Interviews

Interview with Wesley G. Frater who mentors inner city sport athletes

Written by Xavier Murphy

Where in Jamaica are you from and how long have you lived in the USA?

A: I was born in Bethany Alexandria, St. Ann Jamaica. I have lived USA since 1969

How did you get involved in sports? Were you an athlete?

A: I played basketball at Miami Central High as well as Florida Memorial University

How did you get involved in mentoring young inner city Black and Hispanic youth?

A: I started TOC/WSM in 1992. I lived in Liberty City so it was a natural for me to try and assist black youths.

What are some of the life lessons you teach these young men? How difficult is it to stress education first when society teaches these young men the opposite?

A: Stressing education to today’s athletes is a hard task…however the hard cold facts of life is even if you are a superstar athlete…you will one day soon after 30 years old need to depend on your education background. It’s not what you make but what you keep. Miami boast tons of former athletes who are now financially BROKE.

Did your Jamaican upbringing influence you in stressing education first?

A: Being Jamaican had nothing to do with education. I was NOT a education genius. I graduated LAST in my class of 400 and dropped out of college after 5 years. I knew the importance of READING and EXPOSURE. Both were the key to my success.

The South Florida area is one of the hot spots for recruiting athletes for college. There are rumors that ‘gifts’ and promises of college entry without good grades are used to attract these youth. How do you compete against this type of pressure? Can you explain some of there resistance you have experience to this type of mentoring?

A: I worked for Saperstein Sports Management, INC after dropping out of college in 1986. Saperstein Sports Management was owned by Eloise Saperstein who is the daughter of founder and owner of the Harlem Globetrotters. This job exposed me to the world of sports behind the scenes.

I founded and presently own Americas most prestigious all-star football game…The Nike South Florida All-Star Football Game held each January that attracts over 10,000 fans and hundreds of college recruiters. My approach to the conduct and what is expected from these superstar athletes is simply. It is my event, my ball, my rules and I am bigger than any one child. I set all rules and they are old fashion and have been followed by every single athlete who has ever come out of our events including over 20 NFL stars and 5 NBA players. I dont have a hard time at all getting my message across…my way or NO WAY.

What do you say to a young man who wants to come out of college early because he fears injury? Or to a single mother who wants her son to make it quick to support the family?

A: I do not advise athletes on what to do by leaving early or staying. Those decisions are those for himself and his parents. I blame NO man for taking 20 million dollars while waiting for an education that will never give him 1 million. He has to have the brains to know what to do with the 20 million. No reporter or businessman would refuse 20 million. I neither commend it nor knock it.

Can you name some of the successful athlete you have mentored?

A: Keyon Dooling, Tim James, Udonis Haslem, James Jones and all football players from South Florida. I do NOT personally interact with players. I talk as a group to them and let the chips lay where they fall. I do not get personal with athletes. I fear them thinking I want something from them…this is where the Jamaican pride steps in (hahahahah). There are NFL players who have played in some my events that I have never spoken to personally…my job is to tell the truth and not to make friends with them.

Tell us about clinics you do in the Caribbean? Any plans for basketball clinics in Jamaica this summer? Will you be attending the Caribbean basketball tournament in Jamaica this summer?

A: My accountant Ingrid Bachelor will host her annual camp June 12-16 in Montego Bay with 5 NFL players and 3 NBA. I will host my annual basketball camp July 27-30th in Ocho Rios with Miami Heat Wali Jones. This annual camp is personal to me and i do it so hopefully there is another Wesley Frater.

The debate on how to save the black male has increased over the past few years. What are your thoughts on this?

A: Each man has to step up and be accounted for”. I have a lot to say on this subject but prefer to refer to the comments of Bill Cosby as the same way I feel…exactly.

I hate to put you on the spot but I am known to ask one off beat question when I do interviews. If you were to magically switch bodies with an athlete to give a lecture to young athletes, who would it be?

A: Muhammad Ali is the only human being as an athlete I would consider a hero and I would trade places with. I have NO hero in the NBA or NFL.

Thanks for the interview. Do you have a message for the active young people of today who are considering sports as a career?

A: NO one should consider sports as a career. I was not good, or smart…I was lucky, LUCKY…sports is not a career to put as a dream. Academic accomplishments will NOT help you with a job in sports…its who you know.

About the author

Xavier Murphy