Back to School Gerald Wallace

Entrepreneurial Studies
Shawn Marion was a member of the Phoenix Suns he was a 20ppg scorer, played a large offensive role and was an All-Star. When Marion was a member of the NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks in 2011 he scored only 12.5ppg, had a smaller offensive burden and was considered a role player, but his value increased. Reason being, Marion became a defensive stopper and great gap filler. He didn’t need plays ran for him and manufactured points in his own athletic and crazy way. Wallace is going to find himself in a similar position this season. Surrounded by the most talented (specifically offensive) roster in his career, Wallace will be called upon to do the defensive heavy lifting, the dirty work and be fluid enough to contribute in all facets of the game. Like an entrepreneur often does, Wallace will find himself having to wear multiple different hats throughout the course of a game. In some smaller lineups he’ll need to be a primary rebounder, while other times he’s be called upon to be a defensive stopper. Entrepreneurs will learn in this class the ability to manage multiple aspects of a business that will allow them to fulfill whatever job is necessary at that particular moment and I envision Wallace’s role to be similar to that this season.

Think of Shawn Marion during the Dallas Maverick’s championship season. As a member of the Phoenix Suns, Marion was once an All-Star and a major factor in their offense. But, on a more talented Dallas Mavericks team and in a different phase of his career, Marion became sort of a “gap-filler.” He didn’t need plays ran for him and was able to manufacture points in his own unique way. This is something Wallace can benefit from learning.

Pre-Reading Less athleticism, more court feel/savvy
As Gerald Wallace’s freakish athleticism continues to wane, he’ll no longer be able to rely on simply out running, jumping, diving or hustling his opponent because he’ll soon be slower and more grounded than most of his counterparts. So, in order to remain effective Wallace is going to need re-invent the ways he can be productive on a basketball court, relying less on athleticism and more on veteran-savvy and craft. What better way to begin the reinvention process than to study from a master of reinvention himself, Will Smith.

Smith started his career in show business as a young rapper, before becoming goofy comedic actor in Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to now one of the marketable movie stars of all-time. On Fresh Prince, Smith was all energy and mostly hit the same comedic beats. But, as his career evolved, so did Smith’s acting chops and the results speak for itself. Wallace needs to now phase into this evolvement of his career and start honing in on the skills that can keep him effective no matter where his athleticism falls to. Things like: shooting, ball-handling, passing are skills that Wallace needs to improve on.

Elective: Media Relations 101
A media relations course would do go a long with Wallace this season as he is going to have to get adept at answering difficult questions. Sure, the focus of Nets team success is going to rest squarely on the shoulders of Deron Williams (as it should), but you better believe that with any Nets loss in which Wallace’s performance is below standard, his $40 million contract and the fact that he was traded for a lottery pick is going to come into question.
A media relations course will help Wallace diffuse those flames in a professional manner while also dealing with the issues of his job that he can control, such as on court production.
Also, for a reserved individual like Wallace is, getting better at dealing with the media could serve him and his “brand” well, especially with the heightened appeal and attention that the Nets will have this season as a result of the Brooklyn affect.

Student Notes
As a student, Wallace is entering a different chapter in his career. Having played for 10 seasons, but never for a team that could have been considered a contender, Wallace will get his first chance at making a significant impact on a team playing meaningful games. He’ll have to do this while accepting a diminished role as well as play at a level that justifies the $40 million he was given this off-season. Making plays without the ball has been a signature attribute for Wallace most of his career, but this it will need to be his bread and butter.