Kindness is Free with Herb “Flight Time” Lang

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There are moments in your life that reveal who you are and galvanize your reputation. Herb “Flight Time” Lang joins Travis and Carol to share his journey through college basketball, and into the Globe Trotters. Herb reminds us that #kindnessisfree.

Highlights:

{01:21} What makes Herb a Titan?

{06:36} The struggles Herb faced

{19:57} The moments that reveal who you are and galvanize who you are as people.

{31:32} The Amazing Race catapulted his career into finding his purpose.

{37:16} #kindness is free. 

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Herbert Lang Bio

Herbert Lang came from humble beginnings in Brinkley, Arkansas graduating from Centenary College of Louisiana in 1998. While there, he led the Trans-America Athletic Conference in scoring and won the National Association of Basketball Coaches Slam Dunk Contest. The Globetrotters invited him to their training camp in 1999, and he spent 18 years as a player and coach with the team.

He traveled to nearly 100 countries and interacted with various influential dignitaries. He also participated in numerous TV shows and contests, including three seasons of The Amazing Race and, Are you Smarter Than A 5th Grader? He wrote about his unique journey in a recently-published memoir, Projects, Popes, and Presidents.

Lang, a lifelong Razorback fan who still cheers on U of A sports teams, now lives in Ruskin, Florida with his wife Elena. Herb is also a TEDx SPEAKER. https://youtu.be/ZeivzoCpygM He speaks about concepts from his books (Projects, Popes, and Presidents) as an on-air correspondent and inspirational speaker. He also facilitates sports clinics for young people. Herb just finished filming “Sweetwater.” Herb plays the role of “Babe” Pressley former Harlem Globetrotter! https://www.imdb.com/name/nm3602956/

He’s currently working with a Hollywood production company to develop one of his many television show concepts and improve his skills as an Actor, Producer, and being s good human.

The father of three (Antonio, Nicholas, and Reya) said he was taught to treat people with kindness, and that principle still guides his life today. His mantra is summarized in the hashtag #kindnessisfree, which Herb often uses online and in correspondence.

“I am just a small-town Arkansas kid who has been blessed to have so many amazing life-changing opportunities,” he said. “I truly believe that it’s important to treat others even better than you expect to be treated by people. Every major accomplishment in my life has been the direct result of others speaking up for me, trusting, and believing I would not fail them in doing so.”

Lang finds beauty in life’s struggles. He believes that success is not determined by how much money a person makes but by how many lives they touch along the way.

Connect with Herb:

Herblang.com

Hey, welcome back to the show Travis Johnson, along with my amazing co-host Carol Carpenter, is here today with Herb Flight Time Lang. Herb, how are you doing today?

Man, I’m doing good, man. I appreciate you and Carol taking some time out of your day to allow me to share my message on your platform.

Absolutely, I’m excited to have you. If you don’t know who Herb is, he is an 18-year Globe Trotter veteran, now retired. He’s won a slam dunk contest. He has been on The Amazing Race. I don’t know how amazing he was. We’ll have to ask her about how we did. He is a TEDx speaker, along with my co-host, Carol Carpenter, who is also a TEDx speaker. That’s a lot of stuff!

I know, right? I mean, it seems like I’ve had quite the set of accomplishments so far, but you know, even just hearing that stuff, it’s always good to hear because it always brings back memories, which is something that I used to always hear when I would hang around with Neil.

Whenever people would tell him about a certain time that they remembered in his childhood, he would say, “You know, thanks for the memory. So, thank you, Travis, for the memories.

Oh, hey, I’m glad to be part of this and part of your journey now, part of your story, which is exciting. We always start the show with the same question. We know that all the stuff that you did make you a Titan.

What is it about you that you were able to do all of those things?

I believe that a large part of my success up to this point in my life has been due to exactly what you stated. It’s doing things that other people weren’t willing to do. So, when it comes to academics, for me, I know that there were nights when I was studying and writing my thesis at home when other people weren’t doing that. You know, on top of putting my younger brothers and sisters to sleep at the same time. And I know that other people weren’t doing that. And for me to be able to do things like that, you know, growing up in sports, knowing that even growing up in a small town, I had my parents live on one side of town and my grandparents lived on the other side of town, was a dream come true. But even at 10, 11, or 12 years old at 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. I’m running from one side of town to the other like conditioning, but as a way to get back home. But I know that there weren’t other people doing that. I would go out to the track sometimes in the heat of the summer and I’m running, you know, a mile or two miles, and I’m looking around and there was nobody else out there doing that.

So, in everything that I do, I look around. Even though walking now is a part of my regular daily routine, people are doing it, but there are not as many people that probably should be doing it, you know? So yeah, just doing the extra things even when people aren’t watching, just staying consistent, being true to who I am, and you know, all those things come back as reminders when you see those people even down the road. You remember, they remember. Do you know how you made them feel? They remember your way of being and that’s what it is with me No matter what happens, I know it always works out at the end of the day, even though it’s not always perfect.

In between, there’s a lot of ****, as you might say, that goes on in between, but it’s always worth it at the end of the day.

