By the time I was eight years old, I knew exactly what I wanted to be in life and basketball had absolutely zero to do with it. After the events of 9/11, my desire to serve became so fervent that my mother asked me for two things. First, that I wait until I was 21.  Second, that I not follow her father’s footsteps. I enlisted in the delayed entry program, requested to go to Fort Benning, and never looked back. The first memory after the IED blast hit my Humvee came when I woke up in an aid station days later. Reduced working memory is a frequent symptom reported by Veterans who have a history of blast-related mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Years of headaches, migraines and PTSD eventually led to the US Army medically retiring me. No ceremony. No fanfare. Just a plaque and a breakfast at a diner.

I don’t remember the exact night, but like many of the nights back then it was filled with an emptiness that I simply can not put into words. After tossing and turning, I gave up on sleeping and went downstairs to the living room of my father’s house.  I was scrolling on my laptop and came across ESPN’s Fantasy Basketball mock draft room. I cannot tell you how many mock drafts I completed, but if you know anyone suffering as I did then you can imagine. It was at that moment, right there, at two o’clock in the morning that I fell in love with the game of basketball all over again.

The advent of social media’s latest-generation media platform that allows live conversations to happen in an audio-only format has enabled me to connect with thousands of people who share a passion for basketball. I have conducted interviews with players, media members, and team staff and provided objective analysis and shared it with everyone willing to listen. I would like to thank all of those who have supported me on this journey and I would like to leave you with these words:

It’s always darkest before the storm, but the storm itself will pass and once it does the skies will be blue, the gyms will be open, and it will be another great day for basketball.