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The Story of DJ Hamilton: Young Adulthood

Updated: Dec 31, 2023

So here we are… Young Adulthood: The current chapter of my life at just 23 years old. From The Early Years teaching me how to adapt, giving me that inner drive, and making friends easily, to High School teaching me not everyone’s for me and how to overcome adversity, to College tapping into my creative side and taking things to the next level.

I would need a culmination of all I’ve learned through those eras through young adulthood. After graduating from New Paltz in May of 2022 I would go through depression,  witness tragedy, and heartbreak, land a media job, become a local radio host in my hometown, adopt the Black Winter Soldier persona, do my first ever visual interviews, and meet well-known people from Rich Paul, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, and more.

Let's get into it.

Walmart (May 2022-August 2022)

Upon graduating from New Paltz, I worked at Walmart in Monroe for the first three months post-graduation since I couldn’t land a media job before graduating college even though I tried countless times.

I worked there from May 2022 to August 2022. During my time at Walmart, I was still actively looking for jobs as I knew I wasn’t going to be there long and said this was a for the time being job.

During my time there I met Cameron and my guy Gassendi who are both around my age being a year younger than me. Both went to Albany and just graduated this year.

Both are hilarious and some of the funniest guys I met. Whenever we took our 15s or hour lunch break our stomachs would laugh till it hurt the majority of the time.

We always talked about music, sports, or as most guys do, girls. At the time Gassendi and I  were in relationships while Cameron was the single one so we usually just talked about our partners and how life was.

I typically worked as a cashier or in the garden area which was very hot on sunny days in the summer where I had to water the plants every hour or two so they didn’t dry out.

There were other people I met at Walmart such as Lucy, the supervisor of all the cashiers who was very cool and laid back and always very understanding. She had a great sense of humor and had corny funny jokes.

Overall, Walmart wasn’t bad but I was tired of customer service jobs and knew I was meant for more. I’m cool with both Cameron and Gassendi but more closer to Gassendi who I still talk to today.

I left Walmart in late August 2022 after securing a job as a back technician at Medwiz Pharmacy where I started on Labor Day of 2022.

At Medwiz. where my older brother Andre worked at the time I met people such as my guy Jason Hu (who was my supervisor), Gary, Ron, Mo, Pat Tyler, Lenick, and so forth.

Life Stress and Tragedy

Before I started at Medwiz life had already started to come at me slowly but surely… Fast.  It first started one August Sunday when my old car while driving to work all of a sudden broke down on me on the road… Luckily it wasn’t the highway. I already needed a new converter for my car and didn’t need more issues to stress me out. I waited for hours for the tow truck from my insurance to come which wasn’t fun.

That was just the tipping of the iceberg of what was to come as went to the dealer and Autozone to ask if there was another way to clean my converter without having to buy a whole new one because I didn’t have the money for one as converters are near $2,000 alone excluding labor.

The dealer and Autozone both told me to use Cataclean to help clean up any clogs in the converter, so I listened. I shouldn’t have. When I eventually used the liquid that day in my car and went for a drive like both instructed to drive a certain mileage afterward on the Palisades Parkway heading to Walmart my car started sputtering and it was scary.

As I make the turn after driving a certain amount like they instructed my car completely shuts down in the left lane of the parkway. I was terrified because the parkway (if you know the Palisades one) has no side area to pull your car over on either side safely to avoid fast oncoming traffic.

Thankfully my emergency light still worked and I couldn’t even start my car. Nothing was working. I called my mom, older brothers, etc My life was flashing before my eyes as all these cars were beeping and coming very fast behind me.

I was there for at least two hours on a parkway with no side area to pull my car safely, super fast oncoming parkway traffic, a car that wouldn’t start, and I was all alone with terrible service. Two people were genuine and kind enough to pull over and try to help me push my car to the side. The first one tried but he couldn’t after a few tries then left.

The second person tried and we almost got it but it wasn’t enough and my car almost crossed the right lane so I didn’t want to risk getting into the other lane too. Long story short, the tow truck finally came and I had to pay $250 just to get my car towed back for 8 miles! I was furious as I listened to the dealer and people from Autozone (never again) and it cost me and almost my life.

I was mad at the world cause this was just two weeks after my car shut off on me on my way to work that August Sunday not too long ago. But it gets worse, because on September 19, 2022, while I was leaving work and waiting for a streetlight to turn green, one car slid behind me and came crashing right into the back bumper of my car.

Add that list to another of problems as I needed a converter, my mirror got clipped not too long before then and now my bumper was cracked. Luckily the guy didn’t hit and run (ironically his name was Donald like me) and was a very nice guy.

My car had to go to the shop and they said it would have a salvaged title if I kept it and I would get less money back to fix it instead of getting more for a new car from the guys' insurance.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a very independent person so when I didn’t have a car for two months from September to November I felt so helpless and it frustrated me. I couldn’t go or leave anywhere of my own free will. I appreciate my mom (who picked me up from work), my former partner who (brought me to work when the taxi couldn’t), and the taxi guy Luis (who picked me up twice a week). I was not too fond of it.

That was enough stress in my life, but true disaster struck in November, a time I’ll never forget. It was the second weekend of November 2022, and my former partner’s mom, who I was very close to, even considered me her son-in-law was very sick heading into that weekend.