Oh, absolutely. A quick recap: there’s already so much gold in there. Academics before sports: getting that mind right before you get the body right. Then be willing to do things that other people just aren’t willing to do. The tracks are available. He didn’t see anybody at the track. He’s outside walking; hardly anyone is out there. You have to be willing to do the things that other people aren’t willing to do.

Oh, I love it.

So, when you were young, I mean, what inspired you to get into basketball? Was this something that you had always planned to do? Was this something you were looking for or did it just happen?

Well, well, that’s a great question, Carol. The other day, I was just having a memory. I was sharing this with my wife, Elaine. I was saying, Man, I remember when I was… I think it was about five years old, and I lived in the projects in my hometown of Brinkley, AR. So, you can imagine a small community with about 3000 people on farm fields, and I grew up in the project. A small community within the community and across from that field. There was like a middle school that used to be called The African American Marian Anderson School, which is what they called it.

But anyway, I just remember going into the gym and there was a coach in there who would have kids come in the summer, like one day a week. And I remember running up and down the court, and when they put me on the team, someone threw the ball at me, and I shot it into the wrong hoop. And it went in. And so that was my first introduction to the game of basketball. 

Her boyfriend, my mother, eventually defaulted. My three younger brothers and sister are siblings. I have four younger brothers and two sisters. He was one of the best basketball players that ever came through my town, and just having a chance to follow him around, you know, the old-timers, tournaments, and the little tournaments 25 miles outside.

That’s what, you know, introduced me to the game till I eventually met my high school basketball coach in the 7th grade, who I was able to have coached me from the age of 12 through 17. He was able to guide me and make me realize that through education I could use basketball as a tool to live a better life then there was the one that I was, you know, surrounded by. That was a temporary situation that I was in. Not that it was all terrible, but it was a way to see bigger and dream bigger than what was right there in front of me. And that’s what I turned to, you know, into education.

And I surrounded myself with people who would not only compete in the class but also in sports, you know, football. Basketball, track, baseball. But we also competed in science and social studies, English, you know, math.

We try.

We wanted to see who could make the honor roll every semester because we also knew, through the advice and education of our counselors and coaches, that, you know, some of the best athletes had never made it to the next level. That wasn’t their athletic ability. It was their ability to be coached and their ability to actually make the grade and put the extra effort in, as you mentioned at the beginning of the podcast.

That extra effort is important. I love it. 

So, you mentioned that there’s crap in between. That’s the stuff that we like to hear about because so many times on Facebook and social media, all this stuff, you only see the highlights. You only see the stuff that’s going well. Tell us a little bit about some of that crap in between.

Some of the crap in between. Which part of the journey would you like to hear about?

All of it. I’ve got endless time.

It’s the adversities that make us write home at the end of the day. It’s how we choose to frame it and the lessons we learn from it.

Yeah, I mean, for me, I’ll give you an example. I’ll say right out of college Coming out of college in 98, I had just one, the college cut dunk hunt. The college Slam Dunk contest was the year before that, with the same coaches in college. For the first three years, my coaches were fired. Going into that senior year of mine, I was projected to be the top NBA Pro prospect in my conference and, you know, first team, all-conference, all of these things were supposed to happen. And then my coaches were let go, but just as a result of that happening, I did have a decent year. I did not become an NBA Pro prospect; I became a Harlem Globetrotter, but my coach saw an opportunity for me that we saw together to compete in the college Slam Dunk Contest and compete in Slam Dunk Contest despite coming from the country’s smallest Division One school.

It was something that was a big deal to be able to go down to the final four and win that So that was something that kind of put me on people’s radar, so to speak, and at the end of that actual basketball season, the NBA had a lockout. So, for me, I was faced with, “All right, I’m not going to be able to go to any NBA tryouts. What do I do now?”

So, I ended up realizing, no, I only have another semester of school left. So, if I’m not going to the NBA, I’m not going to take these off. 1st to go to places like South America and had a couple of offers to go to over near Greece. I think it was Cyprus, but I decided to go in and student-teach.

I finished my degree and, you know, ended up working as a personal trainer for about 10 months, making 7 bucks an hour while at the same time realizing that I had so much more. You know, to offer the game of basketball, so while even going through that, continue to try to stay focused. It was frustrating that I continued to work out and change the regimen as if I was still going to be a professional basketball player. You have the impression that you are acquainted with a bit of a letdown.

But you know, with those trials and tribulations that we’re speaking of, comes opportunity based on the way that you carry yourself throughout your life. And one of my good friends whom I went to college with was a college soccer player at Centenary College. That’s where I went to school in Shreveport, LA. And after graduating from college, we became roommates, and he ended up going to a Harlem Globetrotter basketball game one night while I was working in the gym as a personal trainer, and with great excitement, he came home that night, flashing in front of me a program. With, you know, all the players in there, a few autographs, but at the end of the program, there was a 1–800–number. And with the excitement, Allen, who’s a 5-foot-7 Asian kid who played soccer for four years at the Division One level, was a good soccer player. Imagine running up to a globetrotter coach or scout and saying, “Hey, hey, what do you have to do to become a globetrotter? I mean, at this point, there’s not a five-foot-seven Asian globetrotter on the basketball team. And I remember him telling me that story. He was like laughing and he was like, he said, “The ****** looked at me and started cracking up,” and I said, “Not for me, not for me. 

