Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
After I was granted my release school, I went back home and started thinking about which college I wanted to transfer to. I was still getting schools hitting me up that were recruiting me before or we would play against during my time in college. I was actually getting ready to commit to this school in Vermont when a couple of pro teams reached out to me. At that point, I was still considering the traditional route and thought, “No way, I am still going to finish school and do what I gotta do there. That stuff will be waiting for me when I get out.” My mom told me to keep an open mind though and see what would happen with these (pro) teams. So I went to the first (pro) team’s training camp, and it wasn’t organized the way I thought it would be. This was before I knew all the levels of professional basketball and semi-pro. I ended up saying “No, I’m going to stick to the college route and let the coaches (from the universities) know and all that good stuff.” Then another pro team reached out to one that my friend had heard of. I was already at home and was like, “Why not exhaust all my avenues?” So I ended up going to that pro team’s tryout, and a man was that a game-changer. That was actually the team I ended up playing for. From the ownership being professional to the team being disciplined, this team was just different. Here I actually got (the chance) to get paid for playing basketball, which was baffling to me. During that time, all I kept going back to was 8th grade, because I was still that 8th-grade kid at heart that couldn’t even make a layup in front of pressure. Now I was getting offered to play for my talents. They were going to pay me for this. It was a no-brainer for me at that point. Once I saw that the organization was going to be okay with allowing time for me to finish (the semester) in school and all that, I thought it was the full package. I said, “You know what, I’m going to take it and I am going to run with it.” I ended up signing that contract and playing pro.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started doing this?
Probably winning league Rookie of the year. My first year playing pro I had a really good season and ended up taking home a lot of different awards which was a first for me. It just helped me build my confidence and added to fuel that I needed to take my game to the next level.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
You’re going to hear “no” many more times than you’ll hear “yes”, but you have to keep working and stay consistent.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
My parents were really the driving force behind all of my success. They are the two hardest working people that I’ve ever met, and seeing how hard they worked to provide for me and my siblings is something I’ve always carried with me as I’ve embarked on my journey.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I actually started my basketball camp when I was in college. It was an idea I had after receiving a grant from the school. At that point, I was taking a break from the season, so I wanted to (work to) pay it forward in another way. I came back to my high school and worked with the people there to organize a camp. What inspired the camp was just reflecting back on my experiences. As I said, sophomore year of college I wasn’t playing—I went from practicing two to three times a day freshman year plus class to now just being a regular student. I was still working out hard, but I had plenty of time on my hands to think. I started to reflect back on my journey, how hard I’ve worked, how far I’ve come, and all the reasons why I can’t give up. It also made me think about all the kids out there that love the game as much as I love the game, or even more, but they don’t have the resources to do what I did. That is what inspired me to go (full-force) with the camp.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
“A dream without a plan is just a wish.”
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