Robles finished seventh last year at the NCAA championships and fourth two years ago. This year, he dedicated himself to winning the title and went 36-0 for an undefeated season. The 17,099 people in the stadium gave Robles a standing ovation after the win.
What one has to love about the Anthony Robles story is that it goes beyond what we've seen in standard black athletic achievements. Michael Jordan, LeBron James and other black athletes are fascinating to watch, but no story compares with Robles'. Anthony is unique for two reasons, one being obvious and the other being not-so-obvious; winning the title with one leg is enough to grab a headline, but what's equally interesting is that Robles represents a growing number of African-American men who are seeking to excel in sports outside of basketball and football.
Black males love to play sports, and it's okay to do so, as long as we continue to teach the importance of balancing athletic achievement with our academic endeavors. It makes no sense to be a genius on the basketball court and a dunce in the classroom. Additionally, by spreading into other sports such as tennis, golf, wrestling, etc., we can avoid the dangers of football and the talent bottleneck of basketball. Everyone can't be the next Carmelo Anthony, but there's plenty of room for the next Serena Williams.
What's most fascinating about Anthony's achievement is that he serves as a reminder to all of us that we are only limited by our desire when it comes to achieving our goals. By being committed to your purpose and possessing a willingness to sacrifice in order to get ahead, there is almost nothing you can't do. Now that Anthony has conquered the feat of a lifetime, I sincerely hope he can give a thousand speeches and cash in on his success. Way to go Anthony, you've inspired us all.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your e-mail, please click here. To follow Dr. Boyce on Facebook, please click here.