NBA All Star Detlef Schrempf on Success, Community, and his cameo in Parks & Recreation

NBA All Star Detlef Schrempf on Success, Community, and his cameo in Parks & Recreation


– Hey everybody, what’s up? Welcome to another episode
of the Chase Jarvis Live show here on Creative Live. You know this show. This is where I bring on awesome humans, sit down, and share their career arcs or stories with the goal of helping you live your dreams. And today is a doozy of an episode because we’re going
all the way to the NBA. My guest is a two-time Olympian, a three-time NBA All-Star. His name is Detlef Schrempf. And I’m happy to have you
here on the show, bud. (upbeat music) (applause) They love you! – Thanks, Chase, appreciate it. – Thank you so much for being here. So what was the show? You were on a show, not Family Ties but- – Oh, Park and Rec. – Park and Rec, good start. (laughing) So I wanna tell you a funny story, and I’m gonna ask you about this. So we have a lot of ground to cover when I talk about peak
performance, Olympics, NBA All-Star, transitioning out of that into another career what it’s
like to be rich and famous and how you stay humble and hardworking. We’re gonna cover a lot of ground. But I wanna start off with a funny story. Which is you were at my birthday party a couple of weeks ago. You met my partner Mack. I was texting him, hey, I gotta get back to Seattle because I got a couple of shows to film tomorrow. He’s like, who are you filming? And I said I’m filming with Detlef. And he’s like, I’m watching
Parks and Rec right now as a rerun and you were on the screen. So how does an NBA All-Star, retired NBA All-Star
end up on Parks and Rec? – Well, first I thought they went after me because I had some talent, but that was not the case. As you might know, the show
plays in Pawnee, Indiana. – Yes. – And I played in Indiana
for almost five years. – With the Pacers? – Well, the Indiana Pacers, yes, correct. And they basically had their first season and they had some difficulties signing on for the next season. So their last episode was a telethon. And one of their writers
thought wouldn’t it be great to get an athlete in
there, an Indiana Pacer or a Colt or whatever that
does charitable stuff, and then we can promote that. So I think they literally just searched for former Pacer that
does charitable stuff, found my phone number,
and sent us an email to our foundation office. And they go, they want you on a TV show. And I go for what? And they literally had me just come in and give them a check. They were doing a telethon. I can’t remember what it was for. But I would give then a
check; hey, I’m donating. And so I told them I’d do it, but the check would
have to be really large. – Because I’m six foot,
ten we need an appropriate- – Amy Poehler would have to
say Detlef Schrempf Foundation. So maybe we could benefit from it, right. And so yeah, go to LA to film this and thought I just literally
would be presenting a check. And they kept writing me into more scenes. So it was really odd, because I had, first, no words. And then I had to learn stuff. And then I was doing different stuff. And then the next three years they kept bringing me back
for the final episodes. And then I thought maybe
I had something going on, but it didn’t work out that way. – Well, there’s so many things I think, that they thought of you,
it’s not an accident. This is not just someone with
a heartbeat and a foundation. You have reputation of just being a star on so many different qualities. And one of the things that I feel like is, I don’t know if it’s absent, but there’s a humility that
you brought to the game which I find the audience that
listens and watches the show is largely creators and entrepreneurs, but we try and have top performers
on from all disciplines. I think there’s a lot of
lessons to be learned from that. I just wanna circle back one more time on the Parks and Rec. I find it interesting
that I know about that, and Mack, my partner, we’re in our 40s. And Mack’s kids are also like, wait, you gotta picture
with Detlef Schrempf? Because they know that show. So you’ve done a nice job
of transcending pop culture for what it’s worth. And ending there. So German born? – Yeah. – Back when it was West Germany? – Right. – So what was it like to
grow up in that dynamic and how did you find sport? Was that an outlet for you? And just give us a
little bit of back story on your childhood and
how you found your way into basketball besides from
being naturally a tall human. – Yeah, well that happened
late in life actually, late in my years because I
was a total late bloomer. I grew up like most German
boys did, played soccer. As soon as you can walk you
start kicking a ball around. So you join the local, the nearest football club because you don’t
really play it in schools. It’s all through clubs. And that’s how I grew up. And I was always the kid that
I thought didn’t quite fit in. I was very skinny, late
bloomer, bleached blond. Got to 11, 12 years old and those guys that already have a mustache
and I’m the skinny kid. And by accident actually
I fell into basketball. I changed schools because I wanted to get into teaching sports basically. I wanted to pursue that avenue. And the school I was at didn’t have it, so I changed schools, which
was a few miles further away. And they had a PE teacher who went to UCLA and played basketball with Bill Walton. So he introduced me to
basketball in the school and even though I was not very good, I enjoyed it because it
was a different challenge. – Yeah. – And then within basically three years I was one of the best players
in Germany in my age group. And I always tell people
when you’re at that level not just in sports, but in business, too, you’re not normal; you’re not. – Yeah. – Because the things you
do, normal people don’t do. So you either look at yourself
and don’t like yourself or you embrace it. And I totally embraced it. I lived basketball 24-7. I practiced and played
for three different teams, three different age groups. As a 14-year-old I
played on a man’s league. I didn’t have a social life, that was it. And it worked out. – I think that’s fascinating
that there is an all-in and recognizing that if
you have so much passion for something, A, it’s okay
to lean into that passion and, B, what you’re gravitating
towards is your tribe. These are your people, and you wanna be around basketball and the sport. And you can play that year-round, and the same is true if
