Without a doubt, hearing and sharing the stories of the country’s top athletes have always been one of my favorite things to do. Through my dad’s job, my siblings and I have been fortunate enough to meet the best of the best international and local basketball players (including Kobe Bryant in his rookie year!) and hearing their stories often left me buzzing. For one thing, elite athletes are distinctively wired differently. To win at such a high level takes a lot of talent, skill, courage, discipline, and commitment and it’s always interesting to note that their stories, beliefs, and strategies often differ from each other.
I firmly believe that everyone has a story to tell and one particular one that striked me is that of a good friend’s, Shawn Weinstein. Shawn, who is currently a sports analyst for Fox Sports, used to play for the Philippine Basketball Association and while it maybe easy to dismiss it as another story of a Fil-Foreigner coming home to play for the motherland, his story is quite different.
For one thing, he entered the PBA with a mindset that is unusual for most athletes, “I set a timeline for myself because I wanted to go into business and the business side of sports early.” A natural born athlete, Shawn has years of high-level basketball experience under his belt, including a stint at the AAU National Championship, even playing alongside Trevor Ariza while also excelling in football and baseball, “I was actually better at baseball than I was at basketball and I was even recruited to play quarterback in high school but for some reason nothing could take me away from basketball.”
This coupled with his parents’ support led him to pursue his love for basketball by joining the Israeli Basketball Superleague and eventually playing in the PBA. Shawn played with the best of the best in the PBA but unlike most athletes he chose to transition out of it early because of the timeline he has previously mentioned. Despite it being an expected transition, he was quick to admit that the transition was not an easy one, “ Initially, the transition was quite difficult. You have a routine, goals you set, and a plan that prepares you to have a successful season and all of a sudden, it stops. You now have to find a way to channel the things you learned playing basketball into the next chapter of your life. And once I did that, the transition has been fantastic.”
Shawn, who graduated Magna Cum Laude from St. Edward’s University in Austin Texas then took what he learned from his first love into what he does now which includes being a TV and Events Host, a Sports Anchor for Fox Sports, and a basketball analyst. He’s also making good use of his International Business degree through the public relations firm he co-founded with celebrity publicist Lana Johnson. When asked if he misses basketball, he was quick to say, “Basketball is very integral in my life. I still play when I can and I have extreme interest in the psychological part of the game as well as body language. I find myself analyzing that aspect to a large extent.”
Shawn’s story taught me quite a few things over the period we’ve discussed the transitions in his life. For one thing, one’s story doesn’t have to go the conventional route in order for it to be considered a success and second, transitions unexpected or not, though never easy is always with a purpose.