Dee Brown emphasizes positivity in achieving goals
Former Illini basketballer Daniel “Dee” Brown recently spoke with Parkland’s Black Student Success Project, stressing the importance of being positive and staying true to one’s dreams.
Brown’s admirable tenure at Illinois secured his place in the collective memory of Champaign-Urbana. Between 2002 and 2006, he played as a point guard and helped lead Illinois to two Big Ten Conference championships in 2003 and 2005. He holds the record for playing the most minutes in the history of the University.
In March of 2005, he was on the cover of “Sports Illustrated,” and in the same year was named Sporting News Player of the Year.
Brown’s favorite game of his Illini career was the Elite Eight win against the Arizona Wildcats in 2005, in which he had five rebounds, seven assists, three steals, and scored 15 points.
He likes this game because it was his grandmother’s favorite game. His grandmother was sick at the time, and he believes the game prolonged her life by a few months by making her happy.
From 2006 to 2015, he played on other professional basketball teams around the world, namely in the United States, Turkey, Israel, Italy, China, Puerto Rico, Latvia, Romania, and Bulgaria. He retired from his long basketball career last September.
The same month, he was hired by the University of Illinois to be a special assistant to its athletic director.
Dee Brown believes that a person can achieve their dreams if they strongly believe in their dreams. This is evidenced by his desire to be a basketball player back in his elementary days.
Brown’s parents were a major part of his success. His mother valued education and hard work, and demanded he try his hardest at his schoolwork. He says one of the proudest moments of his life was when he received his bachelor degree, because his mom was so proud.
His parents encouraged him to improve himself both physically and mentally. During high school, after he went to the gym, he would be at home studying, reading, and watching basketball.
He says his favorite book is Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which tells the story of racial prejudice and inequality during the Great Depression years and has become an essential piece of classic American literature.
“[It] was definitely a book that changed my life,” Brown said.
Brown believes a big part of success is surrounding oneself with people who give off positive vibes. He says the neighborhood he grew up in had many negative vibes.
Growing up, he believed in only becoming close friends with people who gave off positivity. His friends back then wanted to become athletes, doctors, police officers, and other professions that give something back to wider community. Nowadays, he enjoys surrounding himself with people who are successful at their professions.
Some of the people whom Brown grew up with have never been outside their community, so he feels very lucky. While playing basketball overseas, people who did not speak English would express their admiration for him. His mom really enjoyed traveling overseas to watch him play.
Brown believes it is never too late for someone to set positive goals, which is why he speaks at places such as prisons.
He encourages everyone to smile and be positive, and believes we have a responsibly to try to lift each other up and help everyone reach their potential.