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Carr speaks to ELC athletes

By Staff | May 15, 2008

In eighth grade, Chris Carr believed his future success in life would come from his skill on a skateboard.

Now a former NBA star, his life obviously took a different turn.

He explained what happened to the parents, coaches and athletes and fans at the the Estherville Lincoln Central All-Sports Awards Night on Monday.

“I grew up in a basketball family,” he said. “My sister was the best player in the family.”

In the small town in Missouri in which Carr grew up, girls basketball wasn’t offered when his sister started high school.

“She played on the boys varsity as a freshman,” he said.

Girls basketball was begun the following year and after three years of play, she was first team all-state and had scored 2,500 points. Carr also had a couple brothers who played college basketball.

But as the youngest of 10 kids, he still thought skateboarding was his future.

One day the 5-3, 67-pound eighth-grader was skateboarding when the high school basketball coach called him over.

“If I played basketball, he promised I’d be successful as long as I did everything he said and never questioned him,” Carr said.

While Carr said he liked basketball and while it wasn’t as much fun as skateboarding, he was willing to give it a try.

As a freshman, Carr grew to 5-5 and 105 pounds.

He said he probably wasn’t real good, but “I had a work ethic and some ability.”

By his sophomore year, he grew to 5-10 and the team had a good season with a 13-12 record.

His junior year, he grew to 6-2 and the team posted a 24-4 record and were rated in the state, but missed out on a trip to the state tournament on the last second shot.

Watching the seniors crying after, he and his classmates were just looking forward to the next year.

“There were seven other guys that ate basketball and slept basketball,” he said.

His senior season, his team went 26-2, but lost to the same team on another last second shot, but basketball helped Carr get to college.

“Underclassmen, enjoy it while you can,” he said. “It goes all too fast–then you have to start paying bills and start a real life.”

To the seniors, he told them they now have the tools to start building their life.

“I never took the time to ask the questions–where do I want to be in five years, 10 years?” he said.

Carr’s picture of success was the lawyer on TV–clean-cut and wearing a suit.

For him, basketball got in the way.

After his junior year of college basketball, he decided it was time to head to the NBA, but he was nervous about telling his mother.

But when he told her, “Mama said she was waiting for the day to come and said, ‘I know you’re going to do well’.”

Carr wasn’t as certain, but he said his first experience with the Phoenix Suns was positive as he was teammates with Charles Barkley.

“Playing against the best players in the world and playing with the best teammates–what I learned how to work with them towards a common goal.

“If you’re going to do something embrace it and love it and it can be the best life experience,” he said. “If you don’t love, don’t do it because it will be a detriment to the team.

Throughout high school and college though, Carr said he “never allowed myself to be compromised on doing what was right.

Carr never drank alcohol or did drugs because No. 1–his mother; No. 2–I loved basketball so much it was motivation for me not to do that stuff.

“It’s harder to make the right choices than to fit in with the crowd,” he said. “It’s hard to stand against drugs and alcohol.

Final points made by Carr included telling the youth to ask themselves these questions:

n “What am I doing?

n “Where am I going?

n “How am I going to get there?

“High school doesn’t last forever,” he said.