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Much back-and-forth followed and eventually, as evidenced by where we had gathered in August of 2008, impossible though it had once seemed, the effort paid off. Even so, as the final seconds ticked by before the lights came back up in the convention center, with the tidal wave of memories gone and my senses focusing back on the present, I still had to laugh that even with my sister and brother-in-law both being Harvard-trained lawyers, the basketball coach was called in to help negotiate the deal!

Let me hasten to add, however, that it was the courageous actions taken by our current First Family and by every single person involved in the historic campaign that led to its final outcome. Which leads me to a fundamental teaching my parents always emphasized—that life happens to you, putting choices in your path that offer an abundance of opportunities as well as challenges (and sometimes both), and that the best choices are usually the ones that require courage. They may demand that you raise your level of play beyond anything you ever knew you were capable of, but those are the choices most worth taking.

And really, that's what most inspired me to write A Game of Character—not only to share with you what I've learned(and hopefully passed on to my children and to my players),but also to help reclaim the value of character that I believe is as intrinsic to basketball as it is to life. What's more, as the pages ahead will elaborate, true character is a quality that can be found everywhere and anywhere, in some of the least likely places—including the Southside of Chicago, which is exactly where we're headed next.

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