you’re a photographer, a designer, you wanna build a business. I think there’s culturally, I feel like there resistance. So did you feel like, well, you said you’re not normal. – Yeah. – So that’s where the word and the concept of resistance comes in. You’re like, oh gosh,
none of my friends are this into basketball. Or none of my friends
wanna start businesses or go off and be a creator
or an entrepreneur. So did you feel like you had to reconcile with that at all or were
you confident enough? Just talk to me about
was there any conflict or was it just natural for you? – Well, I think it was a process. Because I think as a teenager, we all wanna be accepted. And I struggled for that for a long time. Because I was okay at soccer, but I wasn’t part of the core group. I was kinda the outsider. School, I was an okay student
but I wasn’t here or there. Socially I was getting
in trouble doing stuff and hanging out and skipping
school and things like that. But I wasn’t part of the core group. I was kinda the hang on. – Yeah. – So basketball was the first
time where I had success. All of a sudden people
are looking at me going, wow, he’s pretty good. And I think with that, when
you’re good at something and you are recognized for it and people acknowledge it, all of a sudden your
confidence level goes up. – Yeah. – And that’s another discussion because then you can go
a little bit over the top where confidence turns into arrogance. And pro athletes have
a tendency to go there. (laughing) So for me that was very important because I was searching for
something for a long time. And then basketball came along, and I’m good, you know. And so it just went from there. – So let’s talk about the
confidence going into arrogance. I think you did a nice job of realizing when you’re good at something, whether you’re good or you love something, I think in both those situations, I’m gonna put a little few
words in your mouth here, just like lean into
the thing that you love or that you’re good at. – Yeah. – These concentric or
rather overlapping circles like what you’re talented
at, what you love, and what you feel like
you can make a living and a life doing or at least pursue until something else comes along. But if we change the conversation to what you just alluded to and you go back to my opening point, I can’t even remember how
long we’ve been friends. We’ll try and get back to
that story in a second. But the humility with which you even approach the story of Parks and Rec, it’s like your humility is obvious. The foundation that you have in your name is an incredible foundation. And I know you as an entrepreneur
and a business person now. Is that humility something
that was born into you, bred into you or built or
did you learn the hard way and have to realize that
you weren’t all that and that we’re all just putting
our pants on the same way? What was your personal arc, and then just talk about
confidence and arrogance in pro sports or superstars in general. – Yeah, it’s complex. Well, I think first of all I
have to give my parents credit to some degree, especially my mom for keeping me in line. And I got stepped on more
than I stepped on early on, so I was never one that was very confident until I succeeded in basketball. And definitely my early years of success I was a typical athlete
because I think we go through stages in life. You start out as me, myself, and I, right. And as a teenager it’s all about me. I want more; I want this;
I complain about that. And continues and for pro athletes I think that stage sometimes
goes a little longer. Because we want more. We’re always asking for more
playing time, more money, more exposure, more of a contract, more marketing deals. Why am I not featured? Because we’re bred to succeed. – And to compete. – Yeah, you wanna compete
and I wanna be known for it. And it goes back to I
wanna be acknowledged. – Yeah, it’s interesting how
those things as an adult, they’re the same things we
want as a seventh grader. – Exactly, yeah, you wanna
have that pat on the back. And I think for most people
that wanna be successful. And I don’t know where it changed for me. I tell the young guys all the time remember the first few
years and you’re sitting in a room and you meet
the CEO of a company or some executive or some billionaire. And it would literally
be like, yeah, Chase, nice to meet you. I turn around and I’ve
already forgotten your name. Because I didn’t care; I had shutters on. It was about myself and the game. I was like whatever. And so I say, guys, you’re
gonna have opportunities to meet people that
will build relationships that will help you throughout your life. And I don’t know where it changed for me. I think once you get married, have kids, other things become more important. – Yeah. – But it was a slow process. – Perspective, right. – Yeah, exactly. It’s not just about the game and yourself. And then we found out early on that our youngest had some special needs. So your life changes because you try and figure out how to navigate around that and what are the best avenues and services and all of that. And there you are again. And then you kind of get to the point where you retire from basketball and you have to make a decision. Because life changes. And people don’t understand
that never really performed in front of people. You can never duplicate those moments. Say you make a winning shot
or you miss a winning shot in front of 20,000 people
and millions on TV. It’s a playoff game and
he might get knocked out or you advance. The emotional roller
coaster, the adrenaline, the high and the low,
you just can’t duplicate. And so a lot of guys struggle with that. – Yeah, when you leave that, both the figurative and the literal arena. You’re in the arena- – And it’s over. And so where do you get that? And if you still search for
that you run into some issues. Especially when you still
think of yourself so highly. (laughing) So I don’t know, I think
I was always surrounded with good friends and good neighbors that helped me along the process. But it was the, dude, you
just played basketball. What else do you do? You look good on TV, and 20 years from now
nobody will remember. – That you looked good on TV 20 years ago. – Exactly. – So I think I’m gonna
extract some of those things and what I heard is like
friends and neighbors and mentors and I’m gonna put
the word community out there. So how important, even
as a professional athlete when you’re wildly catered
to and you have agents and trainers and all of
the infrastructure is there to take care of you and
make sure you succeed, how important was community
