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Charles Oakley, forward for the New York Knicks and an NBA All-Star, has a reputation for being one of basketball’s best rebounders. It’s his toughness, however, that has probably contributed the most to his outstanding sports career.

While other professional players seem to have frequent injuries, or are sidelined for other reasons, Oakley hasn’t missed a game in three years, even though he has absorbed a great deal of physical punishment. He is often pushed or fouled. He puts in miles each game running up and down the court.

He frequently dives into the stands for loose balls, to the extent the court side media teases him about being a real working hazard. According to Oakley, his tenacity and energy have a source: his grandfather Julius Moss. Moss was a farmer in Alabama who did most of his field work by hand.

"Other people had more equipment than he did," Oakley says. "He didn’t have a tractor, but he got the work done. No excuses."

Moss developed all sorts of aches and pains in his life, but he laughed at them and went about his business. Oakley saw a lesson in that: nothing should prevent him from earning a day’s pay.

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