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Ex-Linebacker Player Turned Attorney

In this transcript, Clay Clark (speaker of choice for Hewlett Packard, Maytag University, and more) and Damario Solomon-Simmons (Attorney to NBA and NFL players) discuss the importance of the business world on Thrive15.com, the best sales training program.

Clay:    Did you, working with pro athletes, did you ever get starstruck because you've met Jerry Jones.

Damario:    I have.

Clay:    I mean you've met Jerry Jones. You've met the owner of the Cowboys.

Damario:    I'll tell you. I must be honest. I've been starstruck one time.

Clay:    OK.

Damario:    It was Michael Jordan.

Clay:    Really.

Damario:    This is what happened. This is a true story. It's 2010, 2009 Superbowl. Tampa, Florida. I'm down there with my client, Felix Jones, who was the first-round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys the previous year, 2008. We're down in Tampa. We're having a great time. We're at the celebrity event. It's all type of people there. We're hanging out. I'm not starstruck of anyone. 

    The guy who was host was a comedian. He was making jokes, and he was saying, "Oh, suh, suh, suh." He came up to me and started talking to me as if I was this awful football player. Of course I'm not an All-Star football player, so when he came on the loudspeaker and said, "Michael Jordan is in here," I didn't pay it no mind. Felix Jones said, "Manny, they said Michael Jordan's there." I said, "Michael Jordan's not here. I ain't going to do that."

    We were over playing pool, next thing I know, who actually walks past me. Michael Jordan. I through my pool stick and screamed like a girl.

Clay:    Really.

Damario:    I put down my pool stick and ran over him. I ran over to him. He had a big 6'7" Bulgarian bodyguard, bald-headed. He just gave me the stiff arm and said, "Hey, you need to back up." I said, "That's my friend," like Michael Jordan and I are in the same fraternity. He said, "I don't care who you is, you need to back up." We ended up getting to meet him later on that night, but that's the one person I've been in awe of meeting, and Dick Gregory. I was pretty in awe of meeting Dick Gregory.

Clay:    Now, who's Dick Gregory? Just so I can get a little context.

Damario:    Dick Gregory is a very famous black comedian activist.

Clay:    Yeah. Yeah.

Damario:    Older guy. He's just done a lot of great things. He's a well-known international figure, activist, and just really to be in his presence was pretty cool.

Clay:    Now, as a white dude, one of the things in business, I look at the world a certain way. Coming from your background, you look at the world a certain way. Do you consider yourself an African-American success story or just a success story, because there's a lot of people I know, a lot of my friends that view themselves from a certain perspective or a certain culture, or they take that idea. How do you view yourself and how does that, because there's a lot of people watching this who've grown up in an urban neighborhood. Thrive15.com is a sales training program by the stars.

Damario:    Right.

Clay:    They've grown up with some adversity.

Damario:    Right.

Clay:    How do you classify yourself? How do you view yourself?

Damario:    Right. I mean, I think I'm very comfortable with who I am. I'm obviously an African-American male, so I never try to run away from that. Am I an African-American success story? Yes, I am. Am I an American success story? Yes, I am. People, there are certain challenges that are real, that come with being a black man. That's real stuff. There's also certain challenges that come from being from a rural place. Certain challenges come from being low-income, etc. I see myself as a success story, period, but I definitely am proud to be able to say I come from North Tulsa. I'm proud to be from grandparents who never finished high school.

Clay:    Yeah.

Damario:    Grandparents who integrated their neighborhoods and had crosses burnt in their yards, who had eggs, and had to fight, and had their tires slashed, and now I can go and do anything I want in any of those neighborhoods. I'm proud of their legacy and stand on their shoulders.

Clay:    I'm only asking you this because I'm just completely ignorant of the subject in terms of I've never personally lived it. I can't empathize. 

Damario:    Right.

Clay:    I know there's a lot of people watching this right now that still have a little hostility to folks who look like me.

Damario:    Right.

Clay:    What would you say to the guy who's maybe grown up with racism? It still exists today. People are still racist today. What would you say to the guy watching this who's maybe guy or gals dealt with racism? Dealt with some struggles and is maybe having a hard time because you work with everybody.

Damario:    That's right.

Clay:    You work with Asians and African-Americans and Hispanics.

Damario:    Right.

Clay:    You don't box yourself. What would you say to the person that is a little boxed in?

Damario:    No absolutely. Absolutely. I would say there are bad people in the world and that's just reality. Racism exists. Sexism exits. Those things are there, but you cannot allow that to stop you from your goal. It's just like when you're an athlete. If had a guy in front of you that's whooping your head, you got to figure out a way to get around that person. You got to train harder, work harder, and just know, life is not fair. Life is hard. You're going to have setbacks, but you cannot allow one person, even an institution that is racism. It exist. It is real. You got to find away around it and that is what's so great about America. There are options around everything that happens.

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