[Passion to Purpose]: Horace Adonus Burton, President & Founder of The Sky Is The Limit Basketball
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

Name: Horace Adonus Burton

Profession: President & Founder of The Sky Is The Limit Basketball

Age: 48

I have put my passion to purpose by: I have contributed to my industry by creating a platform where youth can realize their athletic dreams by participating in my high quality basketball camps and training programs. This program has been responsible for developing the talents of more than 50 collegiate athletes in 14 years. The program also gives hundreds of aspiring basketball players yearly access to high quality and high level college and professional athletes that contribute their time to help them become better basketball players but, more importantly, better individuals. These athletes also serve as positive role models and mentors for our youth to emulate by teaching them the importance of maintaining solid grades, sustaining a strong work and preserving a positive attitude.

Championing for others has been a lifelong mission of Horace Adonus Burton, the president & founder of The Sky Is The Limit Basketball. The mentee and partner of Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Burton’s program serves as a positive outlet in aiding youth to discover their sense of self-worth and driving ambition-centered athletics. The former High School All-American and Golden State Warrior is well aware of his unique way of mentoring, especially with young men of color. “My position as a former collegiate and professional basketball player gives me a unique and impactful platform to be heard. Having this label, coupled with the passion that I have for youth to succeed, sets me apart from the rest. My program is the epitome of uniqueness because it’s not just about basketball, but a process of building strong character, disciplined minds and healthy bodies,” he states.

But the desire to mentor young men derives from a will to find the inspiration in others. According to Burton, “I’m inspired by youth that are proactively responding reactively to making their dreams become reality. Once my inspiration is implanted in youth and that inspiration is reciprocated and projected by them, it makes everything all worthwhile.”

Having a successful career in sports, nationally and internationally, has taught Burton about about the art of leadership and utilizing that skill to plant seeds into a community garden of young seedlings. “The best piece of advice I can offer to younger generations and BE Modern Man hopefuls is to surround yourself with positive people and never give up on your dreams. Develop a plan and establish a good support system of people that are aligned with your way of thinking and that believe in what you do. This makes the road to success much easier, ” he explains to BE Modern Man.

But his journey has not been as smooth as one would think. “One of the most challenging moments that I have experienced was tearing my Achilles tendon two days before signing a professional contract to play in Luxembourg. It was challenging because of [the] extensive rehabilitation I had to endure on my road to an entire year of recovery. Also, it was a tremendous disappointment because I trained extremely hard to prepare for the opportunity.”

But never to give up is one sign of a genuine leader and Burton knew his experiences, good or bad, would provide a blueprint for the generation to come. “My greatest achievement personally and professionally was being able to use my expertise and knowledge as a professional athlete to create a business that has helped thousands of youth realize their potential on and off the basketball court by providing a high quality basketball training and development program.

In an industry where most athletes, after their last dribble, are plagued with health and economic woes, Burton’s ability to re-invent himself into one of the few individuals giving back is extremely rare. “Leaders, like me, break through the static and make an impact amongst my peers by constantly raising the bar and challenging myself to be the best. Also, by positioning myself as a well- rounded and sought after expert in my field. Some of the pitfalls one should avoid while on the path of career discovery is not getting sidetracked by distractions. These distractions come in many forms, but usually these are individuals that derail your progress, either intentionally or unintentionally. At the end of the day, only you can determine what career will make you happy. Also, procrastination is another huge pitfall that hinders your progress. So, develop a plan and maintain the course,” he tells BE Modern Man.

Athletes, especially minorities, are not always portrayed in the most positive of light, especially in social climates where we are oftentimes deemed victims or perpetrators. “Men of color are not championed enough in the mainstream. They are mostly championed in the areas of sports and entertainment, and other stereotypical genres,” Burton tells BE Modern Man. “My narrative is very relative to mainstream media in terms of how people of color are often stereotyped. My position as a former professional athlete falls in the genre; however, the latter part of my narrative depicts an individual that is college educated and that has taken an idea based on experience and molded it into a business to help youth realize their potential on and off the basketball court. My narrative reflects a transition from playing the games of basketball to an entrepreneur that has created a business using basketball to drive ambition. Also, providing opportunities to help [young people] realize and understand how basketball and other sports [can be used to] propel them to levels of success in other fields of endeavor that are not stereotypical of people of color.”

BE Modern Man stories are why diversity in different sectors are needed to produce and promote well-rounded narratives surrounding black men needs and desires. “A BE Modern Man exemplifies mainstreaming men of color into a genre of positive perception. We are often perceived as under achievers when it comes to education, family providers, businessmen, and almost every field of human endeavor, except for the sports and music industry,” says Burton.  “A BE Modern Man sets the bar that mediocrity is not the standard for men of color, but a standard of excellence that we all strive to meet.”

The BlackEnterprise.com team salutes Horace Adonus Burton for his contributions to providing mentorship to the most underserved populations. Because of The Sky Is The Limit Basketball team, a new generation of forward thinking athletes will benefit, and that is why he is a BE Modern Man.

 

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