Roland Lazenby is living proof that anything is possible

Roland Lazenby speaking at Radford University COMS Week 2016

By Devon Battles

When someone begins to tell their success story, they usually start with their accomplishments, and a long list of endeavors. Roland Lazenby surely wasn’t afraid to tell where he started from, even if it meant sharing his failures.

“If I didn’t screw up everything in my young life, I wouldn’t have found success,” Lazenby stressed.

Lazenby graduated at the bottom of his high school class with a 2.0 GPA, and then graduated from Virginia Military Institute with a 1.9 GPA. Although, Lazenby wasn’t a stand out scholar in high school, he was able to take away a few vital pointers.

“The assignments that are given to you in college aren’t just silly exercises, this will be a part of your life,” said Lazenby.

He later went on to receive his graduate degree at Hollins University, for which he received a full ride with the help of the “Roanoke Times”.

“I went from being loser incorporated to accomplishing a lot, I would say that a lot of luck was involved,” Lazenby emphasized.

He is one of the most famous sports writers, and is primarily known for a book entitled “Michael Jordan: The Life”.

Lazenby had the opportunity to sit down, and interview one of the greatest players to ever touch a basketball, Michael Jordan. He explained that Jordan was one of the most humble sports figures he had ever met, which is a reflection of a family member.

“MJ never allowed people to know why he was so passionate about those who were handicapped, but it was because of his great grandfather, Dawson Jordan.”

He explained that Dawson was a huge factor in the Jordan family being that he was an elderly handicapped man, who was also a single father to Michael’s father.

Lazenby laid out the roots of Dawson’s life, and went on to stress that family stories are one of the most powerful, and captivating. “Content and humanity is what matters the most, and what to look for in journalism,” Lazenby said.

His passion to work came from the passing away of his father, who was one of the biggest basketball fans Lazenby ever knew. Lazenby was able to value his father’s basketball passion to a point that drove his career down a virtuous path.

“My father was always a huge basketball fan, so when I wrote basketball stories it made me feel close to him,” said Lazenby.

Lazenby views sports writing as just a metaphor of explaining how important your family is. “To understand an athlete, you have to understand their family,” Lazenby said.

Apr 21, 2016
School of Communication