Growing up, many would have considered me unlikely to play professional basketball, especially for the length of time that I have played. As a young child, I enjoyed traveling, and being a military kid, I lived across the world. One summer in the States, I watched Michael Jordan play against the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1991 Finals. From then on, I knew that basketball was in my DNA, it is a primary part of my life’s purpose, and it is what God created me to do. And because I embraced that knowing, basketball embraced me. Basketball opened doors for me, developed me, shaped me, and sustained me for over 3 decades. And for that, I say, “Thank you, Basketball.”
Thank you, Basketball, for ensuring that throughout my life, I was surrounded by family who fueled my purpose. My Grandmother, Vera Lott, who I lived with the summer prior to moving to the UK in 2005, whose seeds of faith in God and belief in myself power me to this day. My Mother, Gail Lasker, who innately knew the right mix of love+support+freedom to pursue my hoop dreams to ensure that I was properly grounded in all aspects of my life. She knew in her heart that it was ok for me at 13 years old to leave the house at 11:00 pm every night to practice at Mary Jo Peckham Park with my friend Mike (without adult supervision) or ride my bike all over Katy to go ‘play basketball’. She knew that basketball was a part of my journey to get better, and she trusted me to make right choices when she was not there to watch me. My Father, Henry Lasker, for supporting me from afar and watching me emulate the discipline and commitment to basketball that he displayed in the Army. My Uncles, Frank Lasker who taught me about work ethic by taking me to work with him one summer and Eugene Lasker who would take me as a young child to play basketball with adults, understanding that it would sharpen my skills and (appropriately) thicken my skin.
Thank you, Basketball, for the opportunity to live out my professional aspirations. The sport that I love is also my job! I was able to ‘work’ in the UK (a country that is now my second home), while traveling to other countries (Israel, Kazakhstan, and Belgium, to name a few) and parts of the world that I would never have visited, but for basketball. I remember being in geography class during my freshman year of high school and learning about all these European countries and thinking those places are out of my stratosphere. Now they’re at my doorstep.
Thank you, Basketball, for creating the path for me to meet my wife, Ayshea. You knew that I would need the ultimate teammate off the court, and she is perfect for me. She has sacrificed her whole life to live in my shadow. The year that we met, I had my best professional season. For me, this confirmed that she was the one I wanted to take my life journey with. We are blessed with 2 beautiful children, and we
raise them in our dream home.
Thank you, Basketball, for equipping me with skills that transcend the basketball court and serve to prepare me for other aspects of life. You have empowered an introverted young boy from Brookshire, TX (USA) to become a confident public speaker, co-host of The BBL Show, sports commentator/analyst, business owner, and non-profit foundation director.
Thank you, Basketball, for the tough formative years in the sport. I was not a breakout star. I was often overlooked and underestimated. I only made the ‘C Team’ in 8 th grade, which felt like the worst thing in the world at that time. I sat on the bench throughout high school, disrespected by coaches and quitting never crossed my mind. I had to work to get there. Nothing was given to me. And I had to work (literally) while playing basketball…I started at McDonald’s at 15 years old, picking gum out of the parking lot and washing dishes. I held jobs ever since working all through my high school and college career.
Thank you, Basketball, for honoring my hard work in high school, but not in the traditional way. I was not a highly sought-after college recruit. Richland Thunderducks Junior College was the only school interested in recruiting me. But thanks to my cousin, Rod Watson, my path was steered to the first Coach that truly believed in me, Coach Wilmore. I took my raw talents to beautiful San Diego, California at Christian Heritage College (CHC) now known as San Diego Christian College, but not on scholarship. I had to take out student loans and bet on myself. Those first 3 months as a 17-year-old at CHC, I really ‘found’ my game and After my sophomore year, I followed Coach Wilmore and transferred to Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU). At PLNU, I became a 3-time All GSAC, two-time NAIA All American, and even led the conference in rebounding as a 6’3 guard. I am not saying that I was perfect, or that I did not have continued opportunities to learn the sport and grow. I simply became one with Basketball. I knew the sport. It spoke to me and through me. That success, however, did not make my transition
into the pros easy.
