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2023: The Elevation Year 💫🐐

After finishing my autobiography series, The Story of DJ Hamilton, where I reflected on the different eras of my life thus far (Early Years, High School, College, and Young Adulthood), I now want to dive deeper into what I learned from 2023, a year unlike any other of my life thus far… The absolute best year of my life where I saw exponential growth from new experiences of traveling to Atlanta for the Black Sports Symposium event sponsored by ESPN, Los Angeles, to meeting prominent sports figures such as Rich Paul, Adam Silver, Chris Broussard, and Steve Wyche to name a few.

I also grew my brand DJ’s Sports Show. I took things to the next level from having writers write for my website for the first time, getting better at video editing where I had YouTube videos go viral, becoming a local radio host on WRCR 1700 AM radio, and conducting my first ever visual interviews for the first time.

I also got better at cooking and became the Black Winter Soldier taking my physique and mental to new heights.

Let us dive into the greatest year of my life and goat year (23)... The Elevation Year.

January: Black Winter Soldier, Writers for My Website

Me after a boxing workout in Los Angeles in August 2023

Similar to athletes, I take my physical health very seriously as someone who played sports growing up such as basketball and track. If you read my Young Adulthood article, you will know what I went through in 2022, culminating in the Black Winter Soldier (my alter ego) being born.

Physical and mental health is crucial to a long healthy life and I took mine to the next level this year. You can read more in-depth on the Black Winter Soldier in Young Adulthood.

The turn to 2023 also was the first time I had writers besides myself write for my website. From Shay Mason, who loves the UFC. She would do a few articles for me as would other writers such as Emmanuel and Dominic (whom I met in Atlanta), Tommy, my guy Jeremy Wright, whom I also met in Atlanta and who works for ESPN now, and my friend Peter Ingenito from New Paltz.

It was surreal that at just 22, I not only owned my own sports brand/website but can also say I’ve had people write for it,  which is an amazing accomplishment with everything else I achieved before and would achieve throughout 2023.

February: Landing a Media Job at Active Media

Me posing near the Active sign on March 1, 2023

Despite having my first writer write for my website in January, February is when things started to look up and the elevation started to happen. First, it was the gym and elevating my mind and physique, but then experiencing new places such as Atlantic City and landing a media job was just the beginning.

Even though I’m still trying to land a gig full-time in sports, landing a media job as a local media assistant less than a year after graduating college is something I didn’t take for granted.

I made some new friends while working at Active which I have been at since February 15, 2023. From Zach, Niko, Gil,  Calvin, Lindsey (who I went to high school with), Joe, Harry, Michael, and so forth.

All of us are around the same age around our early, mid, and late twenties which makes for an enjoyable environment since we can all relate to one another since we’re in the same generation.

This job is the first job I’ve ever had with real benefits and work hybrid as every job I ever had beforehand was all in person. The work environment is great, everyone was welcoming when I first started, and even have job parties and do fun activities at times from pumpkin carving to breakfast brunches, and had a picnic in September and a holiday party recently for Christmas which was fun.

It usually takes people years to get something in their field or never do… I was blessed too.

March: YouTube Videos Going Viral, Interviewing Cory Sloan, Invited to Black Sports

So I already had a podcast and website that hits places worldwide, but coming into 2023 I said I wanted to get better at video editing to continue distinguishing myself from the rest and add to my repertoire.

The more you know the better right? I taught myself how to create a podcast and get it on different platforms, and how to create a website, so why not start teaching myself video editing?

I made my first YouTube video back in September 2022 before life went haywire for me. It received over 4,000 views and was titled NBA: A New Era. I was proud of it at the time and only had around 20 subscribers on my YouTube channel at the time.

If the Anthony Simon interview was the game-changer for the podcast, the NBA 75 article I did that’s reached over 1,000 views was for the website, then my video on now San Antonio Spurs rookie phenom Victor Wembanyama I released on March 9, 2023, was for my Youtube Channel.

