DALLAS — Lucas Armstrong relocated from Pine Bluff, Arkansas to Dallas, Texas approximately six years ago.
He was destined to do better for himself.
Like many who move from a rural town to a large market, Armstrong initially found it difficult to become acclimated to his new establishment.
Fortunately for him, someone along the way enlightened him that big things happen in Texas.
For Armstrong, 30, it seems he has steadfastly embraced such a notion, considering he appears to be adjusting comfortably to life in Big D.
Never mind the tumultuous encounters life often dealt him while growing up in Pine Bluff. Born prematurely at just one pound, doctors told Armstrong’s mother that he would not live beyond his third birthday, in large part because they sensed he would endure an array of mental challenges.
“They told my mom that I wouldn’t pick up on things as fast as other kids,” Armstrong told MemphiSport during a recent interview in North Dallas. “I guess that’s the whole defect of premature kids in those days. They didn’t know what to expect.”
But just as he’s done virtually his entire young life, Armstrong demonstrated the keen desire to defy the odds.
So far, it’s safe to assume he’s managed to hold his own quite nicely.
So much, in fact, that Armstrong has shared his life story in his first book entitled, “Your Story Is Not Your Story: From Adversity To Success Through The Hardships Of Life.” Published late last year, Armstrong’s 10-chapter book depicts everything from his stormy relationship with his father to his analysis on the importance of one seeking proper mentorship.
Long before he evolved into a rising self-published author, Armstrong had a fond admiration for basketball and sensed that he could ultimately used the sport as an outlet, or sorts, to landing a free college education.
However, after enrolling at Pine Bluff High, Armstrong was cut from the team as a sophomore, a development that left him somewhat distraught and dejected and unfulfilled.
“Man, that was devastating because I had played basketball from like middle school on up,” Armstrong said. “I was hurt. I felt like I was better than some of people who got picked. So I went to another school.”
That school was none other than nearby Dollarway High where, to Armstrong’s credit, he made his presence felt as a combo guard.
He was only 15 years old at the time, 12 years removed from what doctors had sensed would be his death sentence as a toddler.
“I was a die-hard basketball player, man,” Armstrong said. “That’s what I wanted to do. I wasn’t going to give up on my dream of playing basketball. It felt good (making the team). But I know me. I wasn’t going to stop until I got want I wanted.”
Years before his hoops prowess was ever discovered, Armstrong endured an array of hardships, most notably a rocky relationship with his father, which he outlines in his book.
For starters, Armstrong’s father got custody of him when he was a youngster. Thinking his son was gripped with an assortment of mental challenges, he made repeated attempts to garner a monthly check as a way to cash in off what presumably was a child with special needs.
“Teachers would tell him that I wasn’t doing well academic wise,” Armstrong explained. “For 10 years, I went to a psychiatrist and took a series of tests.”
He mastered them all, thus erasing any speculations as to whether he was a mentally-challenged child.
“Where people say you’re weak in, I was strong,” Armstrong said. My communication skills were pretty good.”
So favorable, in fact, that Armstrong felt compelled to recall the highs and lows of his life in a tell-all, self-published book.
So far, he’s already been invited to several speaking engagements throughout Dallas’ Metroplex to discuss and promote his book. Looking ahead, he plans to promote his book throughout the Mid-South, particularly at his alma mater, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
Armstrong is a 2007 graduate of UAPB with a degree in Business-Marketing.
“Life experiences and my passion for people who are going through things,” said Armstrong, when asked what inspired him to write his book. I also felt like God had me go through things for a reason. I want to be a beacon of light for other people to let that know that if Lucas can make it, they can make it.”
Let alone, think big in the process, just as he’s doing in Big D.
Andre Johnson is a senior writer for Memphis port. To reach Johnson, email him firstname.lastname@example.org. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA’s Southwest Division. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.