Tony Bishop is a professional international basketball player who travels the world playing ball. He grew up in Garland, Texas just 20 minutes outside of downtown Dallas. Growing up, he was overlooked by many coaches any schools, but put in endless hours of work and dedication to make his dreams come true and refusing to believe the coaches who told him he couldn’t make it as a top collegiate athlete, let alone a professional one.
When asked, “Who is Tony Bishop” he replied, “Tony Bishop is a relentless individual who has adapted and overcome every obstacle thrown his way. He lives to inspire others through his journey.”
Thanks for your time, At COSIGN we believe that no story should go untold. Tell us about your journey. What’s your story?
Raised in East Garland, Texas and went to Rowlett High School I didn’t take basketball serious until my senior year in high school. I pllayed fairly well my senior year and averaged 18 points and 14 rebounds. I also led all Dallas 5A in rebounds. I wasn’t recruited by many schools, but had a lot of D2 and a couple D1 offers, but no scholarships.
I ended up going to Richland Community College in North Dallas where coach John Felmet pushed me to limits I didn’t know I could reach. My two years there were the most competitive I’ve ever had. I played with so many guys who were straight dogs that didn’t take no bullshit from anyone on and off the court. We pushed each other everyday and wanted to make a name for ourselves. Freshman year I would wake up at 6am and get shots up and work on my game and the results showed. I was freshman of the year. Second season as a team we had goals to win a championship. So practices would be brutal, Felmet pushing us and players holding each other accountable. That season we won a National Championship and I was awarded Player Of The Year.
I remember coaches telling me I wouldn’t play Division 1 basketball that drove me and even had my coach and my university (Texas State) tell me I won’t be 1st all conference or play professional. That also pushed me!
At Texas State University I played two years, had a good coaching staff learned from some great minds but I didn’t play well my junior season and senior year I started out averaged 17 & 13rebounds and had agents contacting me that’s when I knew i could play professional so then I started working harder.
I started my professional career in Denmark only making $1100, that’s nothing for an American coming overseas but it was an opportunity and I made the best of it. Now I’m 10 years in the game, I’ve been counted out so many times but lasting this long in the game shows my work ethic
How does life overseas compare to the U.S. and how is it like raising a family out there?
Life overseas is an adjustment once you touch down in Europe. My second year professionally I was the only American on a team in Lithuania, my head coach didn’t speak any English and I was one of 10 black people in the country from my knowledge.
Some places they’ll just throw you in the fire with no help in the country have to find things out yourself and other places they’ll help with everything. I’ve had the best of both.
I love raising my family overseas they get to see a different world. My girls are young now so they won’t remember much but my son will remember. He’s seen a lot of poverty and seen how easy we have it in America. I hope he takes it to heart and understands that we’re blessed.
As a Panamanian tell us how it feels to be able to represent your country and play basketball for Team Panama?
Playing for the country I’m from is a great honor. My mother was born and raised in Panama and our roots are strong there. My grandma still lives there she doesn’t want to leave. Playing basketball for Panama is one of the best feelings in the world. I get chills while playing, we represent the culture, we play for each other, we play as one. This summer we get a chance to make the olympics. So we have to go hard!
What has been the proudest moment in your career thus far?
The proudest moment in my career to this point is winning forward of the year. Now receiving an Individual award is an honor of but the trials I went through that season made it my proudest moment. I almost tore my achilles and was out a month thankfully it was only strained. I also had to deal with a coach who purposely withheld my name from all star voting and continuously tried to take me out of my game.
Tell us about your foundation “Eat Or Get Ate.”
I started the foundation in 2016 while I was playing in Japan. I’ve been going by that motto since I was a junior in college. For me I always was the underdog. I had so many who didn’t believe in me and I knew if I worked harder than the next I would achieve anything. I also want to inspire the youth sand show them that it doesn’t matter where you come from, or people that don’t believe in you just work harder than the next in anything you do!
What made you want to create this and what do you hope to accomplish with this foundation?
The foundation has free camps for the kids each summer also working on after school programs for the kids in my community amongst other things.
I built eat or get ate are being a professional, holding yourself accountable and patience these values helped me get in the right direction.
What do you believe your purpose in life is?
I believe my goal in life is to inspire. All the obstacles God put me through it’s only right to share my knowledge with the youth.
What are some life lessons you’ve learned playing basketball that you’ve used to help you build Eat Or Get Ate?
I learned in basketball to be professional, hold yourself accountable and I learned patience. These values helped me get in the right direction.
What is your favorite quote that you live by?
It’s a quote from Nipsey Hussle. “The game is going to test ya. Never fold, stay 10 toes down.”
Let’s talk NBA Playoffs real quick. Who do you have winning it all this year and why?
I have lakers winning it all this year. LeBron is the all around best player and he’ll most definitely carry his team to a championship.
What advice would you give to younger athletes who want to play professional basketball?
My advice would be to work on your craft everyday that includes your skills and your body. Shooting/dribbling/weights/stretching/yoga all that. Cause if you’re not working hard just know someone else is. And study the game NBA/euro league high quality basketball.
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