And so, he began to tell them that it was for his roommate, who, you know, led the conference in scoring the year before, who won the College Dunk Contest. So, he said, at that point, is when they’re like, “I will give you the number. I blew Alan off, blew Alan off when they came on with the number, you know, bumbling through it. And my dream was to go to the NBA. I had never even dreamed about playing for the Globetrotters, you know, growing up. My grandmother, my great-grandmother, loved the Globetrotters, and I loved the Global Chargers 2. But it was something I had never imagined: the tricks and the comedy. To me, it was. I didn’t understand what the organization was all about, besides the silly slapstick comedy that we would see on Scooby-Doo and places like that.

But I remember about two weeks after, you know, working that job, making $7.00 an hour, coming home one night a little bit frustrated. And Saying Alan, hey man, I need that program so I can call the Globetrotter number that you got in the back of that book. And I remember calling that number the very next day. I spoke to one of the scouts and I had already had video and stuff. So, I ended up shipping that out via FedEx 2 or 3-day delivery, and on the day that they got it, they called and said that they had received it. They reviewed the tape and wanted to put me down for the training camp, you know, and this was like in April, so the training camp was supposed to come in August. So, I kind of forgot about it. I’m still working on my everyday life. I was playing summer league basketball and sprained my ankle, one of the worst ankle sprains in the summer.

After spraining my ankle for about a week, that’s when I got the call from the Globetrotters. Hey, what’s going on? You sent the video back in April, and we just wanted to know if you’d be willing to… still able to come to our training camp? And this is a call that’s coming in on a Monday. And I’m like, “Well, yeah, when you guys start, they’re like,” We’re going to get you a ticket, and I’m working a regular job as a personal trainer, and immediately I’m thinking,” Well, yeah, yeah, you can, you can fly me in.

I’m down for it. And I immediately, you know, told my boss later that day. I said, “Look, this is my dream, you know, to continue playing professional basketball. This may not have been the team that I envisioned, but this is an opportunity and I’m feeling confident even with this ankle sprain that I have going on. You know, I have confidence in my ankle that you can hire someone else for this position. 

But it took somebody else to believe in me almost more than I believed in myself, you know? It took me, you know, even going through those couple years of college. At the end of college, I had a couple of thousand dollars in credit card debt from the absurdity of going through college and wanting to be able to play a game and get out of bed.

It was frustrating. It was frustrating to not have the opportunities that I had imagined having, you know, being in the magazines as the top NBA pro, pro prospect, and player of the year, but at the end of the day, I realized that there were a lot of people that fell off You know, they quit.

And that’s kind of the same mentality that I have right now. You know, when I left the Globetrotters, it took me a good six months to gather my bearings. You know, there was depression. That was what my purpose, what the hell is going on? I can’t believe this happened to me. Are they going to call me back. Or are they going to call me back? Please, I can’t, you know, just really feel sorry for myself. And it took some time for me to kind of reflect and say, “Man, that was a blessing. I tried in almost 90 countries. I met the president. You know, Pope Francis, a couple of times I’ve been on The Amazing Race, I’ve been on price. Like all these shows, some of the shows I grew up watching, some of the people I grew up idolizing, I had a chance to share the same space with them, and they had a chance to share the same space with me, as well as what I also tend to preach to people, that they’re human, just like me and my vision.

Now I understand. After almost five years of being away from the organization, my vision is just as big as anything that they can imagine, but there is a lot of consistency, a lot of getting up and doing things that you don’t necessarily want to do but creating the habit of doing them. Do you know that habit of consistently doing something that can’t create a certain type of lifestyle? And you know, that’s what it’s all about. 

Even at the weight that I’m at right now, when I left the gold prize in 2017, my average weight was about 2:10. I’m traveling by road. I’m kind of eating whatever I want. We eat and play every night. We’re eating McDonald’s fast food. Now and then something healthy, but since you’re moving so much, my body is It’s OK, it’s maintained.

When my career ended, I just kind of stopped working out for about five months. I got up to about £225 and it was not normal for me. And this was at 40 years old, and through meeting my wife and trying different types of diets and meditations, I can tell you now, right now, through creating different habits, getting up, walking every day, and making sure I exercise. I’m at 190, which is the same weight that I was at back in college, but it doesn’t happen, just through the mind. It’s me. Getting up and moving when I don’t want to move when I don’t feel like moving, it’s the map You know, people look at you and say, “Oh my God, you’re phenomenal. 

No, I didn’t wake up like this. There were a lot of days of work and a lot of mornings that did not feel like getting up at 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. That went into this and, you know, led to the fitness level that I’m at right now.

Yeah, a lot of people never see what it takes to get there. They just see the result. They don’t understand that the in-between is where the sauce is at. I mean, this is it. This is all you know. If you’re dedicated, you take that time to do it, but if you’re not, you look at the result and hope by osmosis. Somehow, you’re going to get there; you’re not going to get there that way, you have to get up every single day and do the hard work to get there. That includes being a success. In everything that you do, it’s doing the crap when you don’t want to do it. And when you don’t feel like it and you look like ****, you know.

