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Father, son migrate from basketball to business
by Maurice Dixon
August 14, 2012 05:53 PM | 5877 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Joe Livingston<br>Anthony Witherspoon Sr. coached his son, Anthony Witherspoon Jr., at Clark Atlanta for two seasons.
Staff / Joe Livingston
Anthony Witherspoon Sr. coached his son, Anthony Witherspoon Jr., at Clark Atlanta for two seasons.
For those who participate in sports on a higher level, the biggest adjustments aren’t just the ones made during competition but the adjustment to life after sports.

Anthony Witherspoon Sr. has adjusted quite nicely and so has his son, Anthony Witherspoon Jr., with the opening of Spoon’s BBQ Restaurant and Sports Bar in College Park.

After eating at Gates Bar-B-Q and Arthur Bryant’s in Kansas City, Mo., and introducing it to his father, Witherspoon Jr. saw the beginning of a family business.

“If we could get this quality of barbecue here in Georgia, there is no doubt that this could be successful,” Witherspoon Jr. said. “The food industry is one that is always going to be stable — people got to eat. We just saw an opportunity and ran with it.”

Before becoming the restaurant’s owner and general manager, Witherspoon Sr. spent more than 20 years coaching basketball at Grambling State, Fort Valley State and his alma mater, Clark Atlanta.

As far as Witherspoon Jr., the 6-foot-5 swingman graduated from Banneker in 2000 then went on to play under his father for two years at Clark Atlanta.

“I had several D-I offers but being around basketball my whole life and understanding coach philosophies, I just felt that would be a good opportunity for me to come into college and automatically play,” Witherspoon Jr. said. “I felt like you can’t get better sitting on the bench regardless of how big the school is.”

As a result of his decision, Witherspoon Jr. was named Freshman of the Year in the SIAC. After his sophomore year which would also be the end of his father’s tenure at CAU, Witherspoon Jr. would transfer to Georgia State and earn his degree.

Then after giving basketball overseas a try in South America and Asia, Witherspoon Jr. decided it was time to prepare for the next phase of life.

“I got a little older and saw my basketball career was coming to an end so I went back to school to get a masters in marketing,” said the 30-year-old Spoon’s general manager.

Now, he and his father are once again on the same team but in the business world. Even though they have transitioned from basketball to barbecue, the Witherspoons are still involved with the sport.

Witherspoon Sr. plans to continue helping young African-American males without fathers through basketball, while Witherspoon Jr. helps players develop their skills.

"Less than 50 percent of black men are graduating," said Witherspoon Sr., who is involved with Investment Atlanta. "The core fabric of family is deteorating. Young men don't know how to be young men."

The Witherspoons also wish to make Spoons exclusive not just because of its barbeque.

"We want to have live sports-shop talk shows," Witherspoon Sr. said. "People will get a chance to be interactive with other people who enjoy sports--male versus female football strategies 101.

"I've talked to women who know more than men about sports and I would love to create that interactive exchange between the male and female as it relates to football ideology," he said. "Then lead that into games on the respective night."

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