Chauncey Billups Knows Which Fork to Use — Do You?

If you’re a basketball fan, you probably know Chauncey Billups. He’s won an NBA championship, an Olympic Gold Medal and has been the NBA MVP. Right now, he is helping the Denver Nuggets to one of their best starts ever.

Chauncey grew up in Denver, where he played for George Washington High School. He went on to play for the University of Colorado before going to the NBA. I have vivid memories of Cathy exchanging smiles with him at the old McNichols Arena in Denver just after he signed with CU. He’s a great basketball player and, more important, a good guy.

Ricardo Patton was his college coach. These days, Ricardo is coaching Northern Illinois University. They played a game at the Air Force Academy last week. Chauncey attended the game. Afterwards, he spoke about the positive effect Coach P, as he calls him, had on his life.

“Coach Patton taught me about basketball, of course. But it was far more than that. He taught me about life, how to be a professional, how to dress, how to present myself.”

Chauncey remembers the time Coach P brought an etiquette teacher to a team meal. 

“I remember thinking ‘Why do I care the little fork for the salad is on the outside left? I’m never going to have to use this.’ But it’s funny, I’ve had to use it more than I ever thought.”

Positive  personal impact is one of the keys to success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success. People who create positive personal impact do three things well: 1) they develop and nurture their unique personal brand; 2) they are impeccable in their presentation of self; and 3) they know and follow the basic rules of etiquette.

Ricardo Patton taught Chauncey Billups a lot about basketball. He also taught him a lot about how to create positive personal impact by how he presents himself and follows the rules of etiquette. That’s what a good coach will do for you. Coach P knows that creating positive personal impact is part of the package of every successful person.

The common sense point here is simple. No matter how skilled you are, and how good you are at what you do – and a guy like Chauncey Billups is very good at what he does on the basketball court – you need to create positive personal impact if you are going to be a personal and professional success. This means that you need to build your unique personal brand, be impeccable in your presentation of self, and know and follow the basic rules of etiquette. A good coach – someone like Ricardo Patton — will help you with all three of these.

That’s my take on the Chauncey Billups/Ricardo Patton story. What’s yours? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us. I really value and appreciate every single comment you leave. As always, thanks for reading.


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