Chris Carr 43 Hoops, the constant professional

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Quit or push.  Allen Iverson and Latrell Sprewell did not move on from basketball and their net worth suffered.  Stephon Marbury ate Vaseline to bring the spotlight back to him. We have battles everyday; whether it is waking up, brushing your teeth, or going to work. Chris Carr has continued to push after retiring from the game.

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 3.04.12 PMChris Carr, 40, former Minnesota Timberwolve has built a prominent AAU squad, 43 Hoops, after retiring from basketball.  Many athletes wish they had the foresight to think about life after basketball.  Marbury and the aforementioned are good examples.  Chris Carr now runs a 43 Hoops camp that hosts a prominent AAU squad for ages 18 and under.  43 Hoops also hosts events, parties and summer camps for basketball and volleyball.  43 is Chris’ number from his playing days, when he played ball with the best of them, including Charles Barkley, Kevin Johnson, Kevin Garnett, Stephon Marbury, Terry Porter, Paul Pierce, and many others.

Chris Carr, now Coach Carr, wasn’t considered a polished professional early on in his career. When he sat down with the owner of the Phoenix Suns for a pre-draft dinner, Chris showed up in sweatpants and a t-shirt.  Owner Jerry Colangelo came dressed in an Italian-made suit. As Chris sat there he felt out of place in a fancy restaurant and told Colangelo just that. “Forgive me for my disrespect in attire,” Chris said sheepishly.  Jerry Colangelo then looked Chris Carr in the eye and said, “That is why you have what it takes to make it.”  Respect can go a long way.  The two continued talking and at the end of the meal Colangelo asked Carr if he intended to shake his hand.  Taking into account that Carr had ordered chicken fingers and fries for dinner.  Colangelo told Carr it wasn’t his fault, he just ate the food as it was given to him, without even thinking twice about it.  That moment began Chris’ learning curve on what it meant to be a pro.

In year 2, Chris played for the Timberwolves after a productive rookie year campaign.  He walked into Target Center with fellow Timberwolve Terry Porter.  Terry saw Chris and asked, “Why are you wearing jeans and a hoodie?”  Porter was wearing a 3-piece suit.  “Don’t you want to be seen as something different?  Have you ever seen MJ leaving United Center?  Carr responded, ”Yeah. Getting in a Lamborghini with how he is dressed so he’s worth more.”  Porter then told him it’s not about what you make it’s about the power of the presence that you make.

Chris credits Terry Porter for continuing his progress towards the professional he became in the league.  Porter reminded Carr that ‘you don’t see doctors and lawyers showing up to work in sweatpants and a t-shirt do ya?  Don’t you want to be seen as something different?’ Chris changed his attire and posted his 2nd highest FG% of his career, 46.1%.  The following season he started half of the Timberwolves’ games, but was regretfully traded in a blockbuster deal for Sam Cassell.

Carr’s statistics indicate that he should have had a consistent starting role in the league. Carr alluded that some NBA executives may have attributed his poor body image to a poor personality.  We’ve all been raised with the notion that you can’t judge a book by its cover. NBA executives don’t often follow that guideline.  Carr would stay late after games and sign autographs for kids.  A majority of players don’t have much contact with the NBA executives because their agents are paid for those scenarios.  Unfortunately, the NBA executives won’t all take the time to understand who everyone really is and they may only know players personally from a couple of brief meetings.

Carr was given a clean slate when playing with the Chicago Bulls.

When Carr came to Chicago head coach Tim Floyd told him, “I’ve heard you’re not interested in playing defense and you are a poor teammate.  I’m going to judge you off of face value.  If you don’t do what I’m asking you to do, then you won’t play.  You are capable of doing (what I ask) all the time, but if you can’t do it all the time then you can’t play.”  Carr recounted a game when Floyd told him he would dress but he would not play.  His reasoning was that he didn’t want to field press conference questions about why Chris Carr wasn’t dressed for the game.  Carr was engaged in the game and encouraged his teammates, so Coach Floyd put the then aging veteran into the game. Carr said Coach Floyd really helped him as a person and Floyd relayed Carr’s winning attitude to the executives in the league.

Chris recalls a road trip to Chicago when he spent some time at Michael Jordan’s place for cards and football.

During his rookie year, Chris was playing cards at MJ’s on Super Bowl Sunday.  Looking around the table Chris saw Michael, Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley, Michael Finley, and Ron Harper.  Michael leaned over to Chris and said, “Do you know what makes me who I am?” Chris responded, “Yeah, you’re the best.  Yeah.”  MJ told Carr, “Because my will to compete and my will to win will outlast anybody’s that I ever play against. Inevitably I will destroy your will to want to play against me.”

The room was silent for the next few minutes.  The game continued and no one confronted Jordan. As the night concluded, Carr and Michael Finley drove back to the hotel.  Carr asked Finley if he remembered the silence following what MJ had said.  Finley, “Yeah that was weird.  You should have seen your face Chris it looked like you were about to pee yourself.” In retelling the story, Chris laughed and a nostalgic feeling swept over us in the room.

Today, Chris continues to coach up his players at 43 Hoops on how to be a professional in life. He has had a handful play professionally at home or overseas.  He presents himself  to his youth as a great role model.  Chris was never the party goer and he has never indulged in drugs or alcohol.  As others went out in New York City, Chris curled up in the lounge, had a steak, and watched the NBA game.  Chris has never lived life as the hypocrite; instead he is the guy that can lead his players and family by example.  His stories are comical. They inspire everyone who hears them, mainly because he has gone about his business in a respectable and professional manner.

Chris Carr speaks from a been there done that, yet humbling ground.  Chris continues to build youth up through basketball and other junctures.  He is a dad and completed his college degree after retiring from the NBA, which is pretty uncommon for any professional player.  His only regret was that his late mother was no longer around to see him receive his diploma.  His 43 hoops program competes for the top AAU program in Minnesota year in and year out.  Chris is a classic example of you can’t judge a book by its cover.

To learn more about Chris and 43 Hoops, see 43hoops.com

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Posted Date:- June 17, 2014

Posted By:- Will McDonald

Posted in:- Basketball, Colleges & Universities, Community, Featured, High Schools, Sports


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