as an elite athlete? – Well, all of it is important I think. I miss the trainers especially. When you get older. I played soccer and I’d kick the ball and I think I pulled my quad. I’m going, what the heck? So back then that’d be a week. Because you get treatment
three times a day. You get a massage; you get
ice; your ultrasounding. I’m ready to go. It’s been a month now. – Still gimping around. – Yeah, I miss that, but such is life. I think I was fortunate. I was fortunate. We live in, as you know, Seattle. We live in an incredible community that is to me, one, is very giving, very embracing to a certain point. And if you pick the right community with the right neighbors,
the right families, it’s quite amazing. And I was fortunate. We had great neighbors. All our kids grew up together. We barbecue; we go to
the club, to the pool, hang out with the kids. We’re sitting on bleachers every weekend for our sporting events. And you’re sitting with executives, tech guys, with real estate guys. And you always talk about stuff. And I think that helped my process of trying to figure out
what I do after basketball. So let’s go back into basketball. How much is team sport versus snowboarding or any other numerous sports we could name that are more individual. But how much of a community was your team? How important was team
building, was comradery, were partners in what you were doing as an elite athlete? How important was that or did you still think of it because of the ego and the requirement to be mindset is so critical
as a professional athlete? Talk to me about the
balance of those two things. How important was the team or was it all about the individual and what’s the balance there? – Well, I think you still
have to do your individual things to get ready for what you need to do as a player, so that
means summer programs. You’re lifting weights;
you’re working out. You’re doing sprints;
you’re running stairs. All those things
physically and mentally too that you have to get yourself
ready for the season. But then once that starts or prior to it when you actually play
and practice as a team, I’ve been on some pretty good teams. But I’ve also been on
some very mediocre teams. And it’s pretty easy to tell the teams that work together, succeed, and the teams that have
talent but do not succeed. – What are the characteristics of either? What does it feel like to be on? – One, everyone has to
be extremely competitive. But you’re also willing to compromise. And so you have to have
a good mix of stars and role players that
are willing to compromise and maybe some stars that are willing to take a step back. If you don’t have that,
people are just going to be competing against each
other to get more points or shoot the ball more
or get more attention. And it kinda starts from the top down. If you have good leadership, ownership, general manager, coaches, it
filters down to the players. And if you have some
veterans that take the lead, it really helps. – Well, let’s go back to
the individual part of that. Because I think most people
when you throw that question at them it’s sort of about team. I like that you peppered
in there that you have almost a responsibility, an obligation to take care of yourself,
to be mentally strong, to be a team player. And you talked about the preparation. How important was the preparation stuff, the mindset and all the
training that you did? Again, for the folks at home, this is largely people who are deciding to build businesses and create, and what I try and advocate is that you play a role in the community. And if you’re a photographer, it’s your job to help grow and establish and have relationships and help the photography community,
the design community, the entrepreneurship community. But if you wake up everyday, you’re gonna have to
take care of yourself. You wake up everyday
and you’re individually not sound and fit, then it’s hard to be a good member of a community. Talk to me about did you
feel like it was the same way in pro sports; is it
something we can compare? – Yes, to a certain degree. Because I think some
of it is more physical. And nowadays I think you
get more services around it. There’s a big mental approach. There’s actually more planning about the physical aspect too. Back then I just went
into the gym every day and I tried to practice
harder than the day before. Anyway, now it’s pretty much proven that’s not the way to go. Eventually you’re gonna
crash and burn out. But there wasn’t much mental. I think one thing that
really helped me early on in my career was that I
actually ran into a life coach who gave me some guidelines
and some direction, which helped me tremendously. But that was unheard of back then. But I think for most of us, and thinking back when I played, not many of us did it,
but we prepared ourselves whatever way we thought was right. And then we came together and started the process as a team. Later on in my years we had more of a summer workout program together. You can go in early with a team and there be a trainer and strength coach and everyone working with you,
once the NBA grew to that. But before, you were on your own. Now how do you pass that on? How do you give it back? For me it was doing basketball camps through the foundation, not just in the US, but we
did some all over the world trying to spread the
word of, hey, this is how we grow together, this
is what we give back. Was it very well organized as far as thinking and
how to start that process, I think we just stumbled
into it and grew from there. – Yeah. – But that was a long time ago. (laughing) – If you’re listening to the podcast you’re looking at a tan,
super-fit, specimen here and he talks about being retired. And you shrank from 6’10” to 6’9″? – Yes, the clothes fit better. (laughing) – More stuff I can wear now. So let’s talk a little bit about, part of what this show’s about is about putting on display the habits and the mentality of peak performers. You’ve played in two Olympics and you’ve been an NBA
All-Star three times. In the era of Jordan’s
prime, doing the Sonics, we’re super hyped yourself and Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton, it was a really,
really cool team to watch. It was an important,
interesting trajectory for the NBA at that time. I know less about your Olympic stuff. But give me some characteristics. I think you’ve done a
nice job of downplaying. There wasn’t a lot there for us. But it doesn’t just happen. You don’t just stumble into
being a two-time Olympian and three-time All-Star. So what are some of the characteristics, again, and I’m sort of
modeling for the folks at home, was it secret sauce?
