On Tuesday, Mulrain was speaking to a different group of athletes, this group a little less famous, at the Eddie Lee Wilkins summer math camp at J.H. Morgan Gym as he imparted a message to the youngsters in attendance.
“The specific message is that most of these kids want to be professional athletes, but not all of them are going to be professional athletes. [Mulrain] deals with athletes and he’s an attorney, so he gets to sort of live the life, but in a different way, by representing athletes. I thought it was important for the kids to know that, even if you don’t make it to the NBA or NFL, there are other avenues that you can take to be successful,” Wilkins said.
Mulrain is a managing partner out of Atlanta at Gordon & Rees, LLP., a law firm with 600 lawyers in 30 offices around the country, and is the chair of the national sports and entertainment group. Over the years, he’s represented 50 Cent, Steve Harvey, Gabrielle Union and Pauly D, among others.
Mulrain used his own experiences in the sports industry and his experiences as a youth to advise the young campers.
“I grew up in New York City. One of the things that I really understand about kids is that the notion of being a professional athlete is something that a lot of them have, and you always want to share with kids that they can achieve anything that they want. But, candidly, you have a greater chance of hitting the Georgia lottery 10 times than of ever becoming a professional athlete. In the history of Cartersville, there’s been one player ever to make it out of this town to the NBA. So most of these kids have to do something else,” Mulrain said. “And I was just like these kids. I think they have to see people beyond professional athletes to understand these are regular people who are in the exact same situation I was years ago and I can become that and be like that.
“That’s really my mission in terms of kids, to make they understand it’s all do-able and we can put people in front of them that were exactly like they were 20 years ago, or whatever the case might be.”
Mulrain related to his audience Tuesday by using the analogy of a basketball player picking up his or her dribble.
“I said don’t pick up your dribble because, let’s say it’s in basketball, if you pick up your dribble then you don’t have an opportunity to dribble to another location and get a better shot. If you keep your dribble, it means maintain your options in life to get in better positions to be successful. Hopefully, they got it since they’re into basketball,” he said.
At least one camper heard the message and learned from the experience.
“[Mulrain] asked me what would I fall back on,” camper Jykel Baldwin said. “Because if I don’t make it to the pros, I would fall back on going to the Army. I’m going to have to rely on my schoolwork to try to get me somewhere.”
A former Cass graduate and professional basketball player, Wilkins has brought several successful members of the sports industry to talk to his campers over the 25 years the ELW summer youth program has been in existence.
Mulrain said he and Wilkins are close friends and Mulrain coaches a team in Wilkins’ ELW Future Stars AAU basketball program. Through the AAU team, Mulrain noticed Wilkins’ impact on the community.
“Eddie is one of my closest friends. A few years ago I brought my AAU program over from the Georgia Tar Heels to his organization, primarily because of how focused [Wilkins] is on kids,” Mulrain said. “Eddie’s passion is youth. It’s all about creating a better scenario for youth. Eddie Wilkins is a prince. He’s a great guy and it’s all so sincere. I couldn’t possibly think more of him as a person.”