You feel like ****. Are you still here? You manage to get through it to get to your end goal. But this is what? right? right? Right? We talk about the adversity that we all face, right? You have to overcome it. To get to where you want to go and through that whole, the thing is, you know, learning the lessons along the way, and it doesn’t like you just. He said you had this vision of, you know, being in the NBA and your dream wasn’t exactly present in the way that you wanted it to be, but yet there was so much more opportunity, you know, in what you did. And consider how many people you have positively influenced in their lives. I mean, could you have done that necessarily if you had gone to the NBA? So sometimes we get our dream, but it isn’t present in the way we want it to be.

This is the same sentiment that I share with a lot of people.

I say, man. You know, even when I joined the team, I said this was more than a dream come true. I couldn’t have imagined, you know, taking French in high school for one year, taking French in college for a year. I couldn’t imagine that. Yeah, you’re going to have an opportunity to go to France and use the language that you’ve been studying. Not once, not twice, but 15,20 times, or 20 times every year.

You know, there are lessons I mean, there’s no way that I would have gone to 85 countries around the world. You know, there’s no way that I would have problems. I want an NBA championship to go and meet the president at the White House twice. But that’s, that’s a gift. It’s a beautiful thing and, you know, being able to recognize that and now being in a situation where –  as a former Globetrotter, I’m a part of the National Retired Basketball Players Association, and the National Basketball Retired Players Association consists of over 1500 former NBA players, about 200 WNBA players, and former ABA players, as well as the Harlem Globetrotters, so it’s the same fraternity that I grew up idolizing, we’re the same fraternity. At the end of the day, during the NBA Summer League, we’re all meeting at the same conference. We’re in the same room with the same sponsors, and to have something like that after retirement to be a part of, and now not only to be a part of it now, I’m going to commit to it for the memberships and benefits, but now to be able to create and help visualize.

Things that have the potential to open doors not only for myself but also for legends I’ve grown up watching. I mean, I’m in the room with Bill Walton. I’m in the room with Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Outsail Thomas, and Byron Scott. You know, I grew up watching people I now have an opportunity to make a positive impact on. Even though I didn’t make it to the NBA per SE, that’s like you say, that’s how things kind of work themselves out. I know what my purpose is, and it’s bigger than the NBA, it’s bigger than the Globetrotters.

I was going around the world with the Globetrotters and The Amazing Race to get a sense of how I was going to get back there and impact

Let’s talk about The Amazing Race.

Yeah, The Amazing Race.

There is so much that Herb has said in the last 20 minutes. I mean, he talked about, you know, having, you know, college staff with him for three years and then suddenly you’re faced with a new staff.

I mean, what exactly is it, and how does it appear? What was that? You go through the emotions. It’s not a change, it’s not a planned change. It happened to you and those moments reveal who you are, and it helps galvanize who we are as people because it’s not easy. And if it was easy for you, it certainly wasn’t easy for all your teammates.

I had to make an immediate media adjustment and I had to realize how grateful I was at that time to be in the situation that I was in. I was at an A-grade school. Without the scholarship that I had, there was no way I could afford to go to that school. And back then, you couldn’t just put your name in the transfer portal and go to another school. If you went to a school, you were there for four years.

So, I remember being in the dormitory with my coach. He came in at that time to have a meeting with us to let us know that we shouldn’t believe what we see on TV. They fired my ***. Those were his words, he said. Yeah, he said. Do not believe what they say. They fired my ***. And I’ve enjoyed, you know, having each one of you guys here. You know, we were kind of a small division, one school, and sometimes we would have to go on the road for money games. Early in the season, you play larger Division One schools and accept the loss per SE. So, I mean if you end up 12 and 14, that’s a losing season. However, he claimed that you played six or eight money games at the top 20 schools. I remember him saying they never told me that I had to keep a winning record, you know? But, yes, they fire in mass. I wish you guys nothing but the best. Then for me, it was shocking because I knew what was ahead. I had the ultimate green light. I averaged 19.6. points a game. There was a guy in that same year who got drafted into the NBA right before. So, I’m thinking I have an opportunity and I just remember when my new coaching staff came in and I loved the guy and I still do to this day, I remember him saying, Yeah, we’re not about to run up and down the court and get blown out, you know, 90.” 8 to, you know, 72, he said. We’re going to slow it down immediately. I’m like, all right, that doesn’t sound good for my 19.6 points per game scoring average.

We’re not about to go back and up and down the court, but you know, again, just having to be able to adjust and work together, and I think that that was also something. That allowed me to have such a long career, which I’m so grateful for with the Globetrotters. Right, those 18 years, over the course of those 18 years, I had a bunch of different teammates. I had a bunch of different coaches.

I went through three different organizations. It dawned on me, probably about five years into my career, that there was no way that I was going to let a coach down. A player or an organization controls my destiny. I’m not going to stop playing for the Globetrotters because I don’t like a coach or because I don’t like a player.

