Max credits father for instilling work ethic

Max credits father for instilling work ethic


When Sharon Max was a Kirtland Central Lady Bronco, she spent most of her evenings shooting free throws until the sky turned midnight blue.

When she was challenged, she worked harder. And when competitors knocked her down, she always got back up.

Max developed a strong work ethic from a young age and it led her to some of the biggest opportunities for a rez girl from Upper Fruitland, including keynote speaker at the 2019 Navajo Times Winter All-Stars awards on Monday at the Phil Thomas Performing Arts Center.

Max said her work ethic helped her become a three-time high school state champion, an ace college free-throw shooter and a multi-college degree holder.

“I never lost sight of that work ethic,” Max said. “I put in two hours before practice and two hours after practice … and that work ethic kind of set me apart from a lot of my teammates.”

In front of an audience of Navajo Times All-Stars, parents, coaches, friends and family, Max spoke of the roots responsible for her success.

She spoke of tough love, hard work and making difficult choices as a student-athlete, a message that resonated with All-Stars and their guests.

The ceremony began with a photo session for all Navajo Times All-Stars who traveled to Shiprock, followed by an invocation and welcome address by Times Publisher Tom Arviso Jr.

Girls’ and boys’ wrestling All-Stars were awarded first to kick off the ceremony. Max’s speech followed.

Max, an assistant coach for Cibola High’s girls’ basketball team, said she was quickly drawn to basketball, a sport her father, the late Tom Max Sr., loved.

She said he taught her tough love and laid the foundation for her work ethic.

“I wanted to play like him – he was my first coach,” Max said. “On one-on-one games, he basically beat me to the ground.

“From our games, I learned to be a competitor,” she said. “What that meant was most of the time I ended up in tears, to the point that I would get so mad and I would throw the ball at him so hard and told him to check the ball.”

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About The Author

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

Sunnie Clahchischiligi has been the sports writer for the Navajo Times since 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Times, she worked at the St. Cloud Times (Minn.), the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York City and the Salt Lake Tribune. She can be reached at or via cell at (505) 686-0769.