Giving Back

By Chris Lauderback on July 7, 2013 at 9:57a

Too often, athletes are remembered for the not-so-positive events that occurred when they were in the spotlight. Lawrence Funderburke fits into that category for many despite a playing career that saw him star with the Buckeyes and last a decade in the pros. 

Funderburke had his share of issues coming up including getting kicked off his juggernaut Wherle team in high school and taking impermissible benefits from Kentucky before bolting from Indiana and Bob Knight after just six games. If you recall, Dickie V even got caught slamming Funderburke on air, during what he thought was a commercial break, bringing smiles to many across the universe. 

Since his playing days ended, Funderburke has been up to nothing but good. He's now a certified financial planner and has earned three degrees from Ohio State. Back in 2000, he started the Lawrence Funderburke Youth Organization and the non-profit is doing great things. From the venerable Bob Baptist:

Some pro athletes sponsor summer camps to help children develop their athletic skills. Funderburke’s “camps” help children with life skills such as budgeting, investing and donating their money. He augments the lessons with field trips where the children learn tools such as proper etiquette, how to present themselves and communicate effectively in public, and how business gets done on a golf course.

He estimates he also reached more than 4,000 students in five central Ohio districts during the past school year with “Mr. Fundy’s Math Basketball Challenge,” which also is available on the organization’s website,

Baptist also notes Funderburke has shared his message with athletes such as at the NBA rookie symposium and through an invite by Thad Matta to speak to the Buckeye basketball team. 

“I also told them, ‘You’ll be fortunate if two of you play in the NBA’ . “I said, ‘Listen, fellas, I have three degrees. There really are no excuses for you not to get one'. I said, ‘When you guys get done playing here, it’s on to the next group. There is no hand-holding by the coaching staff. You’ve had your opportunity.’ It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”


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DenBuck's picture

Congratulations Lawrence...for the man you've become and the good you're doing. 

Buckeye For Life

Hovenaut's picture

Here for sports, but it's great to read about Buckeyes and their accomplishments off the field/court once their playing days end.

Good for Lawrence Funderburke, way to pay it forward.

And I can't resist.....I'd love to hear what Mr. Vitale would think/say about LB now.

buckeyedude's picture

This dude was a great ball player when he was at OSU. I just don't think he had enough talent around him to make those teams elite. Good to see took the right path after and pro ball and college.
Update: Also, I clicked on the link expecting to hear the audio, or at least to be able to read what he said.
Pictures, print and/or audio or it didn't happen.



moopdawg's picture

Happy to hear that Funderburke continues to learn from his past and contribute in a positive way to his community.  Please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe Funderburke was on the team with Jimmy Jackson, Chris Jent, Mark Baker, and Jamal Brown.  The talent on that team was incredible.  College basketball was something special back then -- not as many one and dones....

gravey's picture

Dicky V still thinks he's a thug, and if Damon Bailey had a math program for high schoolers, it would be dapper dandee babeeee.  puke.
I've never forgiven Vitale for that cheap shot....which is easy enough because he's a walking parody of himself.   Glad that he fixates on Duke now rather than IU.  He ruined some great seasons of B1G hoops back with his clown show.
Way to Lawrence!  Love it when dudes from C-bus do well at home.  I think it's extra tough on local guys to handle the stardom and the pressure.

Haybucks's picture

It'll be a cold day in hell when Vitale is entrenched in a charitable foundation.  He does hold an annual online auction for the V Foundation, but nothing like Funderburke is doing.  As these two individuals age, only one has matured. 

If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later. -  Mark Twain


D. Anthony's picture

Funderburke was the biggest jerk in high school and at tOSU... hopefully he really did change his personality. Vitale was correct about how he was in college and he (Vitale) has done way more with charities and foundations over the years. I cheered for Funderburke even though I knew some negative stuff he did, and I never liked Vitale as an announcer, but let's not try to rewrite history and act like Funderburke's been the good guy and Vitale is a bad person.

D. Anthony

northcampus's picture

Sometimes it takes an individual a little bit longer to mature mentally and 'see the light' as Funderburke has done.  He may very well have been a prick in adolescence/early adulthood, but his ability to turn it around and pay it forward says a lot about his growth as a person.
Every single one of us can probably take a long look at our past and think we could/should have done a few things a little differently as we matured into adults.

rightfield's picture

The article states that Funderb. admitted to growing up and changing over the years. Basically that he didn't like who he was and that through helping kids he changed himself. I wish there were more good news stories like that in big time sports.
     I hope he stays close to the Buckeye program to help mentor current and future tOSU players.

Its good to be the king

Michibuck's picture

He was one of the quickest jumpers I've ever seen. The ball would no sooner touch his hands near the basket than he would be in the air dunking.