This story has flow, it’s more of my life story than anything else but once it flows you’ll notice how the game of basketball changed my life.
Here we go.
At the age of three, I made my first few visits to the hospital, my parents really didn’t understand what was going on but then once another trip to North Shore LIJ happened they were told it was Epilepsy. I battled, even as a young kid, it just kept getting more and more severe as the years went by but I fought it.
Once I was five I picked up my Little Tykes basketball and shot it in the mini hoop, from that moment I knew I had fallen in love with the game of basketball. Once I continuously showed my happiness when I was surrounded by the game, my father took it into his own hands to insert me into a local pee wee team, and that’s what he did. For years I played in this local league and just continued to get better.
As this is going on I still hit my bumps in the road with my Epilepsy. Constant seizures during the night, many trips to the doctor, and staying home from school almost every day.
Fast forward to fourth grade. I was one of just a few that was able to make the basketball team as a fourth grader. During the mid-season mark, we were headed down to our home gym for a game, my parents entered the school and it was during warmups when I started to get dizzy and didn’t feel well. That day is when it was a sign that my epilepsy was getting worse, I got what is called an EEG, where they scan your brain and it showed what exactly is going on.
There were multiple facets for this but I was then put on more medications and oh boy that liquid medication had to be the nastiest thing I had ever tasted. It would lead to me even getting sick. The late fourth-grade year I hit probably the biggest bump in the road for me social wise, I had to be taken out of public school and started to be schooled at home. It sucked, really stunk for a kid my age not being able to experience what other kids my age were doing.
The normal day would be as followed:
- Wake up, eat, regular morning things
- Teacher would arrive
- Hours of work
Then… Watch TV.
The part stated above, the TV part, is now where you’ll learn why I’m so thankful for the game of basketball and how it changed my life. Those hours of watching TV I watched any sport from Baseball, Football, even bumped into cricket once (no joke). But after watching all these sports, as taught by my homeschool teacher, I did the process of elimination. I eliminated all sports except one, Basketball.
My grandfather who lived across the street had notepads in his house, every time I’d go over he would have them out for me and I would copy down all the players and their stats, yes I was doing this in elementary school. Everything basketball related I just fell in love and would watch it 24/7 if I have too.
Steve Serby, columnist for the NY Post, my Uncle also played a huge role. Once I expressed my love for basketball to him he thought well, why not let me be his sidekick. He started taking me to all these events as a little kid and I met people like Carmelo Anthony, David Lee, and athletes from all over the sports world.
As I entered middle school my epilepsy started wearing off and once 7th grade hit I was finally getting too near 100%. At this time I was playing for my middle school team and for a local league as well, but once 8th grade and 9th grade came around my epilepsy was cleared but this lead to some new things for me.
It was a long, grueling, battle that just wasn’t ending. When I was taken off my meds I was so anxious anywhere I’d go, birthday parties, friends houses, and even my basketball games. Once my freshman year of high school came around I started to battle depression. Mentally I just wasn’t in the right state of mind and therapists weren’t working, nothing seemed to help.
Then, I had a substitute in math class.
I sat on my phone on the Bluebird app (twitter) and scrolled past something called Bullets Forever. It was an “SB Nation” blog which was mainly Washington Wizards coverage, my favorite NBA team. I saw an article on the site that said they needed contributors, that’s when I took it into my own hands to ask for a job on the spot, this was weeks before Thanksgiving three years ago.
They gave me a shot.
It wasn’t my best few months but that is where it all started. Once I had experience with writing, I started tweeting more. At the time, Sophomore’s Tyrell Jones, Jaelyn Withers, Deuce Dean, and more had only a handful of offers. It was me DM’ing these kids saying “Hey, would you like some extra exposure,” that little message has grown on for years.
That’s when I started at ZagsBlog with Adam Zagoria who I’m really thankful for, he gave me a chance and has taught me some valuable lessons. After a stint with Zags, I joined sites such as Rivals (OSU), Future150, ElevateHoops, and some other freelance stints.
In November of 2017, I was sitting on my couch with my father when I decided to make a move that would ultimately change my future.
I created Stockrisers.com.
This was after a brief talk with Zach Fleer, the owner of 270 Hoops. He gave me the idea and I’ll forever be thankful for him believing in a kid who was only 16-years-old. We fast forward to now, guys like Jeff Goodman, Aaron Torres (big bro), Zach Braziller, and so many others have impacted my life.
I have had 75,000 plus visitors on my website, 12.3k on twitter, and have spoken to hundreds maybe even thousands of high school athletes (five who are in the NBA).
“Nobody will listen to a kid.”
“Can’t trust a little boy.”
I’ve heard it all, but today I stand as a high school senior who gets to watch the game he loves, talk to players of the game he loves, and will forever be in love with the game of basketball.
From hospitals, homeschool, mental depression, too now.
I will step on the stage at St John’s University in June 2019, graduate high school and continue my college career wherever that may be.
Mom, Dad, Sister, and other family and friends, thank you.
The Journey Is Just Beginning.