The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Basketball star transforms pain into joy

By Malik Giles and Edgar Estrada

Filmmaker and former basketball player Michael Byars spoke to South Campus Feb. 25 to encourage students to rise from failure to find success in life. Photo courtesy of DeeDra Parrish

Far from home with a broken foot, no gallbladder and no penny to his name, the former high-flying basketball guard Mike Byars thought, “What am I doing?”

It was the worst month of his life, he said. The car he was living in was towed. Yet Byars said he knew he couldn’t quit his pursuit of being a filmmaker. “I had every reason to quit,”  Byars said.“My mother said, ’You better not quit. What are you going to do? Come home and start over?’ She was absolutely right.” 

Byars shared his story of how he ultimately became a documentary filmmaker at Celebrating Strides, TCC’s celebration of Black History Month, Feb. 25 on South Campus.

Byars played basketball at Dunbar High School in Fort Worth under the tutelage of Basketball Hall of Fame coach Robert Hughes.

He went on to play at the University of Miami and then embarked on an 11-year professional career that took him to countries such as France, Venezuela and Iran.

For Byars, none of his accomplishments were possible without the help of Hughes, who brought him the next level of thinking and achieving new possibilities.

“I knew my first film was going to be about coach Hughes,” Byars said. He took the lessons that his former coach taught him, which was to not give up, and he went to broadcasting school. 

Byars’ perseverance led him to complete a film detailing Hughes’ life called “5700 Ramey Ave: The Story of Robert Hughes.” 

South student Kameron Ray, who dislocated his shoulder during basketball practice in the high school playoffs, said he found Byars’ story motivational.

“It was just something I needed to hear,” Ray said. 

District director of inclusion and diversity Andrew Duffield helped plan the event and said he happened to buy some copies of the film from Byars. That encounter led to him to nominate Byars to keynote the event. 

“That sparked a relationship, and when we started planning the event, our committee wanted to do something community-based,” Duffield said. “I told them I got the perfect person. He’s right here in our backyard.”

Byars spoke about his approach to life, which he put into the acronym LAYUP. He said that when people refer to the term layup as something simple, but in basketball, it’s not that easy just like everyday journey.

“Limitless, ambition, yielding, unrelenting, progress,” he said.

Byars’ message to the audience was to never quit.

“When you believe in something and have a goal, just go after it,” he said. “If I had quit, I would probably have been back home doing something I didn’t want to do.”

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