The Greenville story of Rod Finley

A story of motivation, family and basketball

By: Wyatt Edward Stephens

What is your name? Rod Finley

How long have you been in Greenville? All of my life, born and raised for twenty-five years.

What is the most interesting fact about yourself? I am going to Spain to start a career as a professional basketball player. But if I am being honest with myself, it is likely what I feel is the ability to motivate other people.

What is your background? I grew up my with my sister, a single mother and my uncle, my uncle was a big part of my life. I would like to believe that my uncle is the reason why I want to motivate people to this day.

Basketball has been a big part of my life as well, it provides me with the discipline and the structure that I need. My mother served in the Air Force and she was very due diligent and motivating, she enforced that we need to have discipline within our lives.

My dad was never there for us growing up based on the choices and the lifestyle that he lived. He missed my childhood up until the age where I was fifteen. My uncle was really young, but he was my father figure even though I was the man of the house. My sister needed that, my mother does everything that she can to get us food on the table.

My mother always puts her best foot forward to give us food, even when the food wasn’t the ‘best’ or we didn’t necessarily have the budget. She was a single mother trying to pay bills, but she also took care of her siblings. It is amazing, she is my hero and I’ll continue to preach my mother being my hero. She gives other people comfort in their lives. She doesn’t necessarily give them the chance, instead she’ll give you the day if needed.

I graduated from high school at Eastside then graduated college from Clayton College in Rock Hill and played basketball at both schools. I played point guard and shooting guard. I would say that my best game was against one of the top teams in the nation, we had to go to their house. I had a horrible first half but the second half, something clicked.

I realized that I can get more out of basketball then what I was getting, I love basketball. I never saw myself going to the NBA, or playing professionally, or being really great at it. However, a bunch of people here kept on telling me that I should try, just try to go and play overseas because I still had a basketball spark. I never thought about it, truly. I have felt it inside, the need to motivate myself, regardless of what others thought about people said. This time, though, they were saying that I had something. I thought, maybe I should do this [go overseas and play], I am still young at twenty-five so let’s do this. But I am not perfect, though that saying sounds good, it is true. Let’s see where it goes.

If you are currently reading and/or watching anything, what would that be?Currently, I am reading Daily Devotions and Maximizing Your Potential by Malcolm Allen.

What are your hobbies? Video games, going to the gym and playing basketball. I also like watching my nephew explore, almost like people watching for your nephew. It is, wow, it can be amazing to watch his spark go off. You [Wyatt of ShareGVL] want to talk about my spark, talk about his spark.

How would you describe Greenville? Growing, outwardly. The size is getting bigger, we are building as a city but are we building ourselves within? I just want to know. Don’t be in the same place that you were three years ago, throw that attitude away. Experience, it is about having experiences with your community.

How would Greenville describe Rod Finley? Ahh, who am I? Like that Friday Night Lights scene with Matt Saracen…Hopefully as a family man.

Who do you work for? Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen

What is your title and day-to-day on the job? I am a line cook, taking orders and cooking.

What is your happiest Greenville moment? That is a powerful question. I would say, the day I graduated from high school at Eastside. Not many people know this, but I did not graduate on time, I graduated in August instead. I had to go to summer school and finish everything out. I was bored, I am not sure. I always had a different feeling about school as I am always thinking which sounds weird, but can be consuming.

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