Derek Anderson speaks at Lewis Honors College

Thursday evening, former NBA and University of Kentucky Basketball star Derek Anderson spoke to Lewis Honors College students

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Derek Anderson says he wants to leave a legacy behind that’s not just about his prestigious basketball career.

Thursday, Anderson visited the University of Kentucky’s Lewis Honors College to speak to students.

“When we die, I don’t want everything I’ve done to go in vain. I want to make sure everybody remembers what I’ve done, not so much as who I am as far as a basketball player, but what have I left behind so that when I die, it doesn’t die with me,” said Anderson.

The former NBA and UK star says he’s known for his smile, even amidst the great adversity hes been through in his life: he was abandoned by his parents at 10, and became a father before he turned 15 years old. He says he spent countless nights sleeping in abandoned buildings, old school buses, and even his high school gym.

“With me being homeless and not having family members–not having a family–neither one of my parents ever saw me play basketball, ever. So for me to see other people helping, like my school teachers, they’re the people I’ve always looked up to,” said Anderson.

The Louisville native is passionate about education, and says the positive attitude he learned from his teachers helped him through his hardest years.

“They said, ‘Hey, I know you’re better than what you’re showing. I know you’re tired. I know you’re tired, I know you’re frustrated, but I’m going to help you.’ Those words as opposed to ‘what’re you doing?’–something negative that would impact a kid. When I heard so much positive, that’s when I listened and learned.”

That positive attitude he learned and a hard work ethic is the message he’s looking to spread to the next generation.

“I just want to leave something for someone else to get ahold of and to grow with to build the next generation,” said Anderson.

The next generation showed out Thursday night: Lewis Honors College senior Cole Railey, who also hails from Louisville, says he feels inspired seeing someone from his hometown making a difference.

“I came out tonight just to hear about Mr. Anderson’s experiences and how to apply that to my life. And, also being from Louisville, just hearing from a member of our community,” said Railey.

Among many other projects, Anderson started The Derek Anderson Foundation in 1998, which provides resources for abused women and children, and helps integrate young men back into the workforce. He also founded the Stamina Foundation in 2015, which works to empower young adults to reach their goals.

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