An Interview with Art Morrison: Professional Basketball player-turned Entrepreneur

Less than a decade ago, New Jersey native Art Morrison III was just beginning his first year playing college basketball at Caldwell University, a tiny Division II school. He would have plenty of setbacks, from losing a year of eligibility to suffering a knee injury during his senior season, but would overcome them all to play professional basketball in Portugal. After returning to the United States, he decided to enter the business world and start Above Maximum Basketball, a league that provides training and skill development for those looking to play professionally. Art was kind enough to agree to an interview with Millennial Business Life on his new book Overcome: The Key to Unlocking your Superhuman and how he became successful. Here is what he had to say:

Q: “First, give our readers a general background about yourself.”

A: “I just wrote my first book this year, so I recently became an author. I just recently started considering myself an entrepreneur, as I am involved in a ton of endeavors. I do real estate investment and small business development, which ranges anywhere from marketing to brand and consulting. I also own a pretty large youth basketball organization in NJ, which is actually the first business I ever started and has now passed its third year.

In the last 18 months, I started taking everything I learned running that business and applying it to other business models for other people and myself. They are foolproof, so I’m kind of streamlining them and using them in my coaching consultant appliance, which is what the book is about. Before that, I was a professional basketball at Caldwell University, then Caldwell college at the time, a small Division 2 school in North Jersey.”

Q: “Why did you decide to write this book?”

A: “Here’s some backstory: I had a good sophomore and junior year, and I had torn my knee a couple games into my senior year, which was supposed to be a great year for me. I told people I was going to play overseas, and my coaches and everyone kind of laughed at it. I thought I could always get a job, I have charisma and I interview well. I legit did it and got a professional contract acting as my own agent and e-mailed over 1,000 teams , and I ended up getting a contract with that hurt knee. Afterwards, I decided to write a book about my experiences. I didn’t consider myself a good writer at first, so there was no motivation to write a book. But as I started telling my story and it started gaining traction, I decided to write the book and the feedback has been awesome.”

Q: “What message are you trying to promote with this book?”

A:“The book is self help/autobiography, but the help doesn’t come in as telling people to listen to my story because it will inspire them. The theme in front tells people in quotes to write their story, because I didn’t realize my story was great until I started writing it. I didn’t realize that I was special, because the full title is, “Overcome: The Key to Unlocking your Superhuman” and the key ended up being you actually writing your story. It took about 2-3 months to write the first two chapters, but then I sat down and knocked the rest of it out in about two weeks. If you read the book, there are literally blank pages after every chapter with questions that help you write your own story. By the end of the book, you literally have a book written yourself. One of the messages in there is resilience: We’re always thinking and planning about something. If you know something is a good idea, then just do it.”

Q: “What do you say to people who don’t want to take the time to read your entire book and just want to be told how to be successful in 30 seconds?”

A: (Laughs) "You should have let me know about these questions. What I’ll say is if you don't want to read my book that's fine, but you are special and ‘superhuman.’ Do whatever it takes to remind yourself of that, whether you have to put it as your background on your phone, or set an alarm every morning or talk to yourself in the mirror. All these are cliche things you are told your whole life. To motivate yourself, these are real things, so try these mechanisms in regards to anything. Keep reminding yourself that your special and count your small wins(these are big). We have such big goals and a big end game that we don't count the small wins. If your end game is to start a business, celebrate when you get your business cards. Celebrate when you started your LLC, celebrate when you sat down with friends and created a business plan, so start somewhere and count every small win along the way.”

Q: “Overall, what was the biggest accomplishment in your life?”

"A chapter in the book is called ‘Tunnel vision’. It talks about how my mother, and that none of her kids went to college. So when I got offered a scholarship with my mom there, she wanted me to take it. I never went to the school. But, I remember my mentality at the time, and didn't realize I provided my mother with an opportunity to go to school with a scholarship. I never celebrated that win, and even when I got a scholarship, I never had a signing party. I was the first to go to college in my family and did not even celebrate it. “

Q: “Who has been the biggest inspiration to you in your life?”

A: "It used to be Jay Z, Will Smith, and Kobe Bryant, (a tie). I liked the way they dressed, spoke, and handled themselves in the media, and their craft. My older brother really stepped up in my life and helped me get into college. In the last 5 years, it's been a distant mentorship. He is a verified instagram user, and launched the first SEC regulated black owned real estate crowdfund. He is my number one inspiration because of what he has done in his life.”

Q: “What advice would you give to our readers?”

A: "My advice would be: Don't take advice you don't like. But be open minded, not close minded.

Hello, World!

Matthew Engel