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Dan Grunfeld is a former professional basketball player, an accomplished writer, and a proud graduate of Stanford University. An Academic All-American and All-Conference basketball selection at Stanford, Dan played professionally for eight seasons in top leagues worldwide, including in Germany, Spain, and Israel.

He is the Author of By The Grace of the Game: The Holocaust, A Basketball Legacy, and an Unprecedented American Dream. Dan is also the Vice President of Lightspeed Venture Partners.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Dan Grunfeld talks about his grandmother’s experience during the Holocaust
  • Saved twice: Dan’s grandmother and the Raoul Wallenberg connection
  • How Dan’s Holocaust-surviving grandparents met and left Romania with money when it was illegal to do so
  • Full circle: Buddy Hackett and the survivors
  • How Dan’s grandparents became entrepreneurs in the US
  • The basketball connection
  • Dan’s favorite Bernard King story
  • What Dan learned from both his dad and basketball pros
  • How Dan met Ray Allen
  • Dan’s stand out basketball games and why
  • Dealing with tough times
  • Transferable skills from sports to business — and lessons Dan learned from his grandmother

In this episode…

What do surviving the holocaust, escaping communism (in part thanks to Buddy Hackett), building a small business, and raising two generations of professional basketball players have in common? The answer lies in the story of Anyu — the incredible grandmother of Dan Grunfeld.

Dan does a fantastic job of recanting his family’s story. It’s a story of persevering in the face of pain, death, and oppression — and how basketball was the game-changer. This episode will shock you, entertain you, and leave you with priceless lessons.

Listen to this episode of the Inspired Insider Podcast with Dr. Jeremy Weisz featuring Author Dan Grunfeld. They talk about the incredible true-life characters in the book, By the Grace of the Game, the trying moments before success, lessons from sports for business, and inspiration to keep going no matter what.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Special Mentions:

Books Mentioned:

Related Episode(s): 

Sponsor for this episode

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Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90xAtariEinstein BagelsMattelRx BarsYPOEOLending TreeFreshdesk, and many more.

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Episode Transcript

Jeremy Weisz 0:19

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, founder of I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders and this is gonna be an amazing episode. I Dan Grunfeld, he wrote By The Grace of The Game I’m going to introduce Dan formally in a second. But Dan, I always like to mention past guests that people should check out I’m Inspired Insider, so I had Mois Navon of Mobileye, one of the founding engineers. If anyone’s heard of Mobileye was acquired by Intel for $15.3 billion. But what’s interesting about this story, is he talked about the sacrifice and it wasn’t always like that and he had to go back to his family tells kids and wife that he was pulling them out of extracurricular activities. They were no more eating out during this journey. So it wasn’t all like sunshine and rainbows. Check that out. Uri Adoni, the unstoppable startup mastering Israel secret rules of chutzpah, he spent 20 years in high tech over 12 years of being a partner at Jerusalem Venture Partners amazing episode, Elon Gold, one of the final data if you’ve heard of Elon go one of the funniest comedians he’s been on Curb Your Enthusiasm many TV shows he’s got Elon and Israelis, Elon gold’s commercial for Judaism. One of my favorite bits on the James Corden show check it out. And Paul Bigham has helped raise over a billion dollars for the State of Israel through direct mail. And so check that out many more. And this episode is brought to you by Rise25 Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 relationships and partnerships. And we do that by helping you run your podcast. You know, for me, Dan, the number one thing in my life is relationships. And I’m always looking for ways to give to my best relationships. And I found no better way to do that over the past decade than to profile the people, the companies in the books that I love and admire. And it’s actually I started podcasting partly because which is gonna relate to this episode because of my grandfather, who was a Holocaust survivor and him and his brother in the concentration camps in Nazi Germany. And they were the only members of their family to survive. But what lives on is his legacy in Dan’s going to talk about the legacy of his family through the book, but you can watch the interview of my grandfather that the whole customization did on my about page on my website and his my kids, my grandkids, my great grandkids will be able to watch that interview. So I see this as leaving a legacy. So if you thought about podcasting, you should. If you have questions, go to and learn more. Without further ado, Dan Grunfeld is a former professional basketball player, a graduate of Stanford University, where he was an academic all American, all conference basketball player, he played professionally for eight seasons and top leagues around the world, including Germany, Spain, and Israel. And like I said, he’s the author of By The Grace of the Game, and the whole cost of basketball legacy and unprecedented American dream. And it’s all about the work to dig into the grips of Nazis to the top of Olympic podiums to the cheap seats to Madison Square Garden, and two yellow stars and silver spoons. So I you know, Dan, I listened to this book, I devoured it. It’s a true masterpiece. Anyone listening this? If you are listening to this, it should be made into a movie, I’m shocked that all of this is, you know, you see one of those movies and says, Based on a true story, and maybe like 5% of it is is true in this one, it will be like 99% of it is true. And I know you currently work in venture capital with Lightspeed Venture Partners that over 400 investments since 1999. So Dan, thanks for joining me.

Dan Grunfeld 4:29

Jeremy, great to be here with you man. Thanks so much for having me.

Jeremy Weisz 4:31

Um, I wanted to start off with you know, on this journey with your grandmother, who I think you call on you, right. And you talk about on you in throughout this book, you delight interviews to complete this book and what was one that stuck out with her and holocaust?