I had started that video back in September of 2022 but life happened so I never got to finish it until around late February or early March. It was the first video ever of me that I edited with my voice on it.

Wembanyama was considered the best NBA prospect since LeBron James or perhaps in NBA History, so I was hoping for it to do good… But little did I know it would blow my expectations out of the water.

I titled it Meet “The French Mamba” Victor Wembanyama: The Best Prospect in NBA History. The French Mamba part is due to him being from France and having the killer instinct to be great like the late great Kobe Bryant which drew many eyeballs and caught people’s attention because no one had given him the nickname in the media so I said I’ll do it myself.

I also added the best in NBA history part and not since LeBron to raise people’s eyebrows so they say they think to themselves “What we got here?” Someone who can potentially go down better than arguably the greatest player of all time?

I marketed it perfectly and put the hashtags to reach more people organically as well as put $10 in to reach more people. I was hoping for it just to break the 4,000 of my previous… And boy did it!

Just a few days in I’m seeing the video get to 5,000, then eventually 10,000, 20,000, 30,000… I couldn’t believe it. The numbers continued to skyrocket reaching 50,000 then 60,000, and ultimately finishing with over 90,000 views!

Throughout the process of the numbers rising I gained over 250+ subscribers to my channel with that video. It also showed me that ok, maybe I can be solid at video editing and be a man who can do all three in media from talent from my podcast to a writer doing the blogs for Hoopshabit and my website, and now YouTube videos.

A jack of all trades.

I continued to do videos from  Iowa Hawkeye women's basketball phenom Caitlin Clark which received over 10,000 views and helped me gain another 100+ subscribers as well as current UCLA Bruin center Aday Mara, which received over 40,000 and other videos as well.

My love for video editing started to grow and I never thought in my wildest dreams I’d have videos reach tens of thousands of views.

That Wembanyama video changed everything for me video editing-wise.

That same month I released the Wembanyama video I also interviewed my first-ever college coach Cory Sloan of the Clinton College Men’s Basketball team of the NAIA as the youngest coach in the NCAA where we got into his life story, why he loves coaching, and what got him into it.

March is also the month when I found out I was invited to attend the Black Sports Symposium event sponsored by ESPN in Atlanta in April.

I found out through email on Friday, March 17th, emotions were high that day and the days following. All those days and many years as one of 1,500 attendees of 10,000 applicants to get in showed me I was doing something right.

I cried some more when I looked at the iconic list of speakers who would be there from Rich Paul (CEO of Klutch Sports and LeBron James agent), Maria Taylor (NFL Analyst on NBC), Steve Wyche of NFL Network, former All-Pro NFL linebacker who’s on SEC Network in Takeo Spikes, Tru Pettigrew (Chief Officer of Diversity & Inclusion for the NBA Minnesota Timberwolves and WNBA Minnesota Lynx) and so much more!

Steve Wyche and I taking a picture

Me and former NFL All-Pro linebacker Takeo Spikes

Me and Whitney Meyers (Head of Community Relations for the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars)

The current NFL on NBC reporter Maria Taylor

Tru Pettigrew (Head of Diversity & Inclusion for Minnesota Timberwolves & Minnesota Lynx) and I

The event was hosted in Atlanta, Georgia at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium (home of the NFL Atlanta Falcons).

I don’t know of this event and would have met all the great people I would meet if it wasn’t for Damian the barber who’s the owner of the Rockland Community barbershop in Spring Valley who has known me since I was a little kid. He knew how much I loved sports and knew how hard I worked on my craft and one of his customers sent him the link to send me to sign up to see if I get invited.

Thank you, Damian!

April: Atlanta, Rich Paul & More

Taking a photo at Mercedes Benz-Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia as 1 of 1,500 invitees of over 10,000 applicants

Flying to Atlanta on April 12th, 2023, I was a little anxious having it be my first flight alone and my first flight in 16 years since 2007 when I went to Sea World for my seventh birthday. I was also excited because I was looking forward to all the knowledge I would learn and forming numerous connections from many across the sports world.

