About Dre “DreAllDay” Baldwin
A College D3 Walk-On ... goes pro in basketball?!?
… Yes. Then: A 9-year Professional Basketball career, 27 books, 4 TEDxTalks and the Work On Your Game brand to help you Work On, Show, and Get Paid for your “GAME” — starting with Discipline, Confidence & Mental Toughness…
Back to my childhood days, I was always into sports. Growing up in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia, PA, I played the normal inner-city driveways games: kickball, touch football, portable-court basketball (with the rims lowered so we could dunk, of course 🤗).
My first crack at official team sports was football 🏈 in West Oak Lane. After two weeks of no-contact practice, the coaches told us that it was time to start hitting — so bring your pads to the next practice. I relayed the news to my parents, who informed me that we couldn’t afford football equipment. So that was the end of my football career ⛔️.
Next was baseball ⚾️, which required a bit less equipment. I stuck with baseball longer because 1) all my friends played and 2) my father was involved a as coach. After a few years, though, I realized that I had no baseball talent and moved on to basketball 🏀.
I had dabbled in basketball over the years, but was never any good 😖. I’d tried out for a few youth teams around age 10 and 12 that I had no chance of making, and rightly and got cut — but came home crying anyway 😭.
But age 14 and out of sporting options, I stuck with basketball this time.
A TON Of Failure -- Then A Bit Of Luck...
My high school had only one team — no Freshman team and no JV — so everyone tried out for varsity.
When I got cut on the first day as a freshman, it wasn’t a big deal: I still had three years left 🤪!
When I got cut on the first day as a sophomore, I knew the next year would be MY time 😤.
When I got cut on the first day as a junior, the situation was dire 😳.
When I got cut on the first day as a senior — just kidding. I made the team that year 😅. But I sat the bench that whole season, averaging paltry 2 points per game.
This isn’t much of a resume for a kid who wants to play college ball 😒. College coaches agreed — no one recruited me. My only option was to walk on for college basketball. What that means: Unknown and uninvited, I would literally “walk in” to the gym in college and see if I could play my way onto the basketball team roster.
Luckily, that worked ✅.
I’ll pause here and say that I was a bit of a late bloomer in basketball; I hadn’t started playing until age 14 after all. So by age 18 and graduating high school, I still had a lot of room for growth skill-wise, physically and in confidence.
I earned a starting role early in my freshman year at Penn State Abington 🎉, and had a solid (if unspectacular) season. Though a 4-year school, back then Abington allowed only 2 years of sports participation. I had one more year, then I’d need to make a move.
I spent that summer of 2001 driving to the Abington campus 🚘 (PSU Abington is a commuter campus with no dorms) to work on my game in the campus gym alone (Abington is where I was first introduced to weightlifting also, by some older guys on campus who saw my potential).
This is when preparation started meeting opportunity 😯.
... Good Luck, Bad Luck Returns, And My Career Crashes -- HARD
One summer morning, I walked over to the cafeteria to grab breakfast before my workout when a random man approached me asking what position I played. It turns out that he was the head coach at Penn State Altoona, which was an NCAA Division 3 school. The man recruited me on the spot, the first time in my life anyone had ever sought me out for a basketball team.
The irony of it: This coach later told me that he didn’t even know who I was 🤯. He knew what his team needed for the upcoming season, he said, and I looked like that type of player. That’s why he had approached me that day.
If that hadn’t happened, the rest of this story doesn’t occur 🍀.
I was continuing to improve as a player, but hadn’t yet developed the discipline to show up and practice hard every day 🙈. I had been able to get away with this bad habit as a freshman at Abington, but those same habits got me benched at Altoona. I was in the rotation, but didn’t play up to the expectations of me or my coach.
Then, after my sophomore season, the coach who’d recruited me was unexpectedly fired.
In college sports, a new coach taking over a program often guarantees one thing: Some players from the previous regime won’t survive the changeover. In this case, NONE of the previous players made it 0️⃣. I started out as a starter for the new coach. But, by the midpoint of my junior year, the new coach at Altoona (a former NBA player) had turned over the entire roster.
So here I was, a junior in college not even on the basketball team at the very school I’d been recruited to play at ☹️.
Everything Changes With $250 And 48 Hours...
While I did gloriously win the PSU Altoona intramural championship my senior year, no professional basketball teams were knocking at my door when college ended.
