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Blount inspires students on Napoleon Hill Day at UVa-Wise

Corie Blount with Southwest Virginia students on Napoleon Hill Day at UVa-WiseMotivational speaker and former professional basketball player Corie Blount told dozens of Future Business Leaders of America students from Southwest Virginia on Monday, Oct. 29, that the teachings of Wise County native Napoleon Hill changed his life during his darkest days, and he urged the youngsters to read the book “Think and Grow Rich,” and share it with others.

Blount was the key speaker for the annual Napoleon Hill Day at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, held in the David J. Prior Convocation Center. The event is part of the College’s annual commemoration of Hill’s birthday. Hill is the author of “Think and Grow Rich” and other motivational books.

Blount was named the California Player of the Year and the National Jr. College Player of the Year. He played at the University of Cincinnati and he helped the team reach the Final Four in 1992 and the Elite Eight in 1993. The Chicago Bulls drafted him in 1993. Blount was the 25th pick in the NBA draft that year. He spent 11 seasons in the league with various teams. Blount retired from the league in 2004.

After retiring, he became an assistant basketball coach for the men’s team at the University of Cincinnati, and he enrolled to pursue his degree in criminal justice. He was the first of his family to receive a degree from a four-year university. Shortly after his graduation, Blount was arrested and sentenced to a year in jail on marijuana charges. While incarcerated, Blount read Hill’s books and took a course on Hill’s 17 principles of success. He founded Gradu8 Inc., a program designed to urge young people to pursue an education.

After his legal set back, Blount is on a mission to tell his story of success and failure so that he can increase awareness of the choices and consequences that define character.

“There is nothing holding you back if you follow these principles,” Blount said.

Blount told the students about how he went from being a poor young man who was raised by his great grandmother to being a NBA star with plenty of cash. However, he soon learned that he had to budget his resources if he wanted to retire with a good lifestyle. Things were going well for Blount until his arrest.

“I led that NBA lifestyle,” he said. “My whole life came crashing down. I had ruined everything I had worked for based on an association with some guys I thought were my friends.”

Blount turned his life around and has made it a goal to spread the teachings to others so their lives will be changed in turn.

“You will be able to change somebody’s life by handing them “Think and Grow Rich,” he said.

Headquartered on the UVa-Wise campus, the Napoleon Hill Foundation is a nonprofit educational institution dedicated to promoting Hill’s philosophy.

Napoleon Hill was born in poverty in a one-room cabin on the Pound River on Oct. 26, 1883. From these humble beginnings, the Wise County native became an advisor to presidents. During the early 20th century, Hill interviewed the nation’s most successful business leaders, including Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford. From those interviews and more conducted over 20 years, Hill compiled his eight-volume set “The Law of Success,” a collection of the philosophy of individual achievement. He later condensed his research to compile “Think and Grow Rich,” often called one of the most important motivational books ever written.

First published in 1937, “Think and Grow Rich” has sold millions of copies worldwide and continues to appear on the list of top business books. In this classic on personal achievement, Hill introduced the concept “whatever the mind can conceive and believe the mind can achieve.” Seventeen principles form Hill’s philosophy of personal achievement include cultivating a burning desire, faith, and persistence in the attainment of goals. Hill’s writings are still must-reads for business professionals.