Andy Lloyd | Dunking Over Difficulty

You Want It? Prove It.

Think back to the last time someone told you you couldn’t do something just because you’re short. Was it elementary school? High school? College? As shorter men, we have a number of memories of when someone’s uttered the phrase, “You’re too short.” It could’ve been a potential partner rejecting you because of their outlandish height standards, or possibly a manager giving your taller counterpart the promotion you’ve been working your way towards. For Andy Lloyd, being passed up is nothing new to him.

On the basketball court, height reigns supreme. Or so we thought. Andy was a kid when he started playing basketball. And as children, our height isn’t necessarily the biggest concern when we’re playing a sport we love. 

“There are some old family videos of me shooting around on a Fisher Price basketball hoop; my mom said I would do this for hours.”

By the time Andy got to high school, his love for basketball was as strong as it had ever been. But when it came time to prove himself on the court and in front of his peers, he was never given the chance. 

The Mindset of the “Little Dog”

Although he didn’t play on a college basketball team, Andy’s passion for basketball drove him to keep playing through pickup games. At first, it was tough for him to be chosen to join a team due to his lack of height. But he didn’t let that bother him. He let his talent and hard work speak for itself.

“I always compare myself to the "little dog" that has absolutely no idea how big (or small) it really is.”

It only took him a few weeks of consistently playing to show everyone how irrelevant his height was. He showed the rest of the players exactly why he was an asset to their team. He would never again need to wait to be picked up; he’d be the one calling the shots.

Sending the Ladder Back Down

Andy may have never played a minute of professional basketball, but that doesn’t matter when you’re 5’8” and can dunk. When he started training his vertical jump, he initially just wanted to prove it to himself. Never having dunked on an official 10-foot rim before, he got to work. He would undergo a rigorous training regimen to strengthen his entire body to a point where jumping a 40-inch vertical was easy to him. It didn’t take long for him to start training other people how to do this too.

One of Andy's students dunking

“My goal was to be the coach that I needed when I was younger and looking to take my vertical and athleticism to the next level, so that's what I became.”

It’s important to not only understand the effort you must put in to achieving a goal like this, but it’s equally important to remember that success is a ladder. And it’s your responsibility to send it back down to others who want to reach the same heights as you.

Beating Brain Cancer

In January of 2019, Andy received news that would change his life forever. Suffering his first ever seizure, he was rushed to a hospital where an MRI scan showed two large tumors that were spiderwebbed across both halves of his brain. He was diagnosed with Stage 3 brain cancer. He went through two emergency surgeries (over 6 hours each) within the span of two weeks, and suffered side effects such as loss of speech, a complete personality change, and severe memory loss. After the second surgery, he woke up paralyzed from the waist down. In the midst of this, he reflected on potentially losing his family, friends, and everything he’s ever worked for. 

“I didn't even know how to react and just hung up the phone and told my family.”

But he couldn’t just give up. He doesn’t know how to do that. As a coach and trainer, he has a responsibility to practice what he preaches. And that’s to work hard to the best of your ability through any obstacle you may encounter. Andy did just that.

He went through several rounds of chemotherapy while continuing to train. He laid out his comeback plan quite clearly, and he executed it to perfection. Through this journey, he’s come out with a newfound sense of gratitude and strength. Both his physical and mental muscles were pushed to their limits, but in that process came growth.

What We Can Learn From Andy Lloyd

Andy’s story is one filled with hardship and doubt. But the lesson we can take away is that no matter what people tell you, no matter what the obstacle in front of you is, you can find a way through it, around it, or over it. In Andy’s case, it was a little bit of everything. Finding gratitude during times of excruciating struggle is the key to making it through anything life throws at you.

Get up to date on style advice with our blog: