Stewart Overcomes Adversity
Larry Stewart did not have a typical NBA career. Stewart, born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, was not a highly touted high school prospect. He was not recruited by the traditional NCAA Basketball power houses, eventually finding his way to Coppin State University, in Baltimore, MD.
But as he will tell you, hard work can take you anywhere. Overcoming adversity is a part of who Larry Stewart is. When you come from obscurity, hard work is not an option. If you see Stewart today, at age 42, he looks like he could still play. Currently an assistant coach at Bowie State, Stewart says staying in shape is “in his blood.” He also keeps working on his basketball game because “you can’t get these young guys think they have an upper hand on you.”
Stewart is the perfect man to coach at a smaller school like Bowie State. He is living proof that these guys have a chance to make it in the pros, even if they go un-drafted like Stewart did. Passed over in the 1991 NBA draft, Stewart tried out for and was ultimately signed as an un-drafted free agent by the Washington Bullets. Not only did he make the team, but Stewart went on to make the 2nd team All-NBA Rookie team, an extremely rare accomplishment for an un-drafted player. Says Stewart, “My rookie season, being un-drafted and coming from a small school, I came to an organization willing to give me a chance. Wes Unseld gave me a chance.”
Stewart, still very humble, was not merely given a chance to succeed, he earned it. His advice to kids coming from a similar background speaks volumes: “You can’t let anything stop you. If the ultimate dream is playing in the NBA, coming from a small program or being an unknown, you need to dedicate yourself not 100%, but 200%.” Stewart says that no matter where you are from or what kind of exposure you have that “If you dedicate yourself and work hard the game will come find you. If you dedicate yourself to working hard, your dreams will come true.”
Larry Stewart is a man who can certainly talk the talk and walk the walk. He went on to have a successful NBA and overseas professional career. He is a great role model for anyone who is feeling un-noticed in the game of basketball. If you work hard, the game will eventually find you.