‘This is the one thing that makes me happy, I love working with kids.’
“I have been an athlete my entire life. Basketball was my main sport. My dad was my coach and I was probably 6 or 7 when I started. He treated us equally, he didn’t come down too hard on me.
“Then I got involved in everything: track, competitive dance and cheerleading. I wasn’t much of a school person, so sports was my outlet. That’s where I succeed. I found out that I could do this in school. I thought, ‘I can go to school for exercise? This is great!’
“I grew up playing sports with my brother and his friends and my mom was the one who spent hours driving me to and from practices. When I was young, my dad was just getting out of the police academy, so he was running and doing planks.
“He drove a lot of that fitness into my life when I was little. I’m a personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach and I’m a basketball coach for the boys JV and varsity teams at Academy Charter School in Hempstead. It’s a new school that started about five years ago.
I grew up playing sports with my brother and his friends and my mom was the one who spent hours driving me to and from practices.
“The first year, I brought my own equipment. I’d buy med balls, elastic bands, jump ropes. My trunk is pretty much a moving gym. It has taught me a lot of patience.
“Working with high school boys, after being in school all day, when they get to practice sometimes, they want to goof off with their friends. I still try to be tough on them and get work done but realize when I was an athlete that age, I wanted to have fun with my friends, too.
“Schools were closed a lot during the pandemic, our season got canceled, which was tough because we had a great group of seniors, so that broke my heart. We met on the field, six feet apart, and trained a bit. I wanted to give them something to do and be in their lives. This is the one thing that makes me happy, I love working with kids. I have been interning with LIU Brooklyn to get into collegiate sports.
“Next month, I’m going to Brazil to play a few games; a mini tournament. I want to prove to my team that you really can do anything. I think that’d be cool to see my team and say, ‘Hey, I’m a pro basketball player.’”
Interviewed by Rachel O’Brien – Morano