I gradated from Penn State in 2004 with a business degree, a dream of playing professional basketball and no plan whatsoever for how to make it happen. When I told my parents of my “plans” of playing pro ball, it seemed as ridiculous to them as it sounds to you 🤣. So I spent my first year out of school as an Assistant Manager at Foot Locker 👟 and a Membership Salesperson at Bally Total Fitness 🏋🏽♀️ (who is now out of business — hopefully not because of me 😉).
In the summer of 2005, I negotiated with my boss at Bally for a weekend off. I need to drive 17 hours from Philly to Orlando and pay the $250 I’d saved up to attend my first of many professional basketball exposure camps.
What’s an exposure camp? It’s a job fair for athletes — but instead of handing out resumes and shaking hands, we bring our sneakers and play against each other in front of an audience of professional basketball decision makers — agents, coaches, scouts, managers, owners — from around the world 🏀🌍.
Amongst 200 other pro basketball veterans and hopefuls, I played well 👏🏽.
The scouting report and footage from that event was now my collateral that I could leverage to get myself a shot at professional basketball. My plan — I had one now — was to sign with a pro basketball agent who had the connections to overseas teams and could help me get my first contract 📝.
A VHS Tape And... "You-Who"???
Returning home to Philly with my scouting report and footage (and back to my job at Bally), I started hustling: I went on Google 🖥 and reached out to every basketball agent I could find, pitching myself as a player they should represent 🧾.
I got in contact with 60 agents. 20 out of that 60 were interested enough to want to see footage of my playing, so I sent them copies of my game film form the exposure camp in Orlando.
Oh — that footage from the exposure camp was not a YouTube link. It was a VHS TAPE!! 📼 Luckily, I had a double-decker VCR at home. I went to Eckerd, bought a couple 10-packs of blank VHS tapes, made copies of my exposure camp footage, and mailed those tapes to these 20 agents on my own dime.
Of those 20 tapes mailed out, ONE agent was interested in representing me. This agent negotiated my first playing contract, in Kaunas, Lithuania in September 2005 💶.
That’s how my professional basketball career began ☑️.
But wait — there’s more…
That VHS tape was the key to my career, and the only hard proof I had that I was actually good at basketball, since these were the days before ubiquitous digital video. I took that VHS tape to an audio-visual store and had the footage transferred to a data CD. I put the CD into my HP Pavilion desktop computer at home, and uploaded the footage to a brand new website I’d heard of called “YouTube.” 😮
Random Commentators Find Me Online (Way Before It Was A Thing)...
The first video I put up was just a 2-minute highlight clip from the camp along with a few other clips, and I thought nothing of it. I just wanted somewhere safe to store that footage and it appeared that the internet would be around in the future.
I went to YouTube to check on that video months later and was surprised at what I found: People had left comments on the video 🗣. Random people were asking me about how often I practiced, who’d taught me how to play, and if I could make more videos about other aspects of the game.
I realized that this was an opportunity 💡. These commentators didn’t know me and hadn’t been looking for “Dre Baldwin” — they were just looking for someone, anyone, who looked like they knew how to play basketball who they could learn from. These players were ME, ten years earlier: while I had been forced to learn on my own, they had the internet — and me — as a resource.
I could give them what no one had given me — when I had time to, of course: I had a professional basketball career to tend to. Plus, who cares about “YouTube”? There was nothing to gain from posting videos there 😐.
This is how I started two parallel careers at the same time (though I didn’t know about the online career until year later — we’re getting to that) 📍.
Three Years Of Happenings...
Several things happened between 2008-10:
1. After playing stints in Lithuania, Mexico, Germany, and a traveling team in the USA 💶, I found myself unemployed, without a contract. The Result: See #2…
2. Because of this, I asked myself a key question: “How can I take the thing that I love doing — playing ball — combine it with something I’m good at — the internet — and make money doing it?” The Result: I became an entrepreneur 📈, creating and selling programs to…
3. The players watching me on YouTube who’d been asking about making programs for them, so they could practice the same way that I practiced. The Result: HoopHandbook, my basketball training programs site. When I made my first sale (I remember the red light on my Blackberry blinking 🏮) of my $4.99 Simple To Advanced Ball Handling Program, I realized that, unlike playing basketball, I could sell my intellectual property forever 💡. My brand was now also a business, and Work On Your Game Inc. 📌 was born.
4. My online audience, having learned of my background, started asking me about my mental approach to the game. 🙋🏼♀️🙋🏽♂️
What kept me coming to the gym every day?
How to have confidence in a game?
What kept me going after so many setbacks?
How can someone get known online?