I can figure out some things that I can like about that person, that work with that person. And I think for me, over the course of my career, being able to adjust and realize that, yeah, things do change, is the only way for us to get better. We have to be open to it. I think that’s what allowed me to play for 18 years, and these are the things I would tell these other players, “Man, you may not like this, but you could be here longer than him.” I’ve been through five coaches already. They may send you to another squad that we have, and you have to deal with this coach. This has to be about you, mentally, and what you want to do. Do you enjoy this and overcoming whatever obstacle it is that’s holding you back from going to the next level with this situation?

And there were people that still, you know, couldn’t get it. But that’s just my mentality; it’s kind. Of course, it is still my responsibility.

Well, see, that’s an important thing to talk about and not skip over. I mean, I want to talk about The Amazing Race. Don’t get me wrong. Do I talk about the answer but, you know, we interviewed Reggie Walker, and he brought this up when he got to Kansas State.

He had a coach almost immediately, had it out for him the whole time he was there, and you can’t just get away from the coach. The coach is the guy that’s there every day So would he. I mean, you explain how you did it. You know, he had to explain how he had to look at the situation. to make it through, to make it through to where he wanted to go and at the end of his college career, the NBA said, “Hey, we’re shutting down. I know hockey’s done this. I know the MLB has done this. I mean, Shoot, I mean people coming in for 2008 and 2009 when they found huge careers and the market crashed and then we had COVID. We’ve got friends, uh, Elizabeth Sloan, coming on the show here in a couple of weeks. She had her whole life planned out, had this huge grant to go scuba diving in caves with like, underwater things. In Japan or China, I don’t even know. I’ve got to find out.

But, like, her whole plan got derailed. Because of some external circumstances, and it’s wonderful to see that you were able to stick with it, even though it wasn’t the professional career you might have envisioned when you were younger, you still brought, I mean, how many smiles around the world, how many people were energized and engaged because you were able to go and

And put on a show doing something that you love. It’s just fantastic.

And those are things that I still carry with me, you know, to this day, just even sharing some stories.

I remember 1999, the first time I played a game. And young people, young people with kids coming up, saying, “Oh man, great job tonight. I remember coming with my parents back in the late 70s or early 80s, and that’s the reason why I’m bringing my kids.”

 And then, you know, ten years later, in 2010, you got a whole new group of kids and parents who went in the 90s and the 2000s who are now bringing their kids to try to share. And it just goes on and on to 2015, to the point where, I mean, I just remember this one. This one is a father and son in Pittsburgh, and I remember having pictures of this kid when he was a baby. You know, I held him in my arm when he was maybe 1 1/2 or two years old, and I had pictures of, you know, me and this kid up until I was 17 years old in my career. I had pictures, I don’t have them anymore, but his dad had pictures. He was sensing me. We were kind of getting bigger and bigger every year because they would come every year. And that’s what happened. And even right now, some families are coming because they came in the early 2000s, and now they have small kids that they want to have.

Those experiences would be so, you know, that’s what it’s all about.

Oh no, I love that. And I want to talk about The Amazing Race because, well, not only were you there a couple of times, right, but I am not a fan of reality shows like all the big reality shows from the late 90s. I cannot stand reality shows, but man, I love The Amazing Race.

Hey, a lot of people. We knew we would get that a lot. Now we know that a lot of people, you know, a lot of people, felt certain. Those were rigged. But I can assure you that, on my watch of three seasons of competing and three seasons of not winning, it is not rigged because you cannot try to convince me that.

You have to do something to not win these million bucks, man. It was an amazing experience for me, but I’m sure Big Easy would say the same thing because there weren’t a lot of opportunities for us on national TV, and it wasn’t necessarily because of the opportunities not being there. We just weren’t promoted to get those. Opportunities and new ownership came into the organization of around two-thirds of a million. Seven, and they felt like they wanted to create some new stars. They wanted people to remember some of the Globetrotters just as they remembered the late great Neal, they remember the late, great Meadowlark Lemon, and they felt like that could happen through pop culture, and that was kind of the height of survivor and, you know, amazing race and all that. Different American home makeover editions

So, they hired some Hollywood people, production people, and people to promote and get us on with different casting agents for each southeast region. And one of the shows was The Amazing Race, which my friend, biggies or not, really liked, and we wanted to be cast in it not only because it was something we had watched for many years and were fans of, but also because we wanted to video and film it.

The thing that they liked about us was that we were authentic. We played for the same college basketball coach, the one who came in my last year and into my senior year. He was the same coach.

That big break came four years later at a different school in Louisiana. And when it all connected, when Big Easy graduated, he was able to let me know, hey, a kid is coming from SE Louisiana, you know, I want you to look out for him. So, we played for the same college coach but at different universities, but when he immediately came, I had to look out for him.

We were just friends in that sense, and that’s what the video revealed. And that led to us being able to go back and forth two or three times because of the amazing race. Let us know, hey? We’ve got plenty of celebrity teams that would like you to be a part of, so you have to have a genuine connection.

And we, you know, we sped it up a little bit. We’re globetrotters. 

But there was a natural synergy, wasn’t there?

