Spotlight: From Court to Coaching: Steven Grambin’s Basketball Journey and Insights

Interview transcription

Introduce yourself in a few words

Hello everyone, my name is Steven Grandin. I am 29 years old. I am a former university player in the United States, I also played semi-pro in France and there I have been a personal coach for a year and a half now.

Tell us about your background

So, my journey, I started basketball at 12 years old in Vitry-sur-Seine in Benjamin 2nd year in Departmental. Then, I played in Minimes Départemental in Vitry-sur-Seine again. After that, I had the chance to do a camp and to be recruited to go play at Charenton-le-Pont in the 94. I played in Minimes Région and Minimes France after that year I stayed at Charenton where I did Cadet first year and I played in Cadet Regions at the highest level. Basically, I was supposed to play with the Cadet France the following year except that ultimately it didn’t happen so I went to sports study program in Cholet and at the same time I played in Cadet Région Elite in a club in Cholet and I was training with the N3 at the time I was 16 years old. So I did 2 years like that and after that I left for the United States. So when I was 18, I left for the United States where I did a year of high school there and then was recruited to play at the NAIA 1 level. I couldn’t play because I was injured unfortunately so I did a blank year, redshirt, as they say there. I redshirt for a year. After that year I wanted to play in the NCAA so much and I had sent a lot of emails. I was recruited by an NCAA 2. I stayed there for 3 years, it was one of my best experiences. So I played in NCAA 2 for 3 years then I returned to NAIA 1 and after that I returned to France where I played in National 3. I also trained with an N1 and an N2. And since then I played in National 3 in Limoges, I played in Tulle, I also played in Coeur de Flandre which is in the North, I played in Juvisy where I did National 3 and Prénational and Now this year I decided to stop a little with the competition. So I signed for Sceaux in regional 3 to have fun. From there, I started my activity in parallel and I became a personal coach for young people, I also work with clubs and associations and my goal is to help as many young people as possible so that they improve. And that they manage to achieve their goals and finish pro or play in National so that’s it.

What motivated you to start playing Basketball?

So, what pushed me to start basketball, I didn’t like school at all. So, I wanted to find a parallel path, let’s say, to succeed in my life and in fact it was sport for me. Because I was a child who liked to play and liked to move. So sport was, let’s say, the perfect domain. So, I pushed myself into sport. At the beginning I played football, but I didn’t like it, so I stopped. I had a year where I didn’t do any sport, at least in a club. And in fact I started basketball thanks to a friend of mine called Gloire who took me to Vitry-sur-Seine to start basketball with him and from there I was hooked. And in fact, I wanted to push myself as much as possible in basketball to find, let’s say, my way which is not the normal way, at school and after work. and that’s it to make a life, we’re going to say, that suited me more so that’s why I started basketball thanks to my friend Gloire and we’re going to say my desire to make a voice other than school.

Which moment in your career so far has made you the proudest, and why?

So the moment that makes me most proud is when I signed in the United States. Why? Because it was a childhood dream and because for me basketball, the best basketball, let’s say, in the world for me it was there so it was a pride to go there and be able to discover the best level in the world. That’s it, it’s my best moment because, for me, it was a chance to play there and to have been recruited so there was a coach who wanted me to play so for me it was, we’re going to say, a reward for all the efforts I had made. And there it is, it’s my best moment because, there, basketball is, let’s say, a religion, it’s in the process of life, it had nothing to do with France and therefore it will remain one of my best moments in life since it was, for me, a success. I felt like a success.

What where the main challenges you encountered in your career and how did you overcome them?

So, the main challenges, I had two major ones. It was the lack of confidence, the lack of confidence I managed to overcome thanks to training because I am someone who trains a lot so through the training that I did it gave me more and more confidence in relation to what I could or could not do on the court. So that’s really it. Also, I had coaches who helped me and who told me Steven, play, etc. so that helped me too. Same, I have teammates who helped me, who pushed me, who knew my true value so that helped me, let’s say, overcome this lack of confidence even if I still had it sometimes . and my second, let’s say, challenge that I had was the injuries. I’ve had a lot of injuries, especially to my feet, and this challenge, let’s say, I never really managed to overcome it because at the moment I still suffer from it. It’s a challenge that I’m still learning to overcome even now. So in fact, I had bad tendinitis in my Achilles tendon and I’ve had it for at least 8 years. I can’t get them through. In fact, it has become chronic so I actually play with it. It’s a challenge that I’ve never really managed to overcome.

