“A lot of people said ‘you’re crazy, you’re not gonna end up playing at Michigan State. You have no chance.’ Let alone having people tell me I wouldn’t graduate from college.”
Ianni did play basketball for Michigan State, where he recently graduated. His team won two Big Ten conference championships.
Now he’s back on the court for a very different reason. He’s a motivational speaker who talks to gyms full of kids about bullying.
He arrived at Mountain View Middle School in Beaverton on Tuesday for a mother he’d never met. Laurie Ranslam has an autistic son who attends that school.
“About two weeks ago he was pushed down on the playground and hit,” Ranslam said. “This happens.”
She put her hope in the six-foot-nine Ianni, who’s made a career telling kids to stand up to bullying.
“I don’t know if it’s us as players, I don’t know if it’s Michigan State, I just don’t know what it is,” Nix told reporters on Thursday. “I just feel like none of us get credit.
“If Michigan would have won, Trey Burke would have been God, Tim Hardaway would have been God, Glenn Robinson would have been God … we won, and they didn’t even show our highlights, it’s pitiful.”"