Life was never easy growing up in east Harlem. The neighborhood always kept me on my toes and ready for the next challenge. When surrounded by the adversity of my environment, I turned to basketball to try and better my situation.
My family was, and remains, my true support system. They gave me the balance, love and respect I needed to overcome the struggles I faced everyday during my youth. My father was my mentor. He was not only our community basketball coach, he was a life teacher and a role model for me and my teammates. For as long as I can remember, I looked up to him – he was always there to show me the way. I am so proud to know a man who puts so much work and love into his community and family. I knew I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps and use my passion for basketball to better my community and help others just like myself.
In 2009, with encouragement and guidance from my father, we founded and commissioned Hoops By the River, Inc. (HBTR) and the Harlem Jazz basketball teams. We are dedicated to developing a sense of community support within our young players, promoting teamwork, growth and discipline. We provide our players positive opportunities to interact with their peers and supply them with the educational tools they need to reach their life goals. In my mind, education is the key to success. (I actually review all our players’ report cards.)
We feel privileged and blessed to be working with the A.T.R. Project. It gives us great confidence knowing that ATR is supporting H.B.T.R/Harlem Jazz as we look to continue to grow and serve our community.