Was it just hard work? Was it a combination
of all of these things? Just tell me a little bit of the story. These things don’t just
happen on accident. And I know you’re so damn humble. We need to hear the real- – When I was on the
path up I was not nice. I think to a certain degree you
have to have an edge to you. And you’ve gotta find what drives you. And I think what drove me was insecurity of, one, not fitting in, not making it, not staying there. Every year I thought
somebody was gonna come in and take my job. And true or not, it’s what drove me. So I was not normal, and
I’ve heard that many times. Nobody does that. And I took pride in it
because even in college they tried to ban me from the gyms because I was playing all over the city during basketball season
and different times. Day offer game or something. And probably not good. But it was that whatever drove me. One, I loved to play, and two, I’ve had this insecurity that
if I don’t put in more work than everybody else,
somebody would take my job. – Yeah, I think that’s
actually a characteristic of having sat down with
hundreds of people on the show, the drive and the
unwillingness to be comfortable with your position in life,
either out of fear or love. That’s a really common trait. So I think, A, you have validated that. I wanna go back to
other people telling you that you are weird or
that you didn’t fit in or that you’re different. Misunderstood, I call on Bezos’ quote because he’s just a
couple blocks away here. And that is to be successful, you have to be willing to be misunderstood for long periods of time. And so can you give us a
little more depth or color around when people would tell you that you’d be different and how did that, you said for a second there it
was a point of pride for you. So talk about that and then
in what ways specifically would you feel like you were
different than your peers and did you see that as
a weakness or a strength and just talk about that. – I acknowledged it as
being different maybe and not fitting in well
to a certain degree. But it helped me be successful
in what I needed to do. So whether it was, I was one of the first, when I got drafted in Dallas the team didn’t even have a weight room. Think about that. – Wow! – Yeah, and I came from the
University of Washington and we had a weight program. And I was pretty advanced. I worked with a strength coach there because I was so skinny
coming out of high school. – You had to put some meat on these bones. – Yeah, so I was in the
weight room all the time. So I get drafted by a
team, a professional team, that pays you money that
didn’t have a weight room. So I would go to the North
Dallas Athletic Club, which is like a mile away
every day after practice and lift weights. And word got around
town, this dude is weird. Why is he lifting weights? Basketball players don’t
need to lift weights. So I heard it from that or
I heard it from teammates or even summertime I’d get a couple guys to work out with me and a
lot of times I wear them out. Because it was just me,
another this, another game, another this. And there was always competitive. My wife said, “You didn’t have
much of a light bone in you.” And I was just very competitive. – Do you think that that’s ultimately was a differentiator for
you, a path to success? – Well, I think you gotta find
whatever helps you succeed and whatever you want to accomplish. And I didn’t offend people. I wasn’t mean to them. I just was on my own on that path. And sometimes people came,
but then they couldn’t hang or whatever you wanna call it. They would kinda get tired of me because we’re going again tomorrow. It’s Sunday; what else
are you gonna do, right? I got better at it later on in life but at the time it
helped me be successful. – So what about did you find that for every person who’s been
on Creative Live before, someone I admire and respect,
an artist named James Victory. James says what made you
weird and quirky as a kid is your biggest strength as a grown up. And if you can find a
way to lean in to that. And it sounds like there’s
a pattern of acknowledging that you were different and
that you needed to out-work, out-play, and either through,
again, love of the game or fear of being replaced, you were willing to work really hard. Were there people that you felt like clearly you were an outlier
in your level of work ethic. But were there people for whom didn’t work and were just naturally talented, and what did the career arc
of those people look like or behind the scenes? Because you know Michael Jordan. Did he have that same sort of fever and desire to train and
is that a characteristic, hard work, or are there just
a cross-section of people who are lazy and don’t care in the NBA or on your Olympic team
for your previous Olympics? – Well, I struggled with that earlier. When I was younger and
guys would come every year and they would have a lot of talent or guys I played with for years that had a lot of talent
but they just got by with what they had. Because I always said, man, you never know how good you can be. And they go, “I’m pretty good.” And for them it worked. And for others who found their spot and didn’t really want more. So I struggled with that almost to the point of I
didn’t really respect the guys. And later on I go, everyone their own. Because he’s doing what
he’s comfortable doing and he’s happy where he is. And I was like, man, you
could be All-Star every year but you never will be
because you’re not willing to take that extra step. And then others who didn’t
wanna take that other step. Because not everybody wants
to take that last shot or play in the last two minutes of a game or have that responsibility
of having to perform every night because
now you’re an All-Star, you gotta average this
and do this and that. So it took me a while to not forgive, more like, hey, you are who you are and you do your thing, I’ll do my thing. – Yeah, but self-awareness
is a very powerful thing. And knowing that that
was maybe your advantage. I like to say don’t just
be better, be different. And it sound like at some point
maybe this is just maturing. You get comfortable with who you are. Was that an active process for you or did you feel like you just
settled into who you were? – No, like I said, it’s a process. It didn’t happen overnight and it took input from a lot of people, friends and neighbors and
people keeping you humble and telling you that’s stupid. My wife did a really good job with that. (laughing) – They have a way. – Yeah, but it was a slow process. I was German stubborn as can be. I had to run into a wall a