I put my beats in and listened to music as I enjoyed the views near the window seat on a two-hour flight. The music and excitement quickly helped get rid of any anxiousness and anxiety from being high up in the air.

Once I landed and got to my hotel I saw the beautiful views of Georgia. Atlanta is where I met and made new lifelong friends for life in the OGs (know who they are) from Danny, Mike, Meghan, Parish, Justin, Tyler, and Chris. All are great at their crafts and all share the same passion for sports. I’m the youngest in the group, and we’ve all kept in contact every day since we met in April in Atlanta.

Mike, Parish, Chris, Myself, Justin, and Danny in that order

Tyler and I posing with the ESPN logo behind us

The vibes were genuine and great and they have helped me immensely in sharpening my craft as we all help push each other to be our best and talk about life as well. I’m so young they all call me nephew lol, Chris first started calling me then it caught on.

Danny is a wizard at data analytics, knows NBA people, has worked with creating past NBA games and Madden, and used to be on the radio and writes for Substack. Mike has his podcast called Touring the AFC South and is a wizard full of football knowledge but also other sports as well like basketball.

Mike brings on guests weekly and is extremely consistent with his podcast which you all should check out. Meghan is the female of the group, she writes for USA Today Sports, has her website and podcast called Hall of Sports, and is proficient in almost every sport from basketball, football, and baseball to name a few.

Parish has his podcast called Let’s Be Real Media with other co-hosts which I was on before the NFL season where we collaborated. He also is a media member of the Memphis Grizzlies.

Justin is the best video editor in the group excels at visual content and has tens of thousands of subscribers on YouTube and sponsors as well for his brand. And lastly, Chris, who covers football and basketball also has his podcast called Couchcoach Live.

I also met people around my age such as Jazz, Chauncey D. Sanders, and my boy Dylan. Jazz is a freelance journalist who covers the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA and will be working at ESPN as a production assistant starting in January 2024.

Dylan is from Atlanta and has his podcast called Chillin With Dylan and also writes for Clutch Points, covering college football and the NBA as an associate editor.

Chauncey is a brilliant person and media talent who works for the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL and is a true genuine brother who at first I thought was related to NFL legend Deion Sanders lol. I'm glad and honored to have met him.

I formed numerous connections with people who have the same passion and mindset such as myself which was a blessing. I formed many more connections from people across the sports world from ESPN, the NFL, MLS, MLB, NHL, some NBA teams, you name it.

Even though Atlanta was a business trip I also made sure to have some fun by walking around the town a bit and seeing the beautiful scenery it had to offer. The food was exquisite and my room was a dream that I had all to myself when I first landed there on April 12th.

It was a three-day event where they offered breakfast and lunch the first day, only lunch the second day, and helped yourself the final day. On the first day, I met the legend Rich Paul who was the main speaker of all the speakers.

But there were also other great speakers as well such as the great Dawn Staley- A WNBA legend, multi-time National Champion Head Coach for the Women’s South Carolina Gamecocks Basketball Team, an Olympic Gold Medalist, and much more.

One lesson I learned from the great Staley is how authentic she genuinely is. Staley keeps her circle very small and came from a tough upbringing in Northern Philadelphia. Here are a few life lessons I’ve learned from the great Dawn Staley:

  • “Be an asset, not a liability”

  • “Protect your peace, don’t let everyone/everything bother you”

  • “Never get too high, or too low…Keep an equilibrium”

  • “ Learn how to lose, to learn how to win big”

  • “In hurt and discomfort, there is growth”

  • Self-assured, doesn’t care about what others think/opinions

These hit me so deeply after everything I’ve been through in my life, especially the darkest time of my life from August ‘22 to February ‘23 when I went through heartbreak, life stress, losing someone important to me, and so forth. The protect your peace and self-assured part hit me because she hit it right on that life is always going to have obstacles thrown at you and not everyone is going to like you. 

Are you going to let that affect you when you know who you truly are as a person? Are you going to let it eat you alive what others think of you? If you do you won’t be able to make it in this life if you keep pondering about others' opinions about you and everything else and that’s something I took out from the legend.