There was a natural synergy that they saw. We were able to kind of finish each other’s sentences because, I mean, you’re on the bus with this person. For, you know, 3,4,5,6, sometimes 8 months out of the year, so you know what they’re about to say. Before, they said we’d know what to order each other at different restaurants if somebody went away from the table too long.

And so, to be able to have that genuine connection—that’s what they like to see on reality TV shows, and they also like to see that natural connection. So, they could have that drama side of it as well, if you know what I mean.

Oh yeah. They love the drama.

But yeah, we had a chance to do it. The first season we did it was in 2009. That was season 15 and her big break. Now we come up short in Prague. We came in fourth place, which was, you know, three places away from the $1,000,000, but we had a chance to win. I think it was ten weeks of primetime television every Sunday during football season and then, you know, by popular demand, they bought us back for unfinished business. It was 2011, I think, and that was season 18 of The Amazing Race, and we came in second place.

I’ll give you a little bit of the difference between second place and first place, which is that in the first place you spend a split of $1,000,000, and in the second place you split $25,000, and so.

Oh, the dagger. Oh man, oh, man.

So, it wasn’t meant to be but again, we never had to audition to do the show.

They called us back to compete that second time, and then again, they called us back in 2014 to do season 20, for which we came in 6th place. It wasn’t our best season, but again, it was the way that we carried ourselves on television. The network realized the value that we purchased for the television show, but that’s kind of how things work out. We hadn’t won yet, and I was joking with people. I say, you know, I had an undefeated career playing with the Globetrotters. I never played in any of the competitive games, so to speak. But the only time I ever took some mail was during the three seasons that I competed for the Globetrotters on CBS.

The Amazing Race.

It sounds like Glengarry Glen Ross. It’s like the first place is a Cadillac Eldorado. Second prize, it says “steak knives. 3rd place, you’re fired.

So, would you say that being on The Amazing Race kind of catapulted your career into finding your purpose?

When ownership came in in 2007, what it did was that they started to take more advantage of things like social media, you know, things like television shows. And so, for me, I came in as a high flyer, a slam dunk around flight time in the 1990 Gait College Slam Dunk contest winner. But as you get a little bit older, you learn that you know those legs don’t fly quite as high. You’re not able to run quite as fast, but if you’re able to speak and, you know, handle the basketball in my frame of work and be articulate, then your career can go a little bit longer, and so the ability to be able to represent myself on national television, be a great representation of the brand not once, but three times over the course of about five years.

Yeah, of course. It probably added a good 7-8 years to my career, because after the games, I mean. When we first did The Amazing Race, we signed autographs for every game. They got to the point where Big Easy and I would have to go to a concourse and sign at different places because people watch The Amazing Race, you know? And so that brought value to the brand, and we would get people coming up to us with those sentiments saying, “Hey man, we loved you guys In Amazing Race, we don’t even usually watch reality television, but every Sunday we look forward to sitting down with our kids and watching you guys compete on the show the way that you did.

So again, that’s what it is. You know, that’s what it’s all about. And so, I’ve been blessed to do some pretty cool things, but like I said, yet to win The Amazing Race, I’ve been caught taking a couple of losses.

But the good news is that I’ve had a chance to extend my career. It’s something I’ve been able to put on my resume that led to opportunities to appear on Are you smarter than a first grader? That led to opportunities. They appeared as judges in cupcake wars that led to opportunities to be on the right side of the price not once, but twice. So, you know, meeting the Pope, they knew who I was at this point.

I was one of the faces of the brand during that time myself. big, easy. So, yes, it helped launch me into the next stage of my career. I even make notes in the book. It talks about the book that I wrote. It focused on presidents. I talk about, you know, meeting the Pope, Pope Francis. I talk about meeting President Obama, but I also talk about growing up in the projects, now the projects. It happened, but without the Globetrotters meeting the Pope and the President, I’m not sure if that would have happened.

which would have left just a book called “Projects,” if you know what I’m saying. So yeah, there’s a lot that happened. You know, since that first appearance on The Amazing Race, that kind of got me to where I am right now. I shake hands with those dignitaries and realize that I can have that I am going to have as big a purpose in this world as each of those people that I’ve met that I look up to as world leaders.

So, I get to say I have the same impact.

And you’re doing films too, correct?

Right. I am.

So a pretty cool thing happened after I met you at the TEDx event back in April.

There was an opportunity for me to play the role of Bade Presley in a movie called Sweetwater. So, Sweetwater is the story of Nat Sweetwater. Clifton, who was the first African American to sign an NBA contract, signed with the New York Knicks. The two other guys signed a little bit along with him, but the story depicts the story of Nate Sweetwater Clifton, who was a former Harlem Globetrotter. And it follows the path of his career, along with five other Globetrotters, who again are Nate Sweetwater, Clifton, Goose Tatum, Marcus Haynes, Irma Johnson, Pop Gates, and me. I play Babe Presley.