few times to figure it out. – You look good for running
into a wall a couple of times. (laughing) So I want a small transition. Actually maybe put a
pin there for a second and go back before we transition. I was on a flight on Tuesday. In the seat back is game six, Seattle versus Chicago of the NBA finals. – Sad, we lost. (laughing) – You’re going to the punchline. What’s it like to, as you said, to take game-winning
shots or game-losing shots to be at the pinnacle of a game, and as I mentioned earlier you and Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton playing against Scottie
Pippen and Michael Jordan? Is there a nostalgic place
that now you look back on that? What’s it like to play at that level? Because there’s a lot of
people I think at home that wherever they are in their career or their pursuit of their passion, I think there’s always a
is it as good as it looks from where I’m sitting in the bleachers? I try and say it’s just
harder than you think it is. But shape the way that you think about you playing in game six of
the NBA finals as an All-Star. That’s the apex of the game. That’s the equivalent of the World Cup. – Oh, totally. To me, first of all, if I
wasn’t as old as I am now- – He’s talking like he’s 200 years old. – No, no, but you go through
life and you do check marks. Like basketball, orthopedic
surgeons always told me you shouldn’t play basketball after 40. I played until a couple of years ago. Maybe a little pickup ball here and there. But you do a check mark,
can’t play anymore. It’s not good for the body. – Doesn’t work, yeah. – But if I could I’d play it every day. It’s a fantastic sport; I love it. I love how it’s different every time you step on a court, how competitive it can be. Every move down the court is different. So from that standpoint I would’ve been playing
basketball anyways. But then you take it where all of a sudden you get to the status
where you’re acknowledged. You become famous to a certain degree. And you have a status in the community that you can use for other things. – For good or evil. – Yeah, at least people
respect you for something. What you do with it is your call. But playing games like that and going through a season like that, we were good for five good years. – Yeah, it was amazing. – And then we get to the
finals and we didn’t win it and we’re thinking, man,
we’re gonna be back next year because we’re that good. We were that good on the West Coast. Chicago was that good on the East Coast. – Yeah. – And within a year the
team gets dismantled and we’ll never go back. So it changes that quickly. But to play at that level every day, emotional roller coaster. To me it’s like you can only
really experience the highs when you’ve also felt the lows. And we had some lows. We lost in the first round
a couple years before. And we had a great season. And so there are those
things I look back on and I look at practices backward. Gary and I always fought. Gary was the typical, he worked hard when he wanted to. But certain things he didn’t do. And so we were always at each other. Now we talk all the time. – Still in the community. – But I look back at those
days that were pretty special. When you’re going through it you don’t, you’re still that guy, oh
man, the food sucks today. Why is the plane leaving so early? You complain; it’s human nature. But it’s quite the life. – I promised to switch gears,
so we’re gonna switch gears. You talked about being retired and one of the things
that I have come to know, and I consistently draw a lot of parallels between elite athletes and entrepreneurs or people who are building businesses. Mark Cuban, who’s been on the show, talks about business is harder than sport because it’s 24-7. There’s not rest; there’s no off season. At midnight your customers
in a lot of online businesses or whatever, they’re still
buying your stuff or not. And so business is the ultimate sport I think is how he says it. But for all the parallels that I draw, one thing that stands out to me is that there are people
who are good with planning for their future and there are people who are not so good at it. And I’m curious, I know you in
a professional capacity now. You take care of people and their portfolio
planning, their longevity, and you basically create a
life for them with their money, like retirement or whatever. Specifically I know that
pro athletes are notoriously horrible at that. And you’ve heard the
moniker starving artist or that artists are really bad with money. So again, I’m drawing this parallel. Talk to me about what you see
in a post-basketball world or as people or artists are thinking about we’re notoriously bad with money and they’ll laugh that off. But it actually can be a huge advantage if you decide to put in some time and plan for having
insurance for your family or whatever as a creator, and it’s not dissimilar
to what you’re doing now. So talk to me about the horror stories and how it can be. – Well, I think that first you need to take a step back and put yourself into the position you’re 19, 20 years old. That’s literally the
average age of an NBA player coming into the league. – That’s crazy. – Have you gone to college? Maybe a year. – Yeah. – So the majority of
the guys come out early so they don’t really go
to college for four years. They don’t finish college. And as you know, a lot of them come from difficult situations at home. Often single parent homes. So if I come out at 20 with limited, two years in college maybe, they’ve given me a four-year guaranteed for first round pick
I think the minimum is four years guaranteed, 12 million. I would’ve gone nuts. I would’ve bought a Ferrari. Why not? (laughing) So the maturity level is one thing. And, again, we’re talking the average. We’re not talking Kevin
Durant or Steph Curry. We’re talking the average
guy that’s coming out what they’re gonna do. And just like entertainers, as soon as you have some notoriety and you’re in the news, all of a sudden everybody flocks to you. So you not just have an agent. You’re paying for a marketing guy. Somebody probably says you’ve
gotta start a foundation, so you’re gonna hire a family
member to run a foundation and pay them 100 or 200 grand a year. All the cousins are coming out. You have this whole
entourage all of a sudden. And a lot of guys feel obligated that they have to take care of them. And there’s always this feel about well, when I get the big contract, my next contract. Again, 50% of those guys will