Thank you, Basketball, for stretching my faith in God beyond my limits as I left college. With every cell of my being, I was intent on playing at the professional level. I was not sought after by the NBA, and overseas prospects did not readily appear. So, I had to go back to working a ‘day’ job at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, while still working out daily. I stayed ready for the call to play, even though there were no signs that the call would ever come.
Thank you, Basketball, that the call finally came. After a year of working, I was invited by Athletes in Action to fly out to England and try out for some professional club, I could not afford the plane ticket to get there. I am forever thankful to the family in North Carolina (USA) who supported me while I played for Athletes in Action; they stepped in and gifted me airline miles for the flight for my tryouts. Had it not been for the generosity of this family, I would not be writing to this letter today. Period. God has used basketball to show me that everything happens for a reason, there are no coincidences or chance meetings, everyone is brought into my life for a reason, I must be a blessing to others, and I have to be humble enough to receive blessings from others.
Thank you, Basketball, for the entry point into the BBL with the Plymouth Raiders. I am forever indebted to Gary Stronach for taking that chance on me when no one else in the world would. Then Guildford Heat and the opportunity to later play with the Newcastle Eagles. From this point, much of my friendship with Basketball has played out on the court across 16 seasons. Thank you, Basketball, for all of my coaches and teammates. A special thank you to Fab Flournoy, who was my coach and remains my mentor and close friend.
Thank you, Basketball, for the communities in Texas, California, Plymouth, Guildford, and Newcastle which embrace me and allow me opportunities to give back to them and their youth.
Thank you, Basketball, those who have watched me play throughout my playing days. I am especially grateful those fans who I may never meet or know, but you took the time to cheer me on no matter what. There are no words that describe what your encouragement meant to me. So many of you have supported me on and off the court and it means the world every single time. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I hope that you have those in your life that cheer you on too.
Thank you, Basketball, for preparing me for the next season of my life. While I am retiring from basketball, I am not slowing down. I transfer my focus to legacy-building. Through my efforts, I want the Lasker name to be synonymous with hard work, dedication, and generosity. So, I will focus on growing my media company, 21 Media LLC, TrainHarder21 and my charity, 21 Foundation. While you will not see me on the court anymore, you can bet my 2nd act will be far greater than the first! You can keep track or support me at drewlasker.com or drewlasker21 on all social media channels.
Above all, I thank God, for everything. All of this was possible because of You. Thank you for all of the blessings You have given me, and for basketball to be connected to them all. It’s only right I sign off in 2021!
I am 16-year professional European basketball player in the United Kingdom. I began my BBL career with the Plymouth Raiders and I am currently in my 7th season with the Newcastle Eagles. In my 7 seasons with Newcastle, I have won a total of 9 Titles.
During the offseason, I reside in my hometown of Katy, Texas. I attended Katy High School ’00 where I was a two-year Varsity letterman on the Men’s basketball team. Following High School, I was able to continue my basketball career at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California. During my time there, I was a 3-time All GSAC, 2-time NAIA All American, and I was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in November 2018.
Drew Lasker is a highly sought-after public speaker, with expertise in a wide range of sports and leadership development topics with appearances on Sky Sports and multiple popular podcasts.
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Founded in 2007, TrainHarder21 aims to help basketball players across the globe improve their game. Our team of dedicated staff offers a host of training options to meet your needs, delivered digitally or in person. Our training is delivered either through Private (121 or small group) or Group sessions.
With the recent COVID 19 pandemic, we launched our Digital training services. Our digital training via Private Zoom sessions and through online camps with daily sessions focusing on ball handling & skill, strength and conditioning, and Basketball IQ with expert feedback and support from Drew. Our digital curriculum will help you develop your fundamental skills and gain the self-belief and confidence required to be a great player.
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21 Media was established in 2020 by Drew & long-time mentor and friend Yvonne Harris. 21 Media was set up to help businesses run, produce and market their podcasts. With podcast listenership growing exponentially, Drew & Yvonne saw an opening to help businesses capitalize on this popular marketing tool.
With an experienced team of producers, editors, designers, and marketing pros 21 Media is fully equipped to take podcasts from concept to reality.