Every year near Thanksgiving, one of the best high school basketball tournaments in the country takes place in Washington: The Tournament of Champions.
There are teams from all over the country with some of the top prospects there to put their talent on display at the highest level. I remember being a kid going to watch the tournament, seeing guys like Verdell Jones III, Greg Monroe, Jared Bayless and many others who went on to play in the NBA.
I went from watching and being a fan to playing in the tournament myself. I got to experience the excitement of the kids getting to see me play — just how I used to act when I was their age. It brought back good memories and motivated me even more to play hard.
Now, at 27, I have watched everything turn full circle. I went from being a fan to a player to now being a journalist doing stories on the top talent. It’s crazy how life goes, because who would’ve ever thought I’d be in this position?
Not me — and I know that for sure. Just a few years ago, I was lost and didn’t have a clue which direction my life was going to go.
I am thankful for the guidance I got from my loved ones who never wanted to see me fail. I’m even thankful for the hate and envy I got from others because it helped me see you for who you really are.
People thought I was done for when I had to step away from the game. It seemed like nobody had faith in me and that everyone wrote me off.
I learned to accept it and kept pushing no matter what. Now look at me. I’m back around the game I love, doing something I never thought I’d enjoy as much as I do.
I’m thankful for life and how it works. Stay the course and never give up. It gets greater later.
Happy holidays, everyone!