Former NBA Player and Coach of the Year speaks to TROY students

TROY, Ala. (TROJANVISION) — Basketball icon Sam Mitchell visited Troy University’s campus to speak to students about motivation and perseverance.

Mitchell spent much of his time describing challenges he faced at the beginning of his basketball career.

“I was so bad,” Mitchell told students. “Coach had a rule. If you passed me the ball, he took you out of the game.”

For most people, 13 is an unlucky number. For Sam Mitchell, 13 is particularly unlucky. 13 is the number of times Mitchell was cut professionally in his career.

Regardless, he still became an NBA player and the 2006-2007 Coach of the Year in the NBA for the Toronto Raptors.

“Sometimes, you may not know your talents, other people may see it and when they tell you, you gotta take a step back, listen, and think about it, then act on it if it is something you want to do.”

Despite being most known for his days in Canada, Mitchell’s roots are a lot closer to Troy. Mitchell is originally from Columbus Georgia. He then went to play for the nearby Mercer Bears in college. He would go on to play for the Pacers and Timberwolves in the NBA, before starting his coaching career with the Bucks in 2002.

“I often believe that sometimes, things are chosen for you. I had never thought about coaching until I got a call from Ernie. I didn’t think I was coaching material, but he saw something I didn’t see. ”

Nowadays, you can find Mitchell as an NBA analyst appearing on NBA TV, TSN, and Sirius XM, which marks a long way from being cut back in the day.