While 2016 may have been a rough year for most, for me 2016 was a year of change and growth for the better. My year’s good moments, definitely far outweighed my bad moments. Stick with me as I reflect.
Lets start off with something that didn’t directly affect me, but still hit home for me literally, the Cleveland Cavaliers winning the NBA Championship. For those of you that don’t know, I am originally from Cleveland, OH. The city that used to be known as, “the mistake by the lake”, “wasteland, Ohio”, and other crazy names. What the Cavs accomplished this year did great things for Cleveland. For the first time in a long time, if not ever, I saw the city completely united. It was an amazing sight to behold to see how everyone celebrated watching the Cavs battle back from being down 3-1 and eventually winning the championship. In my mind it defined everything that a Clevelander is. Those traits shown were toughness, a never give up attitude, and hard-working. Lebron said it best, in northeast Ohio, everything is earned and nothing is given.
This year I did something that I always dreamed of doing, I started my own non-profit organization called STRIVE TO EXCEL. STRIVE TO EXCEL was birthed between my siblings and I a very long time ago. We always talked about “making it big” and then making sure we helped others along the way. This past summer after brain storming for years, we finally made it official and started our organization. This past summer we held two Basketball Plus clinics, one in Durham, NC and the other in Chapel Hill, NC. Our Basketball Plus clinics are more than teaching the kids the game, we incorporate life skills sessions to ensure our participants leave better people as well as players.
Under STRIVE TO EXCEL the first College Knowledge event was held. College Knowledge is a program to push a more college going culture in rural communities. Seeking advice from current college students and their parents, as well as financial aid advisors and administrators from some of the top Universities in North Carolina. As we continue to grow, we will continue to expand across the US. We are crazy enough to believe we can and will change the world.
Early on in 2016 my family and I took a quick trip to Athens, Greece just to take in the sights. Little did we know we would end up coming right back to Athens to live. Being a professional athlete definitely has its perks and being able to play for a storied club like AEK Athens is one of them. I just recently learned more about the history of the club, and they were uprooted from Turkey for political reasons. I love history and more importantly I love making it. My teammates and I are working towards delivering a Cup back to AEK.
For my fellow Tar Heels, we know what happened, so I wont even touched that!
2016 in closing, I’m still here and getting better and all aspects of life. Just like every year I anticipate nothing but the best 2017. First order of business is to have a professional redo of this website that I created myself… I tried, LOL! I wish you all best. Remember, if you want to see change, sometimes you have to be that change. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!