not get that next contract. So they are where they are and they’re gonna be pretty
much broke after four years. That’s so sad. – Yeah. – The NBA does actually a really good job, the NFL, all the professional leagues, at educating the guys and
bringing services to them. They have to go through
it when they’re rookies. But after that it’s not mandatory. So it’s tough. The good guys that make it happen, they have good partners. They find a good agent. I always say, hey, your agent is an agent. He didn’t go to school
to manage your money. So separate your agent from your money. And then hire a registered
investment advisor. You look it up on the website. Look it up; make sure they’re clean. – Yeah. – And they have a fiduciary
duty to do what’s right for you. If you do that and live
somewhat within your means. I get $4 million, I’m
not making $4 million. I might make $2 million,
take 2 million home, but come up with a number
you put away every year and then go from there. But it’s a slow process. Guys are getting better. Also salaries are getting much bigger. It’s unfortunate, a lot
of guys that I played with are not doing well financially. And then you run into health issues because most guys that
age have health issues they can’t pay for it. And run into a bunch of guys in the last three, four years died that I played with or played against. 50, 55 years old, and it’s sad. – Wow! That’s shocking, 50. Again, you said you’re not normal. You put your body under that
much duress for that long, I think there’s all kinds
of warning signs there. I wanna go back to this parallel. Because again, the
primary audience is people who are interested in elite performers so that they can take some of the lessons and apply it to their own lives. Whether that’s creators, artists, entrepreneurs, athletes, whatever. And when folks at home are like, oh, I don’t need to plan for my future because that’s for everybody else. And I watch this consistently. What I ended up being, as you have achieved a bunch of
success as a professional, maybe I did that as a photographer and you look to your
left and to your right and there’s a lot of folks who are the way I say is they’re not willing to fork over these core foundations, things like medical insurance, things like planning for their family, planning retirement. And I’m also a big advocate of investing in your own future. If you don’t believe in you, who will? So you have to continue
to make bigger bets on your own success. But is there a balance? Is there a balance where you can both invest in your future, do the
things that you need to do like presumably having a marketing person and having a good agent and
those things cost money. And you have to know to what threshold do you invest in and how
much do you put away? Because you put all your money away, then you’re not maximizing the opportunity that you have in front of you. And just talk to me. That seems like a spectrum in whether you’re pro athlete or whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur how much am I investing
in myself and my business and how much am I putting
away for a rainy day? – That’s a good question. I think that’s why you come
up with custom approach to every unique situation. Because yours is different than mine. From not just your
business, but your income, your family situation,
what are your goals, all of those things. You come up and basically
build a financial plan looking at that. But to me, you try to
take the what ifs out. And for the athletes it’s typically well, what if I get hurt tomorrow? My contract is up next year
and I can never play again. Most guys don’t wanna talk about that. It’s like what if I die tomorrow. It’s just as bad. But it could happen. – Yeah. – So if it’s not for you, but you have a wife and you have kids, why would you not at least
try to plan ahead for them? But I think with guys
it’s just you get so busy. You have to put shutters on. I gotta finish this project. I gotta take this company here. I gotta get my new contract. I gotta become an All-Star
and then I’m gonna do it. Before you know it, I talked to coaches, I’ve
coached for 25 years. And they go, I’m thinking about retirement in a couple of years. Have you ever looked at it before? No, what I got; where’s my money? And they’re smart people. – That’s why I’m asking the question. Because everyone out there thinks it’s not gonna happen to them. And this sort of planning and rainy day. And I’m wildly freakishly optimistic. Like everything’s always gonna work out. But the reality is that
there’s this sort of planning. And it really wasn’t about
maturity or anything. It was like, you know
what, to me there’s always, if you could ever afford
to have a long-term view, you should. And so what does it look like to put away some chunk of money like to pay yourself part of the equation. Pay yourself first. – Let me give you an example. My son, my oldest has
got a pretty good job, not making much money but
it’s got great benefits. Matching 401(k) for example. So I’m talking to him. You should max out. They’re gonna match what
you’re putting in there, and you can really build up a 401(k). And he goes, “Yeah, maybe next year “because I think I wanna
get this and that.” – Fill in the blank. – Because those 200 or 300 bucks a month, for a young person it’s a lot of money. The only thing you can really, to a certain degree control
is how much money you spend. – For sure. Do you live within your means or not? – And it’s really hard for people in the limelight to control that because of expectations. NBA player can’t pull up to practice in a- now I’m gonna really
get somebody mad at me for pulling out a car that’s not worthy. (laughing) But he’s gotta have a decent car. And so they feel that pressure. And even though they might
only make a million bucks that year, NBA minimum salary
is now maybe 800,000 a year. So NBA minimum, he’s
probably still gonna buy a $200,000 Mercedes just so he can roll. And so that sets you back. You can’t put any money away. So there are certain things
that you can control, and again, it’s a process. I think you have to walk through it. Once you have a family and kids what’s gonna happen to them
if something happens to you? Will they be able to go to school? Can they afford college? All those things. – And that’s why to me
it’s an important part for trying to map how you’re talking about with pro athletes onto
the independent creators and people who are largely
watching and listening here. That’s a reality that whether
it’s the fanciest camera or the sexiest gear or a fancy studio or a big staff. I think the most successful
