A basketball scholarship to the University of Missouri brought Laurence Bowers to Columbia, Missouri in 2008. Columbia’s youth and “sense of community”, is why Laurence and his family considers Columbia their “home” during the off-season of playing professional basketball overseas. He continues to be inspired to give back to the youth and community that overwhelmingly welcomed him back in 2008. That is the reason you will often hear him say, “I feel as if I have been blessed to bless others in any way that I can”.
Because Laurence inspires people to reach the best version of themselves by sharing his own personal experiences, he is frequently asked to be a guest speaker at various organizations such as: Dream Outside the Box, The Boys & Girls Club of Columbia, Caleb’s Pitch, Granny’s House and the United Way. He gravitates towards the kids that really need a mentor in their lives because he can relate to them by sharing his own personal stories from growing up in an extremely rough neighborhood in Memphis and a socially deprived rural area in West Memphis, Arkansas. Not having his biological father for most of his childhood, in addition to the financial struggles of his family at times, were huge motivators that have helped him become who he is today. Laurence’s main goal when speaking to the public is to motivate them to be the best version of themselves and to be resilient in the face of adversity.
He speaks about looking at adversity as being “a positive thing” rather than a “negative thing”. There was nothing he could do, whether he liked it or not, adversity was a big part of his life, and overcoming would be one of the biggest hurdles he faced. He believes that you build character and resilience by learning to deal with and overcome adversity. He became the first active-scholarship player to receive a Master’s Degree in five years, which would not have been possible if he had not overcome the adversity in his life beforehand.
In addition to speaking to youth organizations, Laurence was asked to be the keynote speaker at The Mizzou Roars Banquet in 2012. He also was selected as the guest speaker at The University of Missouri’s Jefferson Club Meeting in 2012, Missouri Alumni Leadership Week in 2012, Mizzou Men’s Basketball Caravan in Chicago, Illinois, and is still appointed for motivational speaking engagements by The University of Missouri’s Athletic Department, as an alumnus during his off-seasons.
Laurence has a strong desire to impact the lives of others by sharing his story on how he overcame adversity. Adversity is inevitable, everybody has to face adversity to one degree or the other, with proper motivation and preparation, anyone can overcome it. We all need a helping hand sometimes, and it is Laurence’s goal to lend one.