Pat Williams is a basketball hall-of-famer, currently serving as co-founder and senior vice president of the National Basketball Asssociation’s (NBA) Orlando Magic. Williams spent seven years playing professional baseball as a minor league catcher with the Philadelphia Phillies, and later worked in the front office. He also served seven years in the United States Army.
Pat Williams is the co-founder and senior vice president for the National Basketball Association’s Orlando Magic.
Williams has been an integral part of the NBA, including bringing the league to Orlando. In 2012 he received the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Williams and his wife, Ruth, are the parents of 19 children, including 14 adopted from four nations.
He is one of America’s top motivational speakers and the author of 100 books, including his most recent title highlighting the secrets to peak performers, called Extreme Winning.
Q: Your new book, Extreme Winning, is number 100 – quite an accomplishment! I still have your book Making Magic from the mid-90s.
A: Yes that was one of the early books I wrote. It just continues; ideas come, that’s been going on now for over 40 years. There are still more books in the pipeline!
I love the title of your new book. The importance of competing and winning in life seems to have been lost to this generation.
Life is competition, Roman. When you think about it, everything in America is about competition. We’re competing to get into college; we’re competing for jobs; we’re competing for girlfriends or boyfriends. Of course the sports world is built around competition. People today need to understand that nothing’s going to be handed to them. You have to stick your nose in there every day and compete hard. That’s when things pay off in this society.
Q: What was your motivation for writing this book?
A: I’ve been in sports for well over 50 years. In that period of time, I have been involved in professional baseball and professional basketball. I have been able to observe and watch very closely these incredible athletes. There are so many I have such high regard for. What I’ve noticed is they are consumed by winning. I like to call it extreme winning. As I studied them closer over the decades, I came away convinced that all winners have 12 specific qualities. They’re all to the extreme level.
Q: How is the book broken down in sharing the different character traits?
A: We take each of those 12 traits and expand them, share some personal stories and then some challenges. We want people to come away encouraged that they can apply some of these principles of their own life. The foreword was written by my friend, the San Francisco Giants’ manager, Bruce Bochy, an extreme winner.
Q: Your expertise has been in basketball and baseball for many years. Can you give us examples from the book?
A: In basketball, we write a lot about Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, and baseball – Derek Jeter. Those three come to mind.
When you look at these and others, it starts with a dream. There is a chapter on dreams. Somewhere in their life a dream hit them that carries to this day. We do a chapter on preparation, focus and setting goals – characteristics that all of us can implement in our lives.
Q: Pat, your faith in God is so important. I know that is key to all of your writing.
A: Well, I think that’s the centerpiece, Roman. What you discover is you come face-to-face with the reality that there is a God who loves us – loves each one of us – and has a plan and purpose for life. I think that’s really the beginning of life.
Faith gives us a center of balance in life – gives us an awareness that we’re not alone down here. When we come to know Jesus in a personal way, and we accept him, we experience the whole package. We know we’re forgiven. We have a sense of peace in our hearts. I think we can really attack life. Knowing God’s on our side and He cares – that was the key point, the turning point in my life.
Q: What are some key characteristics about winners that separates them from the average person?
A: Passion, enthusiasm, energy and hard work – it’s pretty basic stuff, Roman. The extreme winners just care more; they’re hungrier, they hustle more. They may have extreme individual skills, but it doesn’t come together for them unless they can do it as a team – teamwork – and that’s true of all of us. That’s kind of the premise of the book.
Q: These are life skills and character traits that we should be teaching the next generation. They need it desperately. Why do you think so many of our schools have moved away from life training and life skills?
A: Roman, that’s a good question. We need it. I have observed that many of those basic character qualities like honesty, integrity, responsibility and hard work are not being taught at home. School teachers, coaches and youth workers, in many cases, are having to teach character – principles that once were taught at home.
I think this is a big issue in our country that needs to be addressed. Hopefully we can make some progress in the years ahead.
Visit PatWilliams.com and follow him on Twitter: @OrlandoMagicPat. Extreme Winning is available at Amazon.com.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Roman Gabriel III is an evangelist and motivational speaker. Visit the Faith Family Sports website: fspn.net. Hear his Sold Out Sports Talk Radio program on American Family Radio in 200 cities nationally or streaming live at afr.net. Visit his website: soldouttv.com; Facebook: Roman Gabriel III; connect on Twitter: @romangabriel3rd. Contact at (910) 431-6483 or email: [email protected].)