So, one of the cool things about the movie was just being able to be in motion. Man, this is a movie that’s going to come out. I think they’re saying now around April and about 1500 theaters across the United States. I had a chance to film this Warner Brothers Clint Eastwood production. I worked at Warner Brothers for three weeks, out at Disney Ranch for a couple of weeks, where Walt Disney used to live, and then just different locations for a couple of weeks, you know, throughout LA, and to be able to play a role in a movie that was based back in the 40s and 50s, before the Globetrotters sprung into popularity, And to have played from 1999 to 2017 and to have lived some of the visions that I was able to go back and relive while filming the movie was one of the coolest things ever because there are certain things, certain scenes within the movie that I know are real things that were told by the Sweetwater family or by, you know, the Goose Tatum family, and even Abe Saperstein’s family to see the vision in here.

I’m going to take you to England. I’m going to take you guys to Asia. I’m going to take you guys to the South America. For the record, I’m sitting there thinking, “Yeah, he is.” I’ve been there Yeah, he’s going to take it, I thought. Yeah, like a bit surreal. That’s exactly how it is. It is surreal, and it was one of the coolest experiences. Then it even broadened my horizons to the point of, you know, to the point where one day, yeah, maybe one day I get to own the team and have a similar vision and use the spread of my vision of kindness.

And the things that I’ve seen from my experiences with that great organization to the rest of the world. But yeah, man, it’s pretty cool.

Yes, and your #, #kindnessisfree. How did that come about?

Well, my kindness is free. So, the story of my life is that a lot of the great things and opportunities that have happened in my life have been because of the free kindness that people have given to me. And to make a long story short, I will give an example I talked about in my book. My high school basketball coach, 7th grade through 12th grade. So, from 12 years old through 18 years old, I had one coach.

And he shared a lot of knowledge with me, driving me back and forth with his son, you know, to AAU basketball clinics and just guiding me to realize the importance of education as well as the sport. And really, he put me in a position where even if I didn’t get a basketball scholarship, I graduated as president of my high school. I could have had academic scholarships, and that was because of his leadership. You know, luckily for me, I was a good athlete, and I got a basketball scholarship. So, the academic portion of that, you know, wasn’t necessary, but the academics did help me get into their college. I qualified on my ACT scores. I qualified with my grades. So, it was an easy transition.

I positioned myself, you know, for them to take me in as a person that they had never seen before, but even with that, they had never seen me play before. There was another guy who came from my hometown who had been at that school for a year before me, who told them about me. You know, his word of mouth is what gave them the security, knowing that they could bring me in and have nothing to worry about.

 And even with the Globetrotter story that I told you, my friend, who was my roommate, went to a Globetrotter game. He came home with the program, like everything that has happened, the movie situation. I didn’t audition for the movie. One of my former teammates, Kevin Special K Daily, got the role eight years ago, and the movie was a no-go. He found out shortly after and then it got greenlit again, I think in May or March, for it to be able to be filmed. He reached out again, you know, to the producers.

And he let me know that they were going to let him fulfill his role for one of his recommendations, so he would be able to bring it.

One former real Globetrotter player that wasn’t active was not an actor that could kind of help teach the guys along with him, the plays, the choreography, and some of the things that we went through. And that’s how I got the role to play in this major motion picture. So again, that’s where kindness agrees. comes from I’m a living Testimony to kindness is free. And so, you know, I just want to encourage people to be kind no matter what. People are watching you no matter what, and if you’re doing the right things behind closed doors. People who speak up for you behind closed doors. See, that’s some stuff that I need to learn right there about kindness. And that will bring you to the light.

I’m kind of a prick. I’m not nice. I’m not a nice person, and everybody keeps being nice to me.

That is so not true, Travis. You know, you know, like, “No, it’s not him. I don’t believe it. He puts on this front that he’s a tough dude. I’m an *******. But at the end of the day, if you kind of crack opens that shell, he’s got a heart of gold. He’s just that he’s all balls and gusto and not any of the other crap.

 Jesus stopped.

Hey, hey, we all do. If he wasn’t, I’m sure he wouldn’t be hanging out with you, Carol, right?

Yeah, yeah. Wink, wink.

He’s a good dude. As much as he wants to tell everybody he’s in *******, I think he just enjoys doing that to put people off. Because at the end of the day, you get to know Travis. He would give you the shirt off his back. He’s pretty awesome, dude.

I have no doubt whatsoever.

Don’t do it. Don’t do it.

We’re allowed to cuss. We’re not allowed nudity on this show.

Well, in that case, it’s only partial nudity.

Yeah, it’ll just be a special, like, TV mature, you know, partial nudity, some explicit language. It’s like trying to figure out what our TV rating is going to be. 

Yeah, yeah. 

No, I just. I love that about you, herb. It’s the life that you’re living that comes through in every facet of everything that you do.

And that’s just a testament, especially since what we’re seeing on the news in America is that people like you can rise to the top simply by being a good person. And spreading kindness, that’s that stuff is free. I mean, it’s like smiling, right? It raises your face value. And that’s, hey, that’s what I want to teach, you know, not just to, you know, young people, but to the world.

I mean, just a few weeks ago, I was in Austin for freshman orientation, and I had the opportunity to do a slide show. I was able to show them some of the teachers who helped me along the way, like my 5-foot-seven Asian friends who helped me get to the Globetrotters.

