In 2005, I retired after my 11th year in the NBA. My immediate plan was to pursue my goal of graduating from the University of Cincinnati. While I was contemplating on how I was going to get that done, I received a call from Coach Bob Huggins and Mike Thomas. Mike Thomas was the athletic
director for the University of Cincinnati. They both convinced me to be
assistant coach for the men’s basketball team. Coach Huggins was leaving and both gentlemen agreed that this would be a good opportunity for me. It was only going to be for 1 year. I agreed! After a successful season, I
immediately enrolled in UC to complete my bachelor’s degree in Criminal justice. The motivation for wanting to graduate was based on my family. I was going to be the first in my family to have a degree from a four-year
University. Everyone was so proud of me for returning to school after 11 years. I worked very hard, I thought about all the basketball camps I had been invited to speak at, and how I stressed to the kids the value of a
college degree. That next year I would be able to back it up. Now I could tell them “I did it and so can you”. Everyone was so proud of me for returning to UC, my family, coaches, friends and most of all me!
Finally! My graduation day arrived, I was surrounded by family and friends, and they all attended to show their support for me. Graduation was
beautiful. The ceremony was followed by a celebration. I wore my cap and gown all day long; it was my badge of honor. I was truly a proud man that day. Looking back, I can recall when I removed my cap and gown that
evening, I thought to myself, “WOW!” This is it! I was extremely inspired;
I wanted to create something that could carry on the true essence of
graduation. I wanted something that would bring positive recognition to everyone who achieves academic success. This inspired the birth of
Gradu8 Apparel “Wear it with pride!”

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Corie Blount
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