The Result: I published my first book “Buy A Game” which told my basketball story up through my college years and gave the PDF away free. This was the first of 27 books I would author (as of this writing) 📚. Another Result: I started my famed “Weekly Motivation” series on YouTube, which ran every Monday for over 400 consecutive weeks 🎥. Each week I shared a quick 2-5 minute Mental Game tip that was aimed at the athletes — but introduced Dre Baldwin to a whole audience of non-athletes. The Weekly Motivation series was the seed material for both Work On Your Game [The Book] 📕 and the Work On Your Game Podcast 🎙.
5. YouTube introduced the opportunity for content creators to earn revenue from publishing videos 💰. I had over 1,000 videos published by 2009. The Result: YouTube became, along with playing contracts and sales of HoopHandbook, my third revenue stream 🤑.
Fast Forward To Today...
The non-athletes who started finding my content via Weekly Motivation planted a seed in my mind that I could provide value to an audience of people outside of the basketball world. At this point, I was thinking past a basketball career and into what full-time entrepreneurship would look like 🤔.
I stopped playing professional basketball in 2015. with Montenegro, Croatia, Slovakia, Mexico again and many exposure camps as my lasts stops ✈️. With so many experiences with exposure camps, agents, teams, contracts and plain hustling in the Overseas Basketball world, I wrote The Overseas Basketball Blueprint 📘 for the players who faced the same situation I did and wanted to know how to make it happen. That book is still the only useful guidebook on how to play Overseas Basketball in publication.
In 2015 I landed my first professional speaking gig 🗣, an unpaid local event at Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL. Later that year I did my first TEDxTalk 🔴, on Discipline. That would be followed by 3 more TED presentations on Confidence, Mental Toughness & Personal Initiative.
I’ve spent 2015-present creating more content (15,000+ videos, articles and podcast episodes and counting), selling products, coaching and speaking.
The Work On Your Game Podcast launched in 2016 and has been every day since. 📆
My (traditionally published) book Work On Your Game, came out in 2019.
Today, I make it easy for entrepreneurs to have consistent mental toughness & confidence and deliver your BEST, mentally and physically, when you LEAST feel like it 💪🏼.
Meet Dre Baldwin
I make Discipline & Mental Toughness easy for entrepreneurs so you can deliver your BEST, mentally and physically, when you LEAST feel like it. #WorkOnYourGame
- Graduate of Penn State University
- 9-Year Professional Basketball Player
- Expert in Discipline, Confidence, Mental Toughness & Personal Initiative
- Spent 9 years as a Professional Athlete
- Author of 27 Books, Including Work On Your Game: Use The Pro Athlete Mindset To Dominate Your Game In Business, Sports, and Life
- Pioneered Athlete Workout Video Genre Online Starting in 2006
- 4-Time TEDx Speaker
- Have Created The MOST Content Of Any Individual Ever
Awards, Titles, and Designations:
- YouTube Silver Play Button Holder (100,000+ Subscribers)
- 3 Million + Downloads of Work On Your Game Podcast
- Creating And Selling Own Products Since 2009
- Have Appeared & Been Featured In/On 200+ Shows And Publications
Odds & Ends:
- Have Written Books On EACH Of The Topics of Discipline, Confidence, Mental Toughness & Personal Initiative
- Have Customers in 50+ Countries Worldwide
- Online Audience Over 73 Million
- 4 TEDxTalks On Discipline, Confidence, Mental Toughness & Personal Initiative
- Published Over 15,000 Pieces Of Original Content
- Created Over 200 Programs, Guides And Courses
- Processed Over 13,000 Orders Of Products in 5 Years With ZERO Advertising
- Traveled Through 8 Countries During 9-Year Pro Career
- 2-Time Marathon Finisher
- Wakes Up 3:45 AM With No Alarm Clock
- 26 Of 27 Books Are Independently Published by Work On Your Game Inc.
- Vegan Since 2014
- Eats Raw Organic Spinach Daily Straight Out Of The Container
- As A Print Model, Has Appeared On Product Packaging, Billboards, Buses and Magazines
- Favorite Food: Banana
- Favorite Treat: Rita’s Water Ice (It’s A Philly Thing)
- Was a “Nerd” As A Kid — Before Nerds Were Cool — And Had Very Little Self-Confidence
- Started Playing Basketball At Age 14, and Taught Himself To Play
- “Walked On” To Play Basketball At a D3 College
- Didn’t Even Play Basketball Senior Year Of College
- Became Entrepreneur When Basketball Career Was Too Inconsistent