Currently playing in the Ukrainian Superleague for Hoverla Ivano – Frankivsk, professional basketball player Eugene Lawrence has made a huge name for himself overseas in the past five years.
During his first season in 2008, Lawrence played in Slovakia for BK AX SPU Nitra. Not only did he experience a championship win but, he was also named Player of the Year. For the next two seasons, Lawrence played in Czech Republic for BK Prostejov. Although he and his teammates made it to the finals, they unfortunately came up short, placing second for both the 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 season. During his fourth season, Lawrence continued playing in Czech Republic for CEZ Nymburk. Reaching the finals yet again, he and his team were finally able to grab that first place spot.
Growing up in Brownsville Brooklyn, Lawrence’s main concern was staying on a good track and out of trouble. He recalls his time in Brooklyn as being an obstacle he had to overcome in order to reach his dream of moving away and playing professional basketball. After being introduced to the sport by a childhood friend and coach, it wasn’t until highschool when Lawrence realized playing basketball was what he truly wanted to do. After making the varsity team his freshmen year of highschool, it then became clear to him that he in fact “loved the game.”
When Lawrence first started playing basketball, it was all about entertaining the crowd, feeding off their crazy energy and loud roars. Now, his love for the game simply means taking care of his family and making sure his daughter has the tools needed in order to have a better life than what he had growing up. “Having a child really changes your perspective on life. It makes you realize how important it is to encourage the youth because they are the leaders of our future.”
Believing that basketball can be used to help him improve in life, Lawrence has never thought about quitting or giving up in any way. He states, “Basketball has taught me discipline, patience and perseverance. I can relate it to everyday life and situations.”
Advice Lawrence gives to kids holding on to a dream but unsure of how to make that dream a reality is, “Life is what you make it. Take advantage, work hard and make the best of your situation. If you put in the time and effort, you will get results. Like the old saying goes – you get out what you put in. However, if you are already accomplishing your dream, never take anything for granted because it can all be taken away from you at any given moment.”
Since playing overseas, Lawrence has had the opportunity of participating in Eurochallenge with his BK Prostejov team, making it to the top 16 group as well as the Eurocup with his CEZ Nymburk team, reaching the final 8 stage. In addition, Lawrence is able to enjoy the memory of defeating what once was the number one team in Europe, CSKA Moscow, during the 2011/2012 season while playing for VTB United League.
So what keeps Lawrence going? With his family, daughter and overall love of the game fueling his passion, Lawrence’s future is focused on making investments in order to make money, relax and enjoy some daddy/daughter time once basketball has concluded.
Written by Erica Wright
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