LaMarque Ward is a former professional basketball player and is the founder of the Cincinnati Dream Academy, a youth athletics organization that teaches basketball skills and character development to at-risk youth. LaMarque also works with young people at the Cincinnati Job Corps and ran for Cincinnati City Council in 2009. We sat down with LaMarque on September 3rd to discuss his story, his career, and his thoughts on the importance of dreams. It was an incredibly inspirational interview, check out a preview below. The full 20 minute interview will be posted soon.
LaMarque grew up in inner city Cincinnati, struggled throughout school due to his rambunctious nature, and became a dad when he was a teenager. However, his dream to play professional basketball provided him with the motivation and strength he needed to overcome any challenge that life put in his way. After recieving a full scholarship to play college basketball, Ward was recruited to play professional basketball abroad. He spent the next several years playing all over the world – in Switzerland, Latvia, and South America.
When LaMarque’s final contract expired, he returned home to rededicate himself to his family and to figure out his next step. While working for the city of Cincinnati, he started fundraising to start a youth basketball league. He discovered an enormous passion for teaching young people and developed a message focused on the importance of pursuing dreams with integrity, dedication, and character . This passion led him to teaching career preparation at the Cincinnati Job Corps and eventually to found the Cincinnati Dream Academy. At the Dream Academy, LaMarque works with at-risk youth, teaching them how to dream with integrity.
LaMarque’s path hasn’t been easy, and he is full of wisdom about how to overcome the challenges of chasing a dream – what to do about the pressures to quit, how to get over your fears, and how to learn from loss and view your mistakes in a positive light. Roadblocks, failures and disappointments are a part of reaching goals and a part of life. LaMarque believes having a dream keeps you strong, and that “a dream is a sedative to the pain and dissapointment of the journey of life.” Figuring out how to move past failure and keep chugging along is a lesson everyone need to learn, and sometimes relearn as time passes.
LaMarque has had his fair share of disappointments. He came in “a whopping last’ in his run for a city council seat in Cincinnati. However, he showed up for work the next day with a huge smile on his face. “Most people haven’t seen someone shoot for a big goal. Even though I didn’t win, it was worth it for every kid and employee in my buidling to see me fail big and still show up the next day with a smile.”
The interview was packed full of memorable anecdotes, lessons, and words of wisdom that are sure to inspire you, cause you to reflect, and make you smile. The full interview will be posted in the next several days, check back soon because it’s one you don’t want to miss!