He happened to be there. I was able to show him on the screen and have him stand next to me and show them that this guy right here is the connection and the reason why I was able to travel, you know, to all these different countries around the world.

So, I just want people to know. I mean, I even let him know. I know you know? Some of the people that I grew up with in my family, everybody is not the greatest person in the world. Everybody that you meet is not the greatest person. You can still find ways to love them, and you can find the good within these individuals. And these are the things that are going to allow you to become the superhuman that you want to become and realize that anything is possible.

Oh yeah.

It’s very true 

Just think of these

These days we are all too negative, and I’m not going to say I’m not a negative person. I’m a very positive person, but when you’re surrounded, it’s hard not to have that somehow, you know, impact you, right? And even though it all, you can be as positive as you want. I’m not familiar with the light-up.

Mentally conditioning Mental conditioning

Yeah, yeah. You do. Because at the end of the day, if you harbor any negativity, it affects all your decisions, affects everything, everything down to the cellular level. So, you can’t expect good things to come from negative thoughts.

I agree with you.

Herbert, I want you to speak to the audience now. You can’t be someone that’s having a hard time, someone that’s in that struggle. Maybe they’re waiting for the NBA draft, but the NBA is locked out right now, and they just can’t get in. What would you tell some of those people you see struggling?

Well, first of all, I would take some time to reflect on this dream. Whatever it is that you’re going for, it takes some time to reflect on some other things that you’ve dreamed about.

When you were a young child or a young athlete, because like myself, one of the things that drove me, I had more than just dreams of being a basketball player. And a lot of those dreams came to fruition after the Globetrotters. I was able to kind of sit back and reflect, like, man, I used to love Michael Jackson the way he entertained. And then, boom, man, I’d love to be your entertainer.

You know, I used to love, you know, Richard Pryor movies. I thought he was the funniest person ever, you know? And so, I’m like, “Man, I would love to get into acting and so, you know, I had some opportunities to do these things during the course of my Globetrotter career, and just being able to kind of go back

I can, you know, go back, and try to make some of these contacts again and try to figure out a way to create some of these opportunities. You know exactly what I’ve been doing. I’ve been taking the things that I’ve learned from the Globetrotters now and applying them to the things that I get to do today.

From branding, I trademarked my brand swag ball, you know, through COVID. You know, kindness is free. 2020 is when I came up with the, you know, slogan, and I’m still working on the documentary. I mean, I dreamed of being on television when I was a kid. Even now, speaking on stage is AH.

You know, as a TEDx talk where I had visions of, you know, creating sports television game shows So I would just say if it’s not happening right now, and I tell young people this Just because you don’t make it to the NBA or college playing basketball doesn’t mean that you still don’t get to work somewhere within that passion. So, they found alternate routes. To get to that passion, find a way to get into the door. It’s like someone asked me the other day. When you get an interview,

Do you care about talking about the Globetrotters at all? No, of course. Ask me a few questions about the globe. Whatever it takes to get me in the door until you have an opportunity to figure out who I am. That’s what I’m all about Hey, let’s talk about the Globetrotters.

What do you want to know? All right, eventually, I get to talk about what I’m all about and my purpose in life, and that’s making this world a better place at the end of the day. And whatever that looks like is what I’m about.

So, what do you have planned for the future? I mean, you’ve got things in the works now, but what are they? What is it? Your sights set on

Well, my sights are set on eventually. At some point, I do want to own a franchise and take it to the next level, but I also want to be one of the top motivational speakers in the world. I want to create documentaries and television shows, which are again in the works I want to be on platforms I want to take my former teammates and give them opportunities to thrive and have opportunities.

Just like I mentioned, I’m a member of the membership and benefits committed to the NA No basketball players other than a retired players association, so just more opportunities to be heard because, again, some of my teammates have played for 15,20 years, been to 60,70 countries, and, you know, haven’t been heard from in 15,20 years on a big platform. Not that they’re not doing things within the community.

But I think the voices need to be heard and they can make a difference to a lot of what’s going on in the world today because I know that’s what I’m here for and I know a lot of guys that I learned from.

I know that there’s part of their purpose as well, so just creating the platform of awareness and just making the world a better place, that’s my passion, that’s my purpose.

Oh, I love that 

Can people find you online?

I’m well, I’m pretty busy on LinkedIn. I am the motivational speaker, or you can put in Ferber, flight time Lang, and also on Instagram and Twitter @datrotter4

You can go to my website, herblang.com but all that stuff will lead pretty much to me. My e-mail and all that information are there, or you can just direct message me. But all those social media platforms, that’s where you can find me putting out some positivity and just trying to make a difference in the world.

I’m super excited. I’ve got a couple of basketball clinics coming up in the next few weeks, so that’s an exciting thing that’s happening. So yeah, anybody that’s interested in having me come in to speak?

Or, you know, host a couple of basketball clinics or whatever it is that our business is. Hey, I’m here to have fun and I’ll give you a unique experience that you will probably bring back some of the members that you guys have had.

Hey, thanks so much for being our guest today. I heard from Carol that kindness is free. Spread the word.

Kindness is free. Spread the word. Don’t forget it, my man. Getting that jump shot right?

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