ABC News(NEW YORK) — For this week’s podcast episode of Everybody’s Got Something, Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts went one-on-one with former NBA great Kenny Anderson. At one time, he was the most sought after basketball player in the nation, but after retiring from the game he loved at 35 — and losing his beloved mother — he bottomed out with a DUI charge that cost him a coaching position at a private high school in Florida.
“I was in a daze. It was a bad time in my life and I had to regroup — reinvent myself, because I have my kids,” said Kenny. “I wanted to try and get better for them…just looking in the mirror and saying, ‘I got to stop what I’m doing and going down this path. I’ve got to get better.’”
In a new documentary, Mr. Chibbs, Kenny is followed through a candid, sad and hopeful journey about some of the toughest issues he’s faced – issues like the excessive drinking rumors that followed him throughout his career, his molestation as a youth by two men, including a coach, and how he ended up spending all of the $63 million dollars he made in his career before filing for bankruptcy.
“You know, there’s a bunch of guys that’s running around with demons that’s ashamed of them,” Kenny said. “Everyone has them — and so everyone can help someone.”
At first, Kenny wrestled with whether or not he should even make the documentary. Ultimately, he decided to in order to help others and help himself — using the filmmaking as a form of therapy.
“It put good pressure on me because now that I came out in my documentary, this is what I plan on doing, and this is my life,” said Kenny. “You know, I got to practice what I preach. I can’t just be talking now.”
His kids play a big role in his life, and he wants others to learn from his mistakes. The relationship with his each of his children is different, but his love for all of them is the same.
“I’m trying to get back in their lives. I’ve been in and out of their lives,” Kenny said. “I live with my son and daughter now in Florida, which is great. They get the best of Kenny. They got the best of Mr. Chibbs because they grew up with me. My other kids are somewhat jealous, so I’m dealing with them now which is tough. I’m still going through it every day.”
Another part of his past Kenny opens up about in Mr. Chibbs is the time that he was molested — twice. Something that was hard for him to talk about in the film for many reasons.
“It was taboo…I put up a wall. It was weird, this is the only thing in the documentary that’s still eerie with me,” he said. “I’m trying to express it and talk about it but it bothers me.”
Kenny has had many partners over the years, something he says may have stemmed from being sexually assaulted.
“That’s where the womanizing with me comes in,” said Kenny. “That’s why I lived like that. I put my chest up like, ‘I’m a man!’”
For Kenny, the documentary was an opportunity to use his voice to help others like him feel comfortable enough to speak out.
“I’ve been seeing stuff on the news about kids getting molested every day, so I’m like — I have a voice,” said Kenny. “I have to say something to maybe help somebody else. It all goes back to paying it forward.”
In the Everybody’s Got Something episode, Kenny really digs deep into his past, looking at the game he loves: basketball — something that’s given him so much, but has also caused him so much pain.
“I love it, and I’m lucky, and I’m blessed that basketball has opened so many doors for me,” Kenny said. “I could never disrespect the game. It was a blessing, and then I’m doing a documentary on my life, guys are coming to me saying thank you for doing it — and I’m looking like, how could me, little Kenny from LeFrak City, get here?”
Kenny calls himself a “work in progress,” something many of us can relate to. At the end of the day, there’s a little Kenny Anderson in all of us. Make sure to check out his documentary, Mr. Chibbs.
You can hear Kenny Anderson’s full interview on Robin’s podcast, Everybody’s Got Something.
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