people that I know in the long arc of success, they have had it really humbly. There’s something very
almost very admirable about keeping it super lean. And as you said 50
times in this interview, it’s all individual and you need to craft that story for yourself. Just to reiterate, it’s
a really important part of why do you have to have
the $200,000 Mercedes? And I think by and large
if you look at those they’re not actually have-tos. It’s our ego. – We talk a lot about
needs, wants, and wishes. If we all lived by our
needs, we’ll do fairly well regardless of where you are income level. But most of us are kinda in the wants. And then a few people are in the wishes. Even though you don’t
need that $500 purse, I’m gonna get it because
that’s what I want even though it’s gonna
max out my credit card. So at every level it’s all relative. It doesn’t have to be a $200,000 Mercedes because that’s for somebody
that might make a million. But it can be that $250
purse that you don’t need. So you gotta look at it,
what can that 250 do? It’s an opportunity cost. Because for most people spending
250, you gotta make 500. You pay taxes and whatever else. So that’s a lot of money. Let’s talk for just a second about legacy. I’m gonna put a very
simple tagline on that which is what people think about you after you have left the limelight, your legacy, and whether
you’re Richard Branson or other people who have been on the show, there’s usually a talk of legacy. And legacy doesn’t have to be you were wildly rich and famous. It can be what are you doing, what’s gonna be on your tombstone. So how important has
long-term mission and vision been for you and what are you, what’s important for you in your legacy? You’ve mentioned a few things, but try and put a bow on it for me. How important is legacy to you and how do you think of it? – Well, again I go through
these different stages in life. And I think early on it was probably about being successful
and being recognized as an NBA All-Star or star
on the basketball court or whatever else. And you grow up a little bit. And to me it’s more
about, one is hopefully I’m raising some children
that will be productive in the future. And I’m not talking about rich. I’m talking about being
a positive influence in their communities, making a difference. We’ve tried to do certain
things through our foundation over the years, but it was more geared toward not individuals,
more groups, charities. It’s all children charities, but maybe from the pediatric hospital to maybe homeless shelter for teenagers. Whatever it is, it was a group of kids. And for the next transition in life I hope that we have an influence on more individuals to have
that impact in the future. Maybe it’s some future pro athletes or student athletes
that will have an impact in our community. That they take that path, they learn how to do it, they form the right partnerships and along the way help
some other individuals with whatever it is,
scholarships or what not. I don’t want it as broad anymore. Because we have no family. We have no family. My family is in Germany. My wife’s family is mostly passed away. So it’s us and our two boys. So we don’t have the 25
people Thanksgiving dinners. Our boys will be there. And hopefully they know
that we were good people. But other than that I’m
not worried about legacy. I don’t need a trophy somewhere. I don’t have trophies in my house. I don’t have awards. Unfortunately they’re in boxes somewhere. It’s just not who I am. I wanna enjoy life. I think for me it’s about relationships. You hopefully build good friendships and you build relationships with people that appreciate who you are and what you do for them and with them. Other than that, the wind
will blow over anyways somewhere down the road. – Get a good golf tan. – Yeah, I’m at the why not stage. I told you this. If I can do it, I’m gonna do it. I wanna enjoy life and at the same time still have some impact. It’s getting smaller, the
world is getting smaller. We’re not spreading out
as far as we used to. – I’m gonna ask you just
a series of questions, basically rapid fire. Gonna be about you specifically. – Okay. – At your peak athletic prowess did you have a routine, a mental routine, a morning routine? What were some of the characteristics at your athletic peak
and what are they now? – A routine? – Yeah, like in the morning
you never had coffee or you always had a huge protein breakfast or you always meditated? As a peak athlete, did
you have some routines? I know as a financier. – Not to that degree. Everyone was a little superstitious. So saying preparation before a game, you put your left sock on;
you put your right sock on. (laughing) Little things like that, yes totally. But now I can’t even tell
you which one it was first. But I had to do it the same way. – So there’s repetition and routine. – Yeah, and the warm-ups, the same stuff. I had to take the same shots every game just to get into that rhythm. But as far as getting up in the morning because your schedule is
so different every day. You wake up in a different hotel room at a different time with maybe wanna eat oatmeal
but they don’t have it, whatever it is. So you have to be flexible and you have to be willing
to change and adapt. And I think that has been my whole life, willing to, actually I
look forward to change. – That’s interesting. – So for me, the daily
routines were always different. Summertime was a little
bit more structured because I knew what I
wanted to do to train. But back in those days
I didn’t really worry that much about food. Now I do; I just ate everything. Now I go, I can’t eat
that but it looks so good. (laughing) – Let’s now fast-forward to your life now. How important is routine to you? You mentioned you have two
kids, one with special needs. You’re paying attention to your diet. So what does a routine
look like for you now? – I’m a creature of habit. I like to do certain things. I feel much better when I do work out, whatever it is. – Do you work out in the morning? What’s a work out look like for you? – I try to do something in the morning. So I get up and typically do
the same things in the morning. I have coffee, do emails, set up the day. Once that’s set I go work out. And then I go to the
office and go from there. – What time do you wake up? Are you an early riser? Do you try and get a bunch done
before the world is moving? – I’m usually up by 6:00
