Ken Griffey Jr., Tiger Woods

Griffey’s Words of Wisdom for a Young Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods’ mea culpa today called to mind something Ken Griffey Jr. told us several years ago, when Woods was not yet known as anything but a world-beating golfer.

The question had to do with passing down baseball’s code from generation to generation, but Griffey veered off course and drew Woods—who as a young professional moved into Griffey’s Orlando neighborhood—into the discussion.

They’re words of wisdom. Had Tiger payed closer attention, the clip below might never have been necessary.

When Tiger moved down (to Orlando), he’d come over and my wife would cook for him. You want to make sure that the next generation of athletes understands what’s going on. Tiger asked me a question: “How do you deal with media?” I told him, “I’m not the one you need to talk to. The person you’re going to have to talk to is Michael (Jordan), because I wear a uniform and I don’t stand out that much. I’m not 6-foot-6 or 6-foot-7. Everybody knows that bald head anywhere.”

A couple of days later, that’s when he played golf with Michael and was on the Oprah Winfrey Show. I told him, “You wear street clothes to play a sport, and people are going to notice you wherever you go. Me, I’ve got a chance because they’re going to look at me and say, ‘Is that him, or isn’t it?’ Unless they’re really true baseball fans, they’re not going to know.” I told him, “I’m not going to sit there and sugarcoat things. You’re going to like some things, and dislike some things.”

The biggest thing is getting the right people by you. People you can trust all the time. It’s not easy. I’ve got the same friends from when I was 12. When I moved out to Seattle, they moved out there. When I moved to Orlando, they moved again. I’m still in Orlando, but when I went to Cincinnati, they came up to visit me—they said, “Nooooo, not gonna move there,” but that’s okay.

– Jason

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