Excitement was in the air as a classroom in John M. Huntsman Hall reached capacity as more than 150 students gathered to hear the words of NBA Coach and former ESPN Analyst, Avery Johnson. The discussion began with Penn Sophomore, Christianne Johnson introducing her father to the audience. Avery Johnson then took the stage and gave the students background information on his own career and his progression from a 14th man on a 14 person team, a collegiate record holder, an award-winning NBA star, and ultimately an NBA Coach. Unfortunately, as many of us know, Avery Johnson's involvement with the NBA this season was not as he anticipated; however, he is optimistic that his participation with the NBA and basketball is far from over. Furthermore, Johnson continues to give back to the community with his organization, Just Say Yes, which gives inspirational presentations to high school and middle school students throughout the United States.

Austin Josiah then led the interview with Avery Johnson for the remainder of the session. Through the interviews, we learned more about Johnson's transition as a coach, his opinion on contract negotiations, the strenuous schedule of an NBA coach, and his views on basketball operations. The part of the discussion that students have taken away from the most was Johnson's three pieces of advice that concluded the session. Firstly, be competent about the field in which you are interested. He encourages students to study their field and develop a depth knowledge about their interests. Secondly, know the different levels of communication. Johnson believes that there are multiple forms of communication that each person must understand, such as their angry voice, disciplined voice, motivated voice, angry voice, and loving voice. Lastly, as a leader, it is more important to demonstrate a care for the people you are working with, then the end result of your work. He believes that if you show affection and respect for those that are collaborating with you, the ultimate result of your project will be greater. The session then concluded, and students took the time to ask individual questions and take pictures.

The Black Wharton Undergraduate Association would like to thank the Undergraduate Sports Business Club for hosting the event.


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