Another thing that stood out to me is when she stated never get too high or too low and learn how to lose, to learn how to win big.

The great Staley also stated, “In hurt and discomfort, there is growth.” That’s exactly what happened to me in my life and I resonated with that statement.

Meeting Rich Paul & Lessons I Learned

Rich Paul and I posing for a picture together in Atlanta, Georgia on April 13, 2023

An icon, mogul, trendsetter, and game-changer are the words I would use to describe the legendary Rich Paul, who’s LeBron James agent and CEO of Klutch Sports. He took time out of his very busy schedule to come to spend time with all the attendees in Atlanta and dropped nothing but gems to everyone who was blessed to hear the knowledge he was giving.

As a big basketball historian of the NBA and a LeBron James fan, it was a surreal moment getting to meet and shake hands with someone who’s revolutionized the sports agency game and someone I never envisioned meeting in the flesh.

Here’s what I learned from Paul:

  • “It ain’t all ups and downs, but the downs are just as important as the ups.”

  • Can’t take shortcuts to success

  • “If your habits are bad, money doesn’t matter”

  • “Don’t embrace your excuses”

Also having my heart broken in December 2022, losing important people in my life, and just the struggle at times in life with a single mother and more.

It all made me stronger mentally, emotionally, and physically, making me the man I am today and I’m thankful for those experiences because life ain’t always “sunshine and rainbows” as the old saying goes and only its toughest soldiers survive the darkest of times.

Another one of those quotes that stood out to me was when he stated “ Can’t take shortcuts to success.” If you want to be successful and make a positive lasting imprint as a figure in this world in whatever it is, sports, music, acting, becoming a doctor, lawyer, and so forth.

 If you want to be great you must put in the work and go the extra mile that most wouldn’t… That is how you separate yourself from your peers and stand out.

That ties into another thing he mentioned about not embracing excuses. As they say “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard” and it couldn’t be more true. It doesn’t matter how talented you are in whatever your given profession, if you don’t put in the work to maximize your gifts whether it’s your voice as a singer, acting as an actor, body for an athlete, and so forth… You’ll always have regrets about never seeing how far and great you could become because you weren’t willing to try to do the little things to take the next step.

 Remember, it’s always better to try your best and know you gave it your all than to never try and have regrets. That’s what I abide by every day from my sports brand, relationships, and so on give it all you have every single day because it can go a long way.

Paul also was promoting his biography “Lucky Me” which came out in October and I was blessed to be there in person when he was speaking about it.

In the end Rich agreed to take pictures with everyone when they announced at the end of his speech, I was lucky enough to be in the front row on the left side.

Everyone rushed to take a picture with the legend. As I wait in line for my moment to come to shake the icon's hand I’m thinking to myself “This can’t be real”, “I feel like I’m in a dream.” 

When my moment finally came, I walked across the stage with the thousands in attendance and the lights flashing on me with many cameras taking our picture. As I was walking across that stage I was crying happy tears inside and my life was flashing before my eyes, all the good, the bad, the highs and lows I’ve been through in life brought me to this very moment.

All the days I felt like quitting pursuing sports, I was wasting my time because I felt I didn’t get enough plays on a podcast episode I worked hard on or views on an article I put so much time into and felt no one was seeing me. Days of losing my voice at times from long recordings or wrist pain from doing so many articles where I had to ice my wrist at times when home due to the pain in my right wrist.

Then I’m here shaking Rich Paul’s hand, arguably the greatest agent in sports history who changed the game! As I shook his hand the conversation went as follows:

Rich: “What’s up young fella where you from?”

Me: “I’m from the 845 in Haverstraw, NY in Rockland County, an honor to meet you.”

Rich: “You’re  putting on for your town and likewise brother, it’s an honor to meet you too.”

As I walked down the stage to let the next person get their picture with the legend (who stayed to take pics with everyone in line by the way), I felt I was living a dream and said to myself “I just shook and had a small conversation with Rich Paul!”

