Walter Bond, who played three seasons in the NBA and started his own motivational speaking company, thought hosting the new Food Network show "Giving You the Business" was a perfect vehicle for him.
In the show, employees of a business are secretly entered into hidden-camera challenges that test their skills to handle difficult situations. Based on their actions, the company's CEO will give one a franchise. Tonight, four employees of Famous Famiglia are given a shot at running their own pizzeria.
Playbook talked with Bond for a few minutes about the show and his personal message.
How did you go from basketball to hosting this show?
"It's been a long journey. I played college basketball at the University of Minnesota. When I left, my coach, Clem Haskins, recommended that I become a motivational speaker. I started my business and 13 years later I'm still speaking around the country. My booking agent saw that a reality show needed a host and I shot the pilot. The rest is history. My motivational speaking has morphed into TV."
How have you been able to stay positive motivating people when there is so much negativity in the world?
"What we dwell on is what we dwell in. Sadly, 90 percent of information we receive these days is negative. Everyone is critical and everything is controversial. It's turning our world into a very violent and cynical world and we're all suspicious and don't trust anyone. I have three teenagers and as a parent I'm constantly battling them to not get mesmerized by Twitter, Facebook and all these videos. All this negativity is a destructive kind of behavior. I want to be a light in the midst of darkness."
And people are more worried about others getting ahead of themselves.
"If you want to be a doctor or a lawyer, stay focused and don't worry about the distractions. Who are you trying to be? Where do you want to go? Stay focused and stay serious. The sky is the limit. Our kids these days are worried about tattoos, earrings and who Beyonce is married to. They are not focused on where they are going."
I know the show helps one person gain a franchise, but what did you get?
"It was eye-opening. Honestly, the most exciting experience for me was working with these different franchise owners. They are successful people in their own right. They have made their dreams come true and made others' too. They are down to earth and genuine. This show is going to be positive. It's a rags to riches story but the ones who don't get the franchise still feel loyalty and thrilled to be part of the company. When you get good leadership, you feel protected, valued and validated. You don't want to leave."
With all you know now, what would you have done differently on the basketball court?
"The only dissatisfaction in professional sports is that when you're in your prime physically you're not in your prime emotionally. My college coach said by the time you really learn how to play basketball, you'll be too old. These athletes in the NBA and NFL are 19-, 20- and 21-year-olds. My 18-year-old son has a lot more growth to do as a person. If I could go back and replay my NBA career, I would have shown more maturity. I have more wisdom now. But all my success and all my failures made me who I am today. I've learned now how to execute the right way. I've learned from my own lessons."