Collected wisdom: Rolando Blackman, former Kansas State and NBA standout

Interviewed by Berry Tramel, btramel@opubco.com Modified: May 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm •  Published: May 21, 2011
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The 1980 Olympics, one of the greatest disappointments in my life. It's the apex, the pinnacle of what you are as a college basketball player. To beat out everyone, to become an Olympian ... to be able to establish who the Olympic starters were going to be, to be able to go into Moscow and take the gold, it's a big deal and opportunity. To hear the Russians are in Afghanistan, what does that have to do with sports? It remains an opportunity lost. I'm still an Olympian today. I went to those trials and put my cards down on the table. I feel very good about that. I feel disappointed that the political scene cut us off.

Spending this long with the Mavs, I think it's being able to establish relationships and really having the opportunity to help the Mavs on many levels. Mark Cuban asked me to be a part of what's going on; he was going to buy the team, which was a great opportunity for me. So with every area, I've got the chance to put the Maverick brand out there and represent this great organization. Have the chance to represent Mark Cuban in the right way. I really do enjoy that very much.

Working for Cuban, it's a great opportunity because I understand what he wants to do. I understand he wants to win. He wants to do the very best job he possibly can to put people in the right job in moving this franchise forward. I've done that, helped him on the court, off the court, working at the sponsorship level, business development. I do Mavs Foundation work. I do all the peripheral stuff. I just do Mav work. That's me. Whatever they have, that's me.

I know the history of the game. Especially from 1960, with Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, all the way throughout the years I played. I can tell you about being a star and I can tell you about getting cut, too, right at the end of your career. I can tell you all the different feelings.

I enjoy the NBA. I think it's at the best point. I came from an era where it was a front-line grind. No matter what era you're looking at, you're still watching some fantastic players. The Jordans and Kareem Abdul-Jabbars, Walt Fraziers and before that Oscar Robertson. I love watching players of today. You have every piece of the puzzle. You have some guys that can hoop.

I enjoy the value of a good track record. Try to keep yourself clean, try to keep yourself moving forward. I've been able to excel with the game. I'm a college graduate. I have a story, being an immigrant into this country. Have a chance from the ground up and put a success story together. That's important to me. I feel very proud of that. I feel proud of my mom, Gloria Blackman, who still comes to games. Feel proud that I listened to people, and the people talking to me were saying the right things.