One of the best feelings about working in the sports world as a Black man is being able to inspire younger generations to do the same.
Growing up an athlete, I looked up to players that looked like me. I remember playing outside with my friends, trying to impersonate Kobe Bryant. I would try to do his fade away and yell, “Kobe.” I can also remember the times that I would practice shooting outside. My dad and grandpa would be outside with me to help; I would imagine they were Shaquille O’Neal and pass it to them to dunk or lay it up. I can remember playing tackle football with my friends in an open patch of grass. I would try to act like Ray Lewis and do his dance.
I can remember doing these things because they became athletes I looked up to. As I grew up, I would study their highlights. As I got into high school and played sports, I had a bit of that feeling as we would run sports camps for basketball and football. At those camps, I saw firsthand the impact that I had on the kids. I especially saw the impact on the kids who look like me. The smiles on their faces as they were learning from me was a priceless feeling.
I soon realized that I would not be going pro. However, I loved sports and realized I had watched some of my favorite sports analysts on television for years. Those analysts were men like Stephen A. Smith, Ryan Clark, Shaquille O’Neal and many others, who all inspired me to have a career in sports. So when I got to college, I knew that I wanted to work in sports because it was my passion, and I was inspired by the men who look like me at the elite level.
In college, I have had great opportunities to work and learn about working in athletics and sports journalism. Being able to write stories about sports is such a great feeling because I am doing something I have dreamed of. Working behind the scenes here at Ferris State University has been a blast. I have seen everything that goes into a game, from how it is set up to how it is put away.
As a Black man, I am glad to be working in athletics and doing what I love and am passionate about. I know that it would not be as easy for me to do these things that I love if not for the Black men and women who paved the way for me and so many others. Not only the Black men and women who worked in the sports world but also the ones who risked their lives to make a change in the world. So that I, a biracial, Black and white man, can also make a difference in the world. So that I can inspire younger generations to pursue their dreams in athletics and the sports world because they see me doing it.
For me, it is important that younger people who share my ethnicity can see and connect with me and want to work in the sports world.