GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- For Charlotte Hornets President Fred Whitfield home is Southeast Guilford County and one of his favorite places is Southeast Guilford High School, home of the Falcons.
"It's my foundation... it's where I grew up. I walked these same halls. I love this school," he says.
That's why Whitfield wanted to come back to his alma mater, to encourage the school's student-athletes to dream big.
Whitfield played many sports at Southeast and last year the school retired his basketball jersey. In addition to his work with the Hornets, he's also an accomplished attorney, a sports agent and marketer not to mention he runs several charities including his Achievements Unlimited Basketball Camp which has been going for more than 35 years.
None of this, he says, could have been possible if he had not put education first in his life, instead of athletics.
According to Whitfield, "My mom and dad pounded me every day about how important education was, how it was a difference-maker, how it would get me prepared for Plan B if I wasn't good enough to be a pro athlete, which I wasn't."
Whitfield always talks about Plan B when he speaks with students because he knows the reality is that only about 1 percent of athletes are able to go play professional... but they can take that passion and turn it into something else that's great and wonderful.
"I wanted this to be all about the kids, not about me. Not about my career, but about them. What they were thinking about," says Whitefield. "What's in their heads. What can inspire them to dream big dreams. And I just wanted them to understand anything they want in life they have to be prepared for, whether it's in sports, education, a career, they've got to be prepared."