Lakers speak with Hawaii athletes ahead of exhibition games
Click here to watch Ashley Moser's report.
On Friday, Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott, General Manager Mitch Kupchak and Assistant Coach Mark Madsen spoke to dozens of student athletes, parents and coaches.
Coach Scott says it's important to connect with his players, mentor them, rather than just coach. For Scott, it's not all Xs and Os.
"I also want to teach them, like you said, some life lessons. As far as what this league is all about and what life is all about in general," said Scott.
The Lakers are 16-time champions and hold the record for the NBA's longest winning streak.
Mark "Mad Dog" Madsen played for the Lakers before becoming an assistant coach. He talked about the humiliation of missing two critical free throws in one game, then rallying to contribute to championship teams. That, he says, is a lot like life.
"Sports is a game that goes up and down and if something bad happens, we can always bounce back," said Madsen.
It was a message that struck a cord with Waimea High soccer player and cross country runner Julia Hirano. She was one of nine local athletes awarded the Triple Impact scholarship during the event. She says Madsen's story of triumph is inspirational.
"Even though he went through that struggle, he was able to overcome that and become the person he is today. I really took what he said into consideration because in my sports career, I definitely miss my fair share of penalty kicks and things like that too, so knowing that person with a professional career, someone like that, it really is encouraging and motivates me to continue to work harder for the future," said Hirano.
Madsen says he also hopes to inspire the coaches by reminding them how much of an impact they have on young people.
"What are the messages we are communicating? What's the type of positive encouragement that we are giving to young people? And I think that something just being in this group gets us all thinking a little bit about," said Madsen.
The Lakers will play the Utah Jazz in two exhibition games this Sunday and Tuesday at the Stan Sheriff Center.