What motivates you to push your limits and constantly improve?

So, what motivates me to constantly improve and push my limits is because I am a competitor so I love competition. I don’t want to play somewhere and be trash, let’s say. I always want to be the best. So that already pushes me to move forward, it pushes me to train hard, it pushes me to be, let’s say, the most complete player possible because I don’t want to be ridiculous compared to others and I want to be seen as, let’s say, the best player on the court. So that’s as a player. And as a coach it’s really about pushing my players to succeed in their objectives. I want them to achieve everything they want to do and so that, already, pushes me to develop myself in as a coach, to learn new things to be able to teach them and push them to the maximum and in fact, to see a player succeed is really a source of pride and when I see my players succeed that’s what makes me want it even more to push and to learn and to actually give it to them.

What advice would you give to young people who want to succeed?

So, the advice that I will give to young people to succeed in sport is several things. First of all, it’s about working hard because nothing is ever acquired in sport, even if you have natural talent, many people can surpass you by working. So the first thing for me is to work hard. The second thing is to work intelligently because you can work hard but do anything and therefore not progress, so work hard but intelligently. Then the third thing is to be perseverant because even if you do everything well you may not have results at the moment and in fact you must not give up, you must continue to push because you never know when it will provide results and when it will give you a trigger to succeed so be persistent. And the last thing is really to be humble, to stay humble in what you do. Don’t get a big head. Always listen to everyone’s advice and here I think this is the advice I can give to really succeed in a sport.

What values or qualities are essential for success?

So, well, that’s what I said a little before, but the values that, for me, are the most essential to succeed. It’s really being humble, working hard, not giving up. What other value…? Love what you do because I think that when you love what you do you will be more able to reach a high level because inevitably you will not be bored, you will not have things that will block you, you will give to the maximum. So there you have it, it’s about giving yourself 100% too, it’s very important and that’s it. After do all the efforts you can and for me it’s these values, it’s really being a positive person, trying to train hard, try to do things and always improve. In fact, always compare yourself not necessarily to others but to compare yourself to yourself to always push and try to improve as much as possible and for me that’s what you have to do to succeed.

What is your vision for the development of basketball in the coming years?

So, my vision for the development of basketball is already starting to take place a little because in fact for me it involves the media coverage of the sport. I think that the more the sport is publicized, the more basketball will be publicized, the more we will have young people who will play basketball and the more basketball will develop. And for me, the goal for basketball to develop is that, it’s really to publicize it to put it forward because in France we don’t put it forward much except by certain people we will say on Instagram or certain programs on specific sports channels but in fact it is not mainstream enough at least in France. And for me it would be good if basketball became mainstream or sport in general because compared to the United States in relation to sport I find that we are really behind in terms of infrastructure, media coverage etc. And for me that would already be the first step, to publicize it. It’s already starting to get more and more media coverage, particularly thanks to players like Victor who was drafted number 1 in the NBA. So here it is already the media coverage of the sport and the second thing is to have more players who play this sport and to improve, we will say, the infrastructures. To be better in terms of infrastructure, we are lucky it is also developing little by little. We’re lucky to have the Hoopsfactory, the Oneball, things that are starting to be in place. Before we didn’t have them so for me is that. Media coverage, having more young people practicing the sport and having better infrastructure to make people want to do this sport.

What are your future projects or goals?

So, my plans are to develop myself as much as possible to really live my passion to the fullest. For that, I have already started to do it since I have organized a lot of things, I have made partnerships. At the moment I have a partnership with a physical and mental coach and a nutritionist to also develop myself in what I do and develop my young people as much as possible so that they become stronger not only in basketball but also in other sectors of their lives which is important on the court. I also started to work with other organizations, clubs, associations for example Leftyshow, the Chinese Sports Association, Hustle Paris, also with an organization of disabled people who do Basking. It’s a new discipline that is developing in France. So I really try to push my projects to the maximum in order to make a living from what I do. For the moment I live from what I do so I have the chance to live from this passion but it’s really trying to push what I do even further to, let’s say, be even more comfortable and be able to make even more plans for the future. And so, the plans for the future, in the long term, for me, are to open an academy or to open a sports study program and really share my experience 100% with the players and to have people who help them on a daily basis not only in basketball but in other areas of their life which is school, personal life, hygiene etc. so that they are truly the best possible players on the court or off the court that they are also good people in life because I think that is important. So here are my future plans: to develop everything I already do and to develop even bigger projects, such as sports study program or the Academy to help as many players as possible and push them towards success.

