“I played every sport when I was growing up. As I got older, I decided to focus on basketball. It was very exciting and allowed me to learn life skills. I was a social butterfly. One coach kept coming to my games and eventually, he offered me a scholarship. I transitioned from high school basketball straight into college and it completely changed my life.
My father died when I was seven, so my mom was both a mother and father figure for most of my life. But even though my mom was there, she was working hard to support us so that we could live in a decent area. Really, I raised myself.
When I was 18, my mom went to live in a different country. I had to live with my sister, who I didn’t know well. I had to become an adult quickly.
Unfortunately, I got mixed up with the wrong friends, which led me to getting into trouble. After that, I was incarcerated for a year and a half.
I was so devastated making that first phone call to my coach. I said to him, “I don’t want to lose everything.”
I was scared about going to prison. Prison is a really challenging environment full of uncertainties. The only people you have to talk to are the inmates that you live with. But this experience changed my perspective. It showed me there are people in prison who have potential and just need a helping hand. I learned skills that I never thought I could, and I used that time to rethink my life.