Injuries extinguished Adam Taylor's dreams of playing professional basketball but sparked an idea that led him to a different career.
Taylor, a longtime friend and former teammate of Iman Shumpert at Oak Park and River Forest High School, played collegiately at Waubonsee Community College and Northwood University.
But his career was plagued by injuries, most notably a broken wrist and, finally, stress fractures in his shins that caused him to miss half of his senior year at Northwood. That gave Taylor time to think, however, about ways to stay around the sport he loved while helping others avoid his fate.
"I was always trying to improve my skills, so having that injury I was very diligent in learning how I could prevent further injury," Taylor said. "It helped me learn about the body and physical therapy and physical training."
Now Taylor is using what he learned to make a living helping others as a personal trainer and professional development specialist. He is the owner of Taylored Intensity, which provides skill and performance enhancement training in the form of private training sessions, camps and clinics for athletes at all levels.
Taylor, who has an associate's degree in exercise science and a bachelor's in entertainment and sports management, first got involved in training after his sophomore year of college when he interned under Tim Grover, the personal trainer of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
After graduating from Northwood in 2013, Taylor worked at IMG Academy in Florida, where he helped to run summer basketball camps for two consecutive summers and also trained with Shumpert, who began training there after being drafted by the New York Knicks in 2011.
In 2015, Taylor set out his own shingle, working exclusively with Shumpert during the off-season before branching out to work with other professional and college players.
Being a young independent businessman isn't easy but Taylor has already made a name for himself at the highest level of the sport.
"It's a challenge but it is really exciting and rewarding because I see there is a big want for this type of service in the area," Taylor said. "We have a lot of great athletes and sometimes they don't get the proper training you need to stay healthy and be the best player you can possibly be."
Taylor has been pleased with the feedback he has gotten from his clients. Having Shumpert, who had a breakout season and played in the NBA Finals after being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers last year, helps, but his results are what attract other athletes.
"A lot of guys give me good response," Taylor said. "They say I have a way with them and can bring out the best in their game."
Indeed, Taylor's website has testimonials from New Orleans Pelicans forward Alonzo Gee and former Fenwick star Devereaux Peters.
"Adam really challenges you and takes you out of your comfort zone," Gee stated. "His work translates to your game play and he's very versatile and able to help you improve in any area of the game."
Peters, who has overcome multiple knee surgeries, has won two WNBA titles in the last three years with the Minnesota Lynx and also plays overseas during the winter.
"The summer after working with Adam I had by far my best season in the WNBA," Peters said. "So if you're serious about taking your game to another level and pushing your limits, this is definitely the man to see."
Players are flocking to use Taylor's services. He travels all over the country to work with clients, but he remains based in Chicago and is dedicated to helping young players in Oak Park and the surrounding area improve their skills.
Taylor is currently hosting the Youth Basketball Development Program, a series of Friday night training camps at Holmes Elementary School for boys and girls in third through eighth grades. Single session slots are still available at the camps, which run through February 26.
"It is almost filled up," Taylor said. "I got a really good response. People are coming from further away than I thought.
"We take the kids through different aspects of the game to get them ready to apply their skills in a game situation. One week we work on ball movement, then shooting, then defense."
Taylor is thrilled with the popularity of the local clinics and plans to hold more in the near future.
Taylor, Shumpert & Peterson organizing AAU team
But his next initiative is even bigger. He and Shumpert are putting together an AAU team that will begin competing this spring and summer.
Dubbed "Made Men Basketball," the program will field teams consisting of kids in sixth, eighth and ninth grades and be run through the River Forest Community Center. Tryouts are February 20 and 27 for sixth and eighth grade boys and March 5 and 6 for ninth grade boys.
Shumpert is sponsoring the AAU team through Adidas and will be a director along with Taylor and their former high school teammate, Quinn Peterson. Three other former Huskies - Phil Gary, Lamont Sanders and Troy Aldridge – will be involved as coaches or administrators.
Taylor hopes to expand the number of teams in future years. A weekly skills clinic for boys and girls in fourth through eighth grades will be held every Saturday at the River Forest Community Center.
"I've been envisioning this for a long time," Taylor said. "So I'm happy to be putting it in motion."
While his competitive playing career didn't go as far as he wanted it to, Taylor's foray into self-employment has gone better than he expected.
"I'm thrilled," Taylor said. "I put in some marketing effort myself but I'm kind of a one-man operation."
For more information on Taylored Intensity or to contact Taylor, visit www.TAYLOREDINTENSITY.com.
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