Founder & President
Growing up, basketball was my safe haven, a love I shared with my father that I knew so little about. During high school, I realized that I was unlikely to make money playing basketball as an adult. Basketball was my identity, though I knew I needed to think past it. I stepped away from basketball after my freshman year of college. With all my deepest relationships woven through basketball, I isolated myself, lost my identity, and was low as ever.
I didn’t touch a basketball for 10 years. I used my extra time to learn more about the stock market, e-commerce, and built several small service-based companies. I learned how to yield my time, I made mistakes along the way, and I learned a great deal about business planning and execution.
I volunteered in my early 20’s with various organizations and served on a Board of Directors for a non-profit organization where I knew the founder well. I learned a lot about non-profits from this experience but felt called to spend my volunteer time on the front lines working with the youth, versus spending my volunteer time organizing.
A piece of my life had been missing over those 10 years. It was at this time that I was called to return to basketball. I had worked through the loss of the game and had learned a lot about myself. I knew I could connect, empathize, listen, support, and provide consistency.
I texted my coaches from Millbrook High School, who, luckily for me, were still coaching. I told them I wanted time with the younger kids in the program who could use time, love, and support. I wasn’t interested in becoming a basketball coach or trainer, but rather connecting through the game and listening. Though I didn’t call a play or give feedback on an “x” or “o” in my years helping, I was consistent enough on campus to be called “Coach,” The concept of Beyond Basketball had been proved through deep relationships with youth and their families.
Two years later, participating in a leadership program, I connected with a non-profit that tied kids in through athletics, using sport as a diversion. I spent two years with this organization, which also served as a learning experience as I planned my next steps and learned more about how I wanted to serve others and enable a community who wants to serve others.
My experiences as a child ingrained in me an understanding that, although my situation was not perfect, I had it easier than many people, including many of the relationships I called close friends. Privilege takes many forms - and those of us with any combination of privileges have to call upon these to help others with less.