Matthew Mithoefer / Lantern photographer
Popular college basketball analyst and commentator for ESPN, Jay Bilas, spent his Thursday night with Ohio State students.
Bilas gave OSU students a pep talk on life while talking about his own journey as a student-athlete at Duke University, getting drafted by the Dallas Mavericks, playing basketball professionally in Italy and Spain, his career as an attorney, and his start in radio.
In an interview with The Lantern prior to the start of the event, titled I Gotta Go To Work With Jay Bilas, he said he hoped students could take away a valuable message from the evening.
“College is an important springboard and a great opportunity, but there is so much more after college,” Bilas said. “The path you think you’re heading on right now is probably not the one you’ll wind up on, and that’s why you have to prepare yourself to do a number of different things. I’ve wound up on a lot of different paths and I’m pretty lucky to have found the one I’m on now.”
The event, held at the Ohio Union, was put on by the Ohio Union Activities Board.
MacGregor Obergfell, OUAB’s lecture committee chair, said he thought OSU students could gain a lot of knowledge from Bilas and his journey.
“His attitude of hard work and dedication is something that is applicable to all Ohio State students,” Obergfell said. “Jay’s hard work has paid off in the form of a successful law career, a stint in the NBA, coaching collegiate basketball, and as one of the most popular on-air personalities.”
Bilas is also popular among some students because of his Twitter page, @JayBilas, where he tweets about almost anything from basketball to rap lyrics.
Obergfell said Bilas’ Twitter page has “taken a life of its own.”
“Social media is obviously something college students care about, and Jay Bilas plays the social media game very well,” he said.
Bilas said his wife was actually the one that got him on Twitter to showcase who he is outside of basketball.
“It’s been a lot of fun and she felt it was a way to show my personality,” Bilas said. “People see me as this basketball X and O guy, and she thinks I’m more than that. She might be right, she might be wrong, but it’s been able to show my diverse taste in music, what I find funny, and then other things I might find topical.”
Bilas also spoke about attending OSU basketball practice, OSU football and his “unconditional love for the game of basketball.”
Marshall Curtis, a third-year in international studies, said he thinks one thing Bilas talked about will stick with him.
“He said something in the beginning of not saying no to an opportunity and you can always quit later if you don’t like it,” Curtis said. “That was really interesting.”