Your ultimate top 5 in basketball

So, my top 5, first of all, it’s my favorite player of all time, number 1 is Scottie Pippen. So number 1 Scottie Pippen. The second is Michael Jordan. 3rd, Gilbert Arenas for those who know, Agent 0. 4th, it’s Shaquille O’Neal, he’s the one who made me want to start playing basketball and the 5th I don’t have one for the moment. I don’t really have a 5th but there are a lot of players that I like and currently we’re going to say the player that I like to watch the most, it’s Donovan Mitchell so, for right now I put it in 5th but I don’t really have a 5th.

Which rule would you change in basketball?

Ok, that’s an interesting question. I think that basketball is already perfect as it is but if I had to change the rule it would be to add perhaps a 4-point line because nowadays we have more and more players who shoot from very far. So, I think that adding a 4-point line wouldn’t be so stupid and it could add even more spice, let’s say, into the game and it will add even more tactics because we will have to defend this line. You will have to know which player can shoot from this line or not, it will add space so the show will be better then there will be more space for drives, for dunk etc. So for me really a rule that we could change to, let’s say, add elements to the game would be to add a 4 point line

Which sports personality would you like to have dinner with?

Ok, so for me I will choose Michael Jordan. Why ? Because for me he’s the best basketball player of all time and in fact, it’s not even necessarily in relation to that, but it is in relation to his mindset. in fact, me, as I told you before, I had a lot of self-confidence problems and for me Michael Jordan is the ultimate person in terms of confidence and mentality. He had incredible self-confidence and mentality like we’ve never seen before. Before Kobe arrived etc. so for me he would really be the person I would like to have dinner with to discuss how he handled it, why he has the confidence in himself like that, why he has such a mentality. So that he teaches me a little to have this ability to be a killer, as they say, so that in my game it doesn’t impact me like it impacted me before. so I had a lot of moments where my confidence held me back, it made me do things that I know I could do, I couldn’t do so that’s really the person I would like meet to talk about that and develop my mind and my mindset and be a winner, as they say, as he is.

which athlete or coach impresses you the most today?

So, today, I know this will surprise you but it’s Derrick Rose. Why Derrick Rose? Because he is a player that we have known to be very explosive, very very strong in penetration, super athletic. He had a lot of injuries, huge injuries and despite that he managed to adapt, he managed to change his whole game. He restructured his whole game. It’s something that is very hard to do and despite all this he is still as dominant as before his injuries. So, for me, it’s incredible because he had a lot of injuries and he was a player who, let’s say, bet everything on his physical ability and managed to transfer that into a very technical player. It is very impressive. So he impresses me the most because he is a player who lasted over time despite everything that happened to him, he never gave up. He even played a game once at 52 points, he cried, we saw his emotions. It was really, for me, something very touching. He is a player who never gave up, and who managed to surpass what we thought he could no longer do and despite that, was very strong and remained very strong. For me he is a player who is still very, very strong today despite everything that has happened to him. Derrick Rose, he’s someone who impresses me the most and he’s someone I respect enormously at the moment.

A final word?

Last word for the end, as you see I am a very positive person, at least I try to be. So for me it’s trying to be positive towards everyone, towards others, push yourself towards success. Succeed yourself so you can put your loved ones in good stead and be careful about what you do in life because every action has consequences. So for me, really try to be positive, there is already a lot of unhappiness in life so don’t add to it, don’t do unnecessary drama. Life goes fast. me in 2020 with covid and other reasons, I lost a lot of people so I saw that life was going very fast so please stay positive, tell the people you love that you love them, don’t make a scene for nothing, don’t sulk for nothing, stay really positive and that’s the last word for me. Stay positive, life is short and have fun, try to enjoy yourself as much as possible, your loved ones as much as possible and enjoy life.

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