LANARD COPELAND - From Rejection to Resilience

Lanard Copeland NBL wearing stitch untitled clothing on basketball court

Early Beginnings in Atlanta

Lanard Copeland's story begins in the bustling neighbourhoods of Atlanta, Georgia. A young boy with an insatiable love for sports, Copeland dabbled in everything from football to skateboarding. He reminisces about those early days, highlighting how riding a skateboard up and down a hill near his house might have unconsciously honed his jumping skills, a talent that would later define his basketball career.

Growing up in a family of athletes, Copeland was surrounded by trophies and medals from his siblings' achievements. This environment sparked a desire in him to excel and earn his own accolades. Despite his passion, his initial attempts to break into basketball during his high school years were met with disappointment. “I got cut from the basketball team twice,” he recalls, a fact that fueled his determination rather than discouraging him.

The Turning Point

Copeland's path took a dramatic turn after high school. Rejecting the prospect of a mundane job, he enrolled at Georgia State University. Fate intervened when he stumbled upon a tryout notice. Despite past rejections, he gave it another shot and secured a spot on the team, earning a four-year scholarship. This moment marked the beginning of a storied career.

Overcoming Struggles

Reflecting on his journey, Copeland doesn't dwell on struggles but instead on the motivation they provided. Being cut from the high school team was a significant blow, but it only made him more determined. “I played every day, not just working on my game but truly loving the sport,” he says. This relentless practice paid off, proving that persistence is key to overcoming setbacks.

The Influence of Family

Throughout his career, Copeland credits his family, particularly his older brother, for his success. His brother’s unwavering belief in his abilities provided the encouragement he needed during difficult times. This familial support was instrumental in shaping his career and helping him maintain a positive outlook.

Achieving Greatness

Copeland's career is marked by numerous achievements, but making it to the Hall of Fame stands out as a defining moment. “Standing in front of a crowd, with every team in Melbourne present, was nerve-wracking but incredibly validating,” he shares. This honor was not just a testament to his skill but also to his hard work and dedication.

Staying Grounded

In an industry where arrogance can easily creep in, Copeland emphasises the importance of humility. He believes in staying grounded and remembers the less fortunate to keep himself in check. “Seeing someone with no shoes reminds you of the reality beyond the fame and success,” he notes.

The Philosophy of Hard Work

Lanard Copeland lives by the motto “Not for the faint-hearted,” a slogan that resonates deeply with his approach to life and basketball. He stresses the importance of putting in the effort, whether it’s in sports or any other field. “If you want to be great, you have to put in the time and work,” he advises.

The Power of Encouragement

Today, as a coach and mentor, Copeland focuses on encouraging young athletes. He believes that positive reinforcement can significantly impact a young person’s life, both on and off the court. “It’s all about encouragement,” he says, highlighting the contrast between the harsh coaching styles of the past and his current philosophy.

Transitioning to New Ventures

Post-retirement, Copeland has embraced various roles, from coaching to media work with ESPN and commentary for NBL games. His passion for the sport continues to drive him, and he remains open to new opportunities. “You never know what’s going to happen, so it’s important to stay adaptable and open-minded,” he advises.

Life Beyond Basketball

If not for basketball, Copeland imagines himself in a completely different field, possibly as a professional golfer. His love for the game reflects his belief in constant self-improvement and the joy of taking on new challenges.

A Legacy of Kindness and Humility

Looking back, Lanard Copeland hopes to leave a legacy of kindness and humility. “Be kind to your fellow man, stay humble, and enjoy life,” he says, a simple yet profound philosophy that has guided him throughout his journey.

Lanard Copeland’s story is a powerful reminder that success comes from persistence, hard work, and the support of loved ones. Whether you’re aspiring to achieve greatness in sports or any other field, his journey offers valuable lessons on resilience, humility, and the power of encouragement.