Something no one from my area can say they ever have and the only one to be invited from my area to such an event. I was so happy and thankful and filled with emotions.

Glad that voice inside me through the years told me to never quit, because if I did… I’m not there shaking Rich Paul’s hand and meeting all the other numerous incredible people I met in Atlanta those few days.

Smiling with the ESPN logo behind me in Atlanta

I posted on social media and everyone from my area was stoked and gave me my flowers and said I deserved it more than anyone and that I was putting the area on the map.

Never quit.

June: Giving Back to the Homeless, Meeting New York Giants Players

Me with one of the homeless (Mike) posing for a picture after a great talk

On June 16, 2023, about two months after meeting Rich Paul and all the others I met in Atlanta,  I had the honor to meet a few players from the New York Giants from rookie cornerback Tre Hawkins, former Giants defensive end (now on the Seattle Seahawks) Leonard Williams, and head of community relations in Ethan Williams.

Former Giants defensive tackle (now Seattle Seahawks) Leonard Williams and I

Giants rookie cornerback Tre Hawkins and I smiling while giving back

Me with New York Giants rookie defensive lineman Jordon Riley

Me and Ethan Williams (Head of Community of Relations for the New York Giants)

I volunteered to give back to the homeless at Metlife Stadium and wanted to give back to those less fortunate than me while also getting to meet some personnel of the Giants. A win-win.

I was with my guy Jason and one of his other boys who were there promoting their pharmacy called Skylands Pharmacy for the event with other small businesses there as well.

There was good food for free, chiropractors for people to get their back and neck, pedicures and manicures, free clothes for the homeless, and so forth. Everyone had a great time from the volunteers to the homeless.

An experience I’ll never forget and would do again for sure.

August: First Visual Interview with Lamont, Meeting Chris Broussard in LA

2023 has been a year for the books where everything changed for me. The year as a whole has been amazing, but August was one of the months that probably was up there with April when I went to Atlanta.

I took another monumental step in growing my brand and continuing to try to get better by doing more visuals for my podcast. 

My older brother Andre told me about MicVision Studios close to me which I thought only did music and photoshoots. When I found out they do podcasts too and I could visual interviews there I was stoked.

 It’s also where I met my guy Todd (the man behind the camera for my visual interviews and my November photoshoot) who’s one of the best to ever do it in my opinion and his grind is unreal in his craft similar to mine.

Todd and I after finishing conducting my first visual interview

Now I’ve done interviews with athletes before and the college coach I did in March Cory Sloan, was my first-ever coach. But I never done a visual one yet.

For my first visual, I thought it was only right to bring my brother Lamont from Harlem, NY who plays professionally overseas, and let people hear his story as my first guest.

  Lamont and I have been boys since the seventh grade and are still friends to this day as that’s one of my brothers from another mother. We got to dive deep into his story from how he came to love basketball, his upbringing, and how he overcame adversity.

My brother Lamont whom I've known since the 7th grade pre-interview on August 6.2023

YouTube plays don’t count as plays unfortunately on where my podcast platform is held but I still count it anyway. At the time (before I did Brianna’s interview) Lamont was the most-played podcast I ever had with over 230+ plays.

His family loved the interview and many people felt our chemistry and genuine connection as friends for over a decade.

The interview with my brother Lamont reminded me to try to keep a clean heart no matter how people act toward me. The vibe was genuine and fluid since we’ve been boys for over a decade now dating back to 2012 in seventh grade and it’s been nothing but love since.

Chris Broussard

Me with the sports media icon Chris Broussard in LA on August 27, 2023

Going to Los Angeles was always a bucket list thing for me I wanted to do in life and man was it worth it! What made the trip even better was my flight back to New York I had the honor to meet former ESPN NBA analyst and current Fox Sports Radio Co-Host of the Odd Couple and on FS1’s First Things First Chris Broussard.

So this is the story. I’m waiting for the plane to take off but before it does I use the restroom. As I came back from the restroom I still saw no one in my row so I sat near the window seat so I could see the views throughout the flight, similar to my flight to Atlanta.

