One Mission was always to play overseas and do graphic design for people but once that happens to keep it going and share the movement. Which is what I’m doing.
You have played internationally for the past few years, you must miss your family. How do you deal with being homesick?
I get homesick a lot but I just Face Time my family as much as I can.
What has basketball taught you that carries over into the other areas of your life?
Basketball has taught me that everyone is different. But also some people love to see you fail but once you excel they don’t know what to say. Then some people like taking advantage of people, which is never good when someone wants to be great. Last is that basketball can give you the right family when meeting the right people in your career.
What advice would you give to a young baller who is just starting out?
I would tell them to remember that school is first, because you have to ask yourself without basketball then what are you? But also when playing basketball have fun, it is a sport you have to love and enjoy because not everyone can play it and or be good at it. So never take it for granted. Last is to work on your weakness now and basketball is ALL MENTAL, it’s a game of brains. If you can outsmart your opponent then you will be ok.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What is/are your dream(s)?
In 10 years I see myself ALIVE because as a black man that is hard to do. But also in 10 years I see myself playing for a stable overseas team. Then having my clothing line grow and become stable with a happy family with 2-4 kids that would look up to me and their mom and I would be happy with a Mission that is Complete.