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Sarasota Athlete of the Week: 05.11.17

Sarasota Athlete of the Week: 05.11.17

Brian Speight.
Brian Speight.
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Brian Speight is a Sarasota resident and a basketball alumnus of Booker High, Florida College and the University of North Florida. He now plays in The Bunker League's 40+ division. 

When did you start playing basketball?

I started playing basketball as a freshman in high school in 1986. I had a high school coach named Wade Bellamy. I was a trainer on the basketball team. One night, they were scrimmaging, and they were short a guy on the varsity team. He asked me to come out, to help out. I played, and I was getting rebounds and hustling, and he said, "Hey, you're playing basketball from now on." He taught me how to play ball. 

What is the appeal of basketball to you?

Just the competition. Every play is different, every game is different. You have different matchups. Who can figure out how to win? 

What is your favorite basketball memory?

My favorite memory is going to the state tournament in college in 1992, when I played at Florida College. My sophomore season. I scored 24 points in front of a hometown crowd at the Manatee Civic Center (now the Bradenton Area Convention Center), including 19 straight in the second half. 

What hobbies do you have?

I drag race. I just got back from Georgia drag racing cars. My father (John Speight) started me in it as a kid. When I'm not playing basketball, I'm drag racing. 

Why do you wear No. 32?

Magic Johnson was an inspiration. I like underdogs. If I can get 32, I try and get it.  

What is your favorite TV show or movie?

I like karate movies, and I like sci-fi movies. I think my favorite show right now, as we speak, is probably The Badlands.

What was the best vacation you have had?

My fiancee (Emily Morris) took me on my first cruise ever. We went to the Bahamas for like a little three-day cruise. I'm not a fan of water, so she wanted to break me in and stuff. Now, we have another cruise planned, a five-day cruise. 

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

Never give up on what you think you can accomplish. Never give up. If people say you can't do something, if you listen to them, then you can't do it. If you just do what you feel you can do and keep moving forward, I think you can achieve anything.

When was the time you laughed the hardest?

That's a good one. I laugh so much, man, I can't even put a hand on one of them. I'm a clown. I'll keep it basketball-related. My friend (Steve Alexander) went for a layup. He shot the ball over the goal, caught it, then tried to shoot it back over the goal again. The whole crowd was laughing, stomping the bleachers and stuff. That was probably five years ago. 

Finish this sentence: "Brian Speight is ... "

... A very loyal person who does his best to be his best. I'll put myself second behind my buddies. Whatever I do, I'll try to be the best at it. 


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