at the latest, yeah. Don’t sleep that much. – What about sleep? Have you always been an early riser? Is sleep important to your, how important is sleep to your career? – I think it’s very important. I’ve never been a good sleeper. So you get it in spurts. But I’d like to sleep more. My wife likes to sleep. She’s pretty good at it. – She’s pro? – Pro All-Star, maybe Olympian. (laughing) – Any other routines in your life now and how do you stay active? – Like I said earlier,
there are check marks. – Yep. – I don’t play basketball anymore. I said it’s just not worth it. Last time I did, about
a year and a half ago, I sprained my ankle really bad. And I go that’s three months
of not doing anything. So I don’t do that. I barely run. – Weights? – I do weights, mostly core stuff. Not a lot of heavy weights, but I just wanna keep core stuff going. And then I do something aerobic. So it could be a treadmill. I like the StairMaster or spinning bikes. – Yeah. – I used to ride the road bikes a lot. But then a bad crash was enough. Second bad crash, so my wife said you only have two lives left so maybe you should quit. (laughing) – So you talk about family routine. Is family routine important to you? Because you talked about
always being dynamic and moving and that’s in part how
I see my life as well, and I think a lot of
creators identify with that. There’s things that I
like to do every morning. I try and own my morning. But I also travel hundreds
of thousands of miles a year. I wake up in a different hotel room two or three days a week. I’ve flown two and a half
times a week for 11 years. – Brutal. – You do the math on that and you start not wanting
to hear the answers. So my routine has been a lack routine. And I try and control a small, an hour of the beginning of my day. What about for you? How do you manage it now with the family? Because a lot of folks are like, oh, my god, I’ve got the kids. I’ve gotta get them off to school. But there’s still time for you in there. How do you make that happen? – Well again, different stage in life. Our kids are out of the house. So our oldest lives in Colorado. Our youngest lives in
a house with two other special need adults and
a caregiver right now and is loving it. He’s pretty independent. So it’s a great situation. So that gives us more time to do stuff we might wanna do. I love my mornings. And I live sitting there
with a cup of coffee and figuring stuff out
and reading the news and getting ready for the day. Sometimes that’s half an hour. Sometimes that’s an hour and a half. But I love that time. It’s quiet and I can figure
out what the day will bring. And our life has changed so much because used to be Sunday
would be family dinner time. And we’d have friends
over and all this stuff. And now the kids are gone. Okay, let’s play golf and eat at the club or something like that. Again, different stage in life and our family is our friends. We spend a lot of time
with different groups and travel a lot. – Travel; where do you like to go? – Well, I told you we have a house Cabo. – Yeah, I’m on a flight and look over. Oh man, you again. All tan, you look like
you come back from Cabo. – Yeah, we don’t spend much time there, but I hope to spend more
time there in the future. I love it; I love different
cultures and languages and food and all that. So it’s always fun. – You still keep up the German? – Yeah, I say my German
and I speak teenage German because I left as a teenager, so it hasn’t improved much since. (laughing) – What about your family? Is language an important
part of the family heritage? – My parents are still around, so I saw them a couple of months ago. They’re struggling in their 80s. But they’re doing well relatively. – How about have you tried
to pass German heritage, language, any of that down to your kids? – My oldest, yeah. We had him a little bit in German school. He hated it when he was younger. But he understands a little bit. And he actually played for the Junior German National team. He has dual citizenship. So when he was in high school he went over one summer, one of my buddies coached
the Junior National team. So he stayed there for
literally eight weeks and played there and loved
it, had a really good time. So they have dual citizenship. They could go back. My youngest, English
is hard enough for him. He has some speech issues. So we focus on one language there. (laughing) – If you had one truth that you, it doesn’t have to be the ultimate, the best truth, the most truth. But is there something that you know in your core to be true? This is the last question, I promise. We keep it to an hour
and we’re getting close. Is there a truth? – Wow, that’s deep. – Yeah, you know philosophical. – Well, we’re born as takers. We take for a long, long time. Again, teenagers starting,
but pro athletes, a lot of us take it a lot longer. But eventually you gotta get to a point where you gotta give something back. And I feel like you
can’t keep track of it. It’s really hard. People say, oh, this is every time you take something,
put it back in or whatever. I don’t think you keep track of it. But if you feel like
you’re not making a dent, then you’re probably not doing enough. And there’s no end to it. It’s like, okay, I’ve done enough. You’ve gotta find a way, whatever it is, whatever you’re good at, whoever you can touch
to give something back because that’s all we’re really here for. Because it’s not what kinda car you drive or what kinda house you live in, it’s more like what the people, how they interact with you
and what they think about you. Unfortunately, not
everyone will get there. – I think we can do our part to give, I think there’s no better
way to end our conversation. I appreciate you and your time. Thank you for coming by. – Thanks for having me. – Man, a lot of wisdom. Congratulations on an
amazing arc of a career, for being such a pilar of the
community here in Seattle. Appreciate you, bud. – Appreciate you too. – All right, signing off, Mr. Detlef Schrempf, two-time Olympian, three-time NBA All-Star, appreciate having you on the show, bud. See you again hopefully tomorrow. (upbeat music)

3 thoughts on “NBA All Star Detlef Schrempf on Success, Community, and his cameo in Parks & Recreation”

  • thorsten franzen says:

    Great Interview, very interesting. And for a long time we see Detlef again, and not only for five minutes ;), because he has definitly something to tell. You can learn so much from his experiences. Detlef was the first 6'10" guy who could do it all. He had brillant skills. Like the interviewer too!
    Keep on those good interviews.
    All the best to both of you.

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