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OKC Thunder: Failure is the fabric that has made Obi Muonelo stronger

While still trying to find his place in professional basketball, the former Edmond Santa Fe and Oklahoma State star has developed own clothing line.
by Darnell Mayberry Modified: September 9, 2013 at 1:00 pm •  Published: September 8, 2013

Since graduating from Oklahoma State in 2010, Obi Muonelo has been cut from six different teams while pursuing his NBA dreams.

He can rattle off each place as if it happened yesterday.

Philadelphia. Germany. San Antonio.

Fort Wayne, Ind. Austin, Texas. Tulsa.

Tulsa was one of the toughest to swallow.

“I had an unbelievable workout at Tulsa,” Muonelo said of the NBA D-League's 66ers. “I thought I made the team for sure. I thought I was about to be on the Thunder.”

Like the rest, it wasn't to be.

But those setbacks only made Muonelo stronger.

“I'm numb to failure at this point,” said Muonelo, the former Edmond Santa Fe standout who led the Wolves to the 2005 6A state championship before taking his talents to Stillwater. “To not be afraid to fail is very important. A person who isn't afraid of failure is the most dangerous person.”

For Muonelo, that outlook didn't form overnight.

While struggling to achieve his athletic dreams, Muonelo could only watch as childhood friends such as Sam Bradford, Blake Griffin, Ekpe Udoh, Gerald McCoy and Dominique Franks all went on to professional careers in either the NBA or NFL. Their success only added insult to injury.

“These are guys I played on AAU teams with,” Muonelo said. “These guys have millions and millions of dollar contracts. It's not about the money. I'm just not there. That's fine they got that. But I'm not even in the league. That was the part I didn't like about it.”

Eventually, Muonelo stopped steaming and started thinking.

“Started seeing there's more to life than basketball ... and there are so many other things you can do,” he said.

So in 2012, Muonelo launched a clothing line. He branded it “Young Lad,” with Lad serving as an acronym for loyalty, attitude and determination. For women, Muonelo created a spinoff he labeled “Young LasS,” which represents legacy, appreciation, style and strength.

Both lines offer hats, T-shirts, hoodies, shorts, sweatsuits, windbreakers, socks and even suits and ties.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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