As I was listening to my music some man politely said “Hey young fella you’re in my seat.” As I look up I’m like no way!! That’s Chris Broussard! I said in my head. I couldn’t believe it.

I got up to let him take his seat and sat down starstruck and tried to calm myself down in my head before I said anything to the legend.

Once I finally calmed down I said to him “Chris Broussard?!” He answered with “Hey young fella how you doing?” Giving a real firm handshake in the process.

Now Rich Paul, Steve Wyche, Maria Taylor, etc. were all blessings to meet, but I knew they were going to be at the Black Sports Symposium in Atlanta in April, 

Meeting Broussard was unexpected and I was shocked, what made it even better was that he was sitting right next to me with no one else in between us so I got to pick apart his brain, ask for advice, and show him all my work (he was highly impressed), and talk about sports and life. 

He was so impressed that he offered me his phone number and email without me asking for it. He also asked if I would be interested in writing for MLB Bro for his Co-Host on Fox Sports Radio of the Odd Couple Rob Parker (which we’ll get into later) and I said of course and that I’m open-minded, hence why I call my brand DJ’s Sports Show meaning all sports.

  I was so stoked as this is one of my idols in the sports media field I’ve been watching since I was a little kid back during his ESPN days in the 2000s.

He’s an inspiration and I asked him if I could take a picture with him and he said: “Yes of course”. Chris is truly one of the realest and greatest to ever do it in the sports world and I’m honored to have him as a mentor. 

If the timing of when I left Los Angeles would’ve been any different, different day, hour, or when I took my vacay to LA I don’t meet the legend Broussard. That’s truly a blessing from God and is one of those moments of my life I’ll never forget because if that doesn’t happen I never meet Broussard and he doesn’t know who I am nor do I get to write for MLB Bro for Rob Parker and he knows me.

Truly thankful for it all.

September: Becoming a Local Radio Host on WRCR 1700 AM Radio, Luis Granados

Signing my contract with WRCR 1700AM Radio on September 9, 2023

Before leaving for Los Angeles I looked for local radio stations near my area so I could bring DJ’s Sports Show to the radio and take things to the next level. I never heard of being able to start a brokerage show until the OG Danny Thompson told me (shoutout to him).

I called WRCR and talked with the audio engineer Will who monitors the audio for me on the show and he was able to talk to one of the bosses Alex for me. They were in on it and I became their first sports show for the station as they didn’t have one before my arrival.

I got to meet Lou Young as well who has his show on climate change called “Tough Times With Lou Young” along with his co-host George who are both right after me as I’m on 12:30-1 pm Eastern time every other Saturday the station and I agreed.

Will, Lou, Myself, and George

I signed a contract with the station and made a big announcement that went viral on Instagram. I was so stoked and ready to take this next step to add official radio to my loaded resume.

I did radio while at New Paltz which helped get me familiar with what radio is like and the rules which helped a lot for WRCR. I’ve had five episodes so far, being able to have callers call into the show, have sponsors, sell ads for the station, etc.

Much different from school radio where I couldn’t have ads playing or promote my brand and there weren’t callers on the show.

WRCR has been fun and I love doing it as I continue to sharpen my skills as a multi-media sports talent.

Luis Granados

I also had the honor to interview Luis Granados of Manhattanville College, an elite soccer goalie from Pasadena, California who’s a laid-back guy off the field but a fierce competitor on it.

We first contacted each other on Instagram DM the day I left for LA on August 17th (ironically the same day Luis was flying to New York for College)  and tried to set up a date so I could interview the young goalie phenom. We both share a mutual friend, Nicholas Julien, who helped get a hold of Luis for me so we could set things up.

When we finally did the interview on Sunday, September 24th, the first thing that stood out to me was how down to earth he was, and man was he tall!

Now I’m usually always taller or near the tallest with the people I hang out with, but this guy made me feel like a little kid with how he towered over me.

