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  • Ellakisha S. OKelley, Esq.

Master the Exceptions


There is a saying that rules are meant to be broken. I do believe, a more productive way to operate is with the mindset that rules are exceptions consistently reinforced, which will eventually be accepted. There are certain industries where rules were created to specifically, and tremendously, benefit those that are enforcing them. However, If an individual stands strong on this modus operandi then he or she will discover just what it means to be a game changer.

There are many of us that can think back to situations when it was said that something must be done in a specific way, at a specific time, or by a spe

cific person- just to find it not be the case. The usual response to such diversion is “that was the exception to the rule.” Well, as long as there are exceptions there will always be the opportunity to change the rules.

In my journey to becoming an attorney, there was a phrase that was impressed upon my mind (along with many other students) immediately, and that is…you will learn to “Think Like A Lawyer.” There are so many layers to this phrase that I can’t get into now, but one of the most crucial aspects of studying to become an attorney and understanding the history of law was not just merely learning the rules, but learning every exception to a rule that one’s mind can barely contain.

For me, this was one of the most exciting focuses in my journey to becoming an attorney. Anyone can learn a rule, but it’s the individuals who can master the exceptions that will walk away with the desired results.

Honing in on such mastery was not unfamiliar grounds to me. Learning and applying exceptions was a natural process for me as that has been my experience as a woman, being black, athlete, business owner, a young mother and the list goes on. Throughout my journey, I have had this one phrase echoed again and again, “you are definitely an exception.”

Am I? Or, am I a game changer? I prefer to tag myself as the latter. Whether I am working on achieving a personal goal, or a goal for a client, I always look at the current picture -the big picture- the accepted rules between both pictures- and the new rules (exceptions) to get my desired results.

Lavar Ball is one of my favorite people in the business of sports. Mr. Ball may come off as abrasive in the delivery of his message to many of the listeners. Nonetheless, his content is spot on. He has been labeled as crazy by media and a lot of fans of the NBA, but the only argument in support of him being crazy is that he is not playing by the rules. Even if that rule is don’t compare yourself to Jordan and believe, or pretend to believe, you are better.

A new entity that has jumped on the band wagon of haters to the Big Baller Brand is the NCAA.

They are in opposition to Mr. Ball’s youngest son, LaMelo Ball, from having a shoe made using his likeness, in which, he may profit from. “Generally speaking, a college prospect or athlete paid for use of their athletics reputation or ability risks their future eligibility in that sport,” NCAA Spokesperson Emily James told ESPN.[1] She didn’t directly address Mr. Ball, but he did directly address the NCAA by responding “NCAA ain’t going to tell me s--- because they are not my boss…[t]hey are not going to tell me what I can do for my son and family. He is not even in the NCAA…”

When I study his story, I do see many exceptions I would exercise on his behalf. He has put himself and his family in a position to challenge the NCAA’s general rule. His son doesn’t even need a scholarship to attend college. One of the options that Mr. Ball is considering is to sit his son out from playing collegiate basketball and have him train hard and go into the NBA training camp as a free agent. Is this a risk? Yes, but one thing that successful people understand, especially successful entrepreneurs, is to take risks for a passion you strongly believe in.

Whatever he does, I cheer him on in being a game changer. To find exceptions to shape new rules. Rules that he can benefit from just as much as those who want to enforce rules that are meant to tremendously benefit one side.

As crazy as Mr. Ball may appear to be, or strategically labeled as such, imagine if we all found the little crazy within us and operated consistetly under exceptions to reshape rules to get the results we desire.

As a game changer, I know no other way!

[1] http://www.ibtimes.com/lavar-ball-denounces-ncaa-eligibility-rules-theyre-not-my-boss-2585991

#Business #WomenInEntertainment #WomanAttorney #WomeninSports #Sports #Rules #Law #EntertainmentAttorney #BusinessLaw #IntellectualProperty #CollegeAthletics #NBA #Entertainer #Entrepreneur

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