Featuring Retired NBA Athlete Jerrod Mustaf – By Chrystal Allen-O’Jon
Q&A with Retired NBA Athlete Jerrod Mustaf, Director of Basketball US Elite Basketball LLC – 12138 Central Avenue, Suite 390 Mitchellville, Maryland 20721, http://jerrodmustaf.com/index.cfm.
Who inspired you as a young athlete?
As a young athlete I was inspired by Muhammad Ali. He was my greatest sports hero and I fell in love with his story. I always wanted to stand for a greater cause than myself and to use my platform as an athlete to make a difference in the community and world. I didn’t fully understand what the word sacrifice meant until I learned who Muhammad Ali was.
Do you think attitude is a factor in winning? Why?
You definitely have to have a confident attitude to win. There are a lot of talented players in every sport, but they may not have the confidence to be a “playmaker” when the game is on the line. All of the great ones have some intangible that separates them from others. And the beauty about sports is that it mirrors life- you can apply the skills acquired in sports to the workplace and in life. Any young athlete should set goals to win on the court/field, in the classroom and in life!
What sacrifices did you find the hardest to make your career in sports?
I knew that my time with friends and family would be limited if I wanted to pursue my goals in sports. My freedom to own my personal space in the public had to be sacrificed too. I had to understand that fans of my current team or franchise would encroach on my personal space at dinner, the movies, while shopping, etc., but that was a sacrifice that all professional athletes had to make. I had to sacrifice new friendships because it would be difficult to make new friends and relationships without feeling compromised due to my status as a professional athlete. And the earliest sacrifice was my personal time as a teenager who needed hours of training to develop my talent. I had to sacrifice time at the beach in the summer and socializing with friends because I needed to be locked in a gym training.
Do you think being a sportsperson has changed your life?
Playing sports has afforded me an opportunity to see the world and it has broadened my global perspective.
What are your current projects?
I still direct my nonprofit, www.takechargeprogram.org . I also started a new basketball platform, www.uselitebasketball.com. I founded another project in my hometown this past summer, www.columbuscountylegends.com, I also published my first book in 2021, www.becomingpops.com.