In the interview, we talked about his soccer journey, his hometown Pasadena, and his goals after college such as playing soccer professionally as he has a deep passion for the game.

What also stood out to me about Luis is for someone who’s become proficient in the game of soccer, he didn’t love the game right away and was a chubby kid growing up he admitted.

Luis and I on set at MicVision Studios

Once he started dedicating himself to better eating habits and working out, as well as growing taller, he started to see what he could become as he would go on to accomplish great things.

From being named a three-time Skyline All-Conference selection in college, finishing top three in Manhattanville College program history for save percentage,  member of the California Soccer Club, Mission League Goalkeeper of the Year in high school… The list goes on.

I got to learn his humility for someone so accomplished at such a young age and am honored to interview someone I see going far in soccer whether as a player or coach who I’ll be rooting for every step of the way.

October: First Radio Show, The Brianna Fitzgerald Interview

On Saturday, October 7th, I officially made my radio debut on WRCR and that same day after the show I also interviewed Brianna Fitzgerald in October from my alma mater SUNY New Paltz which became my most-played episode of all time with over 600 plays! 

On my debut episode, I just talked about the Damian Lillard trade to the Milwaukee Bucks, Jrue Holiday, and how he could help the Boston Celtics and just introduced myself to the public.

I was a little nervous that day but in a good way. Following that show an hour later I interviewed the reigning 2023 SUNYAC Women’s Basketball Player of the Year from my alma mater SUNY New Paltz, Brianna Fitzgerald!

I first met Brianna when I was a senior in 2021-22 at New Paltz where I was the sports announcer for the Women’s soccer and basketball teams as well as the Men’s basketball team.

That’s how I met numerous athletes from New Paltz whom I formed relationships with from Brianna, Jenny Walton, Sean St. Lucia, Lucas Seyoum, Rylan Blondo, and so forth.

When I was the announcer that season Brianna was a rookie where she won SUNYAC Rookie of the Year and was named an All-American as well, an achievement she continued accomplishing throughout her career.

She’s passionate about the game and is a killer on the court who will do anything it takes to help her team win. It was an honor finally getting to interview her, and I also thank her for the donuts she brought as a treat lol.

November: MLB Bro for Rob Parker, Meeting NBA Commissioner Adam Silver

MLB Bro Headshot for Rob Parker

So I had the honor to meet the legend Chris Broussard on that day on my flight back to the East Coast from Los Angeles I remember telling him I was interested in writing for MLB Bro for his co-host on the Fox Sports Radio show The Odd Couple in Rob Parker.

So one day, about a month and change later one October Sunday I got a random text from Chris in a group chat with another number (Rob’s) that I didn’t know at the time while doing laundry.

Chris stated:

“Rob, DJ is a great young man trying to break into sports journalism. He has done some impressive work and is interested in writing for MLB Bro.”

I was at the laundromat on that day and couldn’t believe it. I’m in a group chat with two legends of the sports media field! I started crying tears man cause I’ve come so far through the years and shows hard work does pay off.

It didn’t feel real seeing that message and having the ability to contact them and have them as mentors is an honor and a blessing I never take for granted.

Me and Rob texted individually, even called me, and wanted to know more about me. I told him all I’d done at just 23 and he was flat-out amazed and stunned.

He thought I was in my late 20s with all the work I’ve done through the years and he was stoked to have me. We talked about sports and life as well and told me what to expect from MLB Bro and said he’ll do anything to help me out as a resource.

It was a pleasure and honor speaking with him and we text from time to time and currently a journalist for his website MLB Bro (which you all should go check out) covering Black and Brown American baseball players in the MLB.

Meeting NBA Commissioner Adam Silver (November 29, 2023)

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and I shaking hands

The week after Thanksgiving I had the honor and privilege to meet the commissioner of my favorite sport (basketball), NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. I went to this Black Friday party, just to have some fun for once since I’m always working on my craft trying to get better, and sometimes have to remind myself to go have fun while I’m young.

At the party, I saw great old friends from middle school and high school through the years which was great catching up with many of them.

