2022 Hornets HBCU Fellowship Winner
Have you ever heard the term “Hoopstate?” Being born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, right in the middle of the heart of college basketball’s largest rivalries – NC State, UNC, and Duke – it was something I heard and endeared all too often. Especially, being raised in the household – and essentially on campus – of an ex-NC State player. Being exposed to basketball at an early age came with a dash of naivety. After, watching a few NBA games you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t going to grow up to be Steve Nash. Although I never inherited his acute vision or craft with the ball, I began to understand the tremendous amount of effort and dedication that goes with being a great basketball player, soon realizing playing in the NBA was not in my cards.
Although, I soon learned that there are other exciting ways to still be a part of basketball outside of playing. While coaching didn’t intrigue me, getting a taste of the business and operations side did. Orchestrating and dictating everything to go as smoothly as planned, is a challenge that, like coaching, takes preparation.
Being able to spend the summer of 2022 as an HBCU Fellowship winner and get a first-hand look at how the Hornets not only generate revenue, but also lay out the foundation of their future, was a dream come true. On the outside looking in, you always wonder what goes into the major decisions that organizations take on, especially the way the NBA has grown over the last few years. Being fortunate enough to be a fly on the wall on some of the meetings that go on, gave me insight into all the different factors that senior leaders take into consideration when conducting business. This internship gave me the opportunity to develop not only my basketball acumen, but also how to complement the business behind it. As I strive to one day be at the head of an NBA team, the Hornets allowed me my introduction into the tight-knit NBA circle and provided me the opportunity to learn, grow, and essentially be myself.
With the Hornets priding themselves on inclusion and diversity, I felt right at home as I met everyone throughout the organization from inside sales up to President Fred Whitfield, who is an HBCU alum himself. While I take, the skills learned through the duration of this internship with me to finish my Master’s degree at North Carolina Central, I know I will be better prepared for when the NBA comes calling for a full-time position. Hopefully, it’s a reunion with the home state, or should I say “Hoopstate”, team but even if it’s an opportunity elsewhere, I have learned that while the NBA is ultra-competitive it is also very progressive and everyone wants to see you succeed.
For this, soon-to-be double HBCU graduate, I can’t be more appreciative of the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets for allowing me to begin my journey in the same place I discovered my love for the game. While I continue to strive and reach my goals, I hope to keep learning the true ins and outs of what it takes to make an NBA organization run as I rise through the ranks on my journey to the top.
Applications for the 2023 NBA HBCU Fellowship is now live through Monday, Feb. 20. Apply today - https://www.childrensdefense.org/programs/nba-foundation-hbcu-fellowship/ - for the opportunity to work across the league and join our NBA Family!