I caught up with one of the best players ever to wear a uniform in IHSA history, none other than Ronnie Fields. In high school some may remember that Ronnie Fields was once one of the most highly recruited players in the nation. Due to a series of incidents his path to NBA superstardom was derailed but Ronnie Fields has found a bigger purpose in being a coach to grade school youth. I had the opportunity to speak with some of his players who praised him as a coach and mentor. While we often in society praise superstar athletes the work that Ronnie Fields is doing is the contribution to society worthy of praise. I also got to quiz him on his musical tastes.
Audio Fuzz: How are you doing?
Ronnie Fields: I’m doing good, just hosting a Back to School Tournament for the kids, just giving them something to look forward to as the year starts for them to have some fun, talk to them, get their year off right.
Audio Fuzz: What was the start of you getting into basketball and becoming a legendary player?
Ronnie Fields: For me now being a player and a coach. Going to the playground a lot. Watching a lot of sports on TV and just going out their just having fun out their on the court before a couple of coaches watched me and seen me play and asked me to come and try out for a team. And then I ended up getting cut the first year, my sixth grade year. I enjoyed playing so much in the morning on the playground, that I continued to keep working and playing…a lot, all day long just to continue to get better and then the next year I ended up making the team and from there I continued to keep working and ended up being one of the top eighth graders and a lot of things, hidden talent that I had in me, that I was blessed with, started to come out.
Audio Fuzz: By your sophomore you’re the first sophomore in the All American Game with future NBA’ers Allen Iverson and Kevin Garnett was there any trepidation on your part as far as whether you belonged their because you were only a sophomore?
Ronnie Fields: For me the transition was a lot easier for me because when I grew up I was playing on the playgrounds of my grammar school Mason Elementary, they used to have a Pro-AM outside with a lot of older guys, so I blended in playing with those guys, it wasn’t like a lot of minutes, three or four minutes here or there, five minutes. I got used to the speed, the knowledge of what they were doing. I figured if I could play with those adults it was easy for me to adjust playing with high school kids.
Audio Fuzz: I think when you think of Ronnie Fields you think of 50 vertical inch leap, what did you do to improve your vertical inch leap?
Ronnie Fields: Thats God given ability, but a lot of times with all of the God given ability, a lot of working hard. Coaches used to put us through good training methods even in high school to prepare us for the season, from a conditioning standpoint, from a weight room standpoint. We did all of that at an early age, so for me it was a lot easier to adjust.
Audio Fuzz: What was it like playing with Kevin Garnett?
Ronnie Fields: For me the first time getting a chance to see him play for a guy that size with that ability to pass, shoot, at 6’10-6’11 I learned a lot from him, like wow. Playing along a great player like that it also elevates your game. It’s either going to elevate your game or your going to find yourself in a situation where you’re not looking to get better along another great player. Some kids can look at it a different way, I was there first and lot of them can look at like he’s stealing your spotlight. For me it was an honor to play with him because we shared it and were able to do some amazing things together.
Audio Fuzz: What was the experience like playing overseas and playing in the CBA?
Ronnie Fields: The knowledge you gain going through the difficult part of making it to the professional level. A lot of players strive to be there but the time as young as I was I was playing with older people so I had to prepare for myself and be ready to elevate myself as continued to go because it got tougher and tougher for guys trying to make it to the next level or make it overseas, it was a harder journey for me.
Audio Fuzz: What are your top five exercise songs?
Ronnie Fields: Whitney Houston “How Will I Know”, Anita Baker “No One in the World”, 2Pac “How Do you Want It”, Phil Collins “In the Air Tonight”, and Mary J. Blige “Cant Keep a Good Woman Down”.
Ryan Glover is a contributing writer for http://www.audiofuzz.com Follow him on Twitter @ActorRGlover, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your Google network