I also had the opportunity to meet my guy Samuel Gue who’s been a production assistant for the NBA for over a year now. We’ve known each other through my cousin for years always been cool with one another and have great mutual respect.

Ray (left who I met that night), Myself, and Samuel (right)

At the party, we chatted up and caught up with one another and he informed me the NBA was having a holiday party and he was allowed to bring a guest. He said he thought of bringing me because of my deep passion and love for the game of basketball and because of my brand DJ’s Sports Show he’s been seeing me thrive through the years and wanted to invite me.

I said, “Hell Yeah!” I was so down. I had to wait a few days later for him to confirm I could come, as the person he was originally going to invite didn’t want to go (still has me in disbelief he didn’t want to but shoutout to him lol) but I took full advantage of the opportunity.

When we get there I see the NBA logo sign and so many people who work in the NBA. It was frigid that night, absolutely freezing. Once we got inside the Javid Center where the event was held in Manhattan I was relieved.

I got to network and form new connections, and meet and shake the commissioner of the NBA’s hand! I also got to see legendary music artist Ashanti perform live and take a picture with the Larry O’Brien Trophy! All for free too as I didn't have to pay a penny!

Happy here posing with the Larry O'Brien Trophy

Before we even got to the event I wasn’t sure if the commissioner was going to be there but I said if he was I’m going to get a picture with him and shake his hand because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I may never get again I said to myself.

And knowing me, if I say I’m going to do something and am firm when I say it… I’m going to do it. And that’s exactly what I did… I met and shook hands with the great NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and got to talk with him for a little.

Another picture with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver

An iconic moment I can tell my future kids and grandkids all about just like meeting Rich Paul, Chris Broussard, Steve Wyche, and so many others, and now NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.

These icons I’d never thought I’d ever meet if I were to tell my younger self in the mirror he wouldn’t believe me… Not my high school self, college, early years, or even me a year and change ago of everything that’ll happen to me from the depression, heartbreak, having writers write for my website, Rich Paul, everyone I’d meet in Atlanta, the many connections I’ve formed the past year, meeting Adam Silver, Chris Broussard, Takeo Spikes, writing for Rob Parker, Los Angeles, becoming a local radio host on WRCR 1700 AM and so much more!

And they all know the name DJ Hamilton and I’m the only one from around my area in the Northeast who can say he’s met the most influential sports agent ever (Rich Paul), met the commissioner of their favorite sport (Adam Silver), met an All-Pro NFL linebacker (Takeo Spikes) and sports media legends from Steve Wyche, Chris Broussard, and so forth as well as write for the great Rob Parker.

There were many nights that kid cried sad and happy tears of all he went through and everything he has accomplished. That kid who went through those treacherous dark days was depressed, his heart shattered, and so on.

December: Cousin Lucky’s Baby Shower, Seeing Old New Paltz Friends, Active’s Holiday Party

My older brothers Raheem, and Andre were the first two in the front, Neiko, Lucky and I in the back

In the final month of a year that will be bookmarked number one for me for the foreseeable future, I had my older cousin Lucky’s baby shower and visited my old sports announcing crew at New Paltz I hadn’t seen since I graduated in May of 2022, and my job had a holiday party.

My boys Sean, Rylan, and I after they caught the W.

My beautiful family (just missing Karen and Devonte)

It was a great calm month to end what was a whirlwind year.

Entering 2023 I didn’t know what to expect, nor did I expect to accomplish and meet all the people I would. It was my goat year, having turned 23 in July, as well as with all the experiences and memories I’ll never forget as long as I live.

Stories I can tell my future kids and grandkids! I’m forever grateful for what was the best year of my life for a variety of reasons (getting better at cooking, becoming solid at video editing, forming numerous connections across sports, Rich Paul, Adam Silver, Chris Broussard, Atlanta, LA, becoming a local radio host, the photoshoots, meeting New York Giants players while giving back to the homeless, etc.) that I hope is just the beginning of what’s to come.

2023 was not only the best year of my life where everything changed… It was “The Elevation Year”.

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