  It was the night of November 11th heading into November 12th. I didn’t have a car yet as I was still in search of one,  but I was sleeping over that weekend. 

It’s around 1 or 2 am, and my former partner turns the light on and wakes me up saying “DJ you have to get up now!” I get up not knowing what’s going on and half asleep cause of how late it is, next thing you know I see my former partner and her older sister in their mom’s room… Her eyes are closed, she’s not breathing and not responding.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing as my eyes quickly bulged wide open. They were trying their best to get her to respond, everything you could think of but nothing was working. I don’t want to get into too many details of what was the most heartbreaking and traumatic weekend of my life that forever changed me and my perspective on life. 

The ambulance took till about 2 am to arrive and tried everything they could. We were at the hospital for over 24 hours. There were many times I went into the room she was held in with the family and a couple of times alone as well.

Me and my former partner cried many times together and one time in the bathroom both cried so hard she was too weak to stand up so I lifted her and grabbed her tight crying with her helping her stand up that Saturday, November 12th.

I just couldn’t believe it. There was one instance when I sat in the room there alone with her just in sadness.

I cried my eyes out like I never cried before. I spoke to her remembering all the great times we had, the laughs we shared, all the times she called me her son like the son she never had, how we always called each other “Ray of Sunshine” because we both always lit up a room with our presence and smiles and were usually always happy.

I remember making a promise speaking to her that day that I was going to keep to myself but my heart was just broken and in disbelief. Me and the family as the crowd in the waiting room grew larger and larger of friends and relatives as word got out and all of us continued to wait to see if she’ll open her eyes again.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. On November 13, 2022, around 2-3 P.M. Eastern time Mrs.Peterson passed away at the age of 55. The doctors tried everything, she had lost a lot of blood and wasn’t breathing on her own.

There was one point where it seemed she would make it which gave us all some hope, but unfortunately, it didn’t continue on that path.

Everyone was crying their eyes out, including me. At first, I was frozen, I said to myself this can’t be real, just like when my former partner woke me up that night at the house telling me to get up.

I gave my former partner, her sisters, and her father all a big hug multiple times and sat next to my former partner and allowed her to cry on my shoulder as I cried too.

When I hugged her dad he emphasized to me how much his wife loved me and I cried and we hugged each other tightly. All of us stayed in the room after hearing the news for about an hour or two before heading into the waiting room that Sunday for another two to three hours just to reminisce on memories of her and the times we all shared with her.

That day and weekend changed me forever. I always knew life was fragile and short and to always appreciate the time you have on this earth and your loved ones, but having someone taken so soon whom I loved so much and loved me just as much back whom I talked about everything with from wanting to marry her daughter, my goals in life, life in general, etc.

Just taken away so suddenly and tragically changed me forever. I lost Michael before when I was 15, but I was younger then, I wasn’t fully aware of what depression was and was a young kid even though his passing was tragic and hurt me too.

She was the person I was closest to that I ever lost personally and it took a toll on me mentally. I stayed out of the house to support my partner for a few more days and called out work the following two days just so I could be there for her to help prepare for the funeral.

Once I did start working again I could not focus at all mentally. I just kept thinking is my former partner ok? What’s she doing? Is she eating? And so forth while also being depressed myself.

The family held the funeral about a week later with many friends and family members coming to give their condolences. I didn’t want to talk to anyone but I tried to keep a happy face to greet people and introduce myself while standing next to my former partner.

Nothing would be the same again.

The Breakup (December 17, 2022)

Breakups are one of the toughest things any human being will ever have to go through in their lives no matter male or female, especially if you’re the dumpee.

All breakups hurt, but nothing hurts more than when it’s your first true love and someone you were with since you both were 18-year-olds growing up together basically and was each other’s first love and I was her first boyfriend as I mentioned in my College Years article.

So it’s a frigid cold Saturday that day. My former partner and her older sisters and dad go to Chase Bank to get them all on one account now in case anything were to happen to anyone after the passing of their mom and her father’s wife.

I wait in the lobby at Chase on my phone trying to keep myself busy while waiting for them. We were there say about an hour and some change. Afterward, my former partner and I went to the mall cause I wanted to take her to Dave & Buster's just to try to help get her mind off things and get away from the darkness I knew she was going through.

Earlier that week I asked if she wanted to do ice skating together for the first time since we never tried it, but she didn’t want to and said Dave & Buster’s is fine which I was fine with anything just to see her smile or something.

We go to the Palisades that day and things just get out of hand. I tried to calm her down nothing was working, I tried giving words of affirmation, hugging her, and even getting out of the car to go to her side (driver's side) and she locked the door on me. 

At that point, I was getting frustrated cause I’m like I was trying everything I could think of and nothing was working. It was freezing outside and I was heated so I went into the mall for about 10-15 minutes to cool down.

It was around Christmas time so bands were playing and there was plenty of music and people at the mall. I listened to one band play and enjoyed the holiday spirit music to calm myself down as I wasn’t in the best place mentally either.

When I came back to the car (as we were parked there for hours) I tried saying let’s go have fun and get our mind off things but it didn’t work. Then I said something she took the wrong way completely and all hell broke loose.

Things were said to me that shouldn’t have been said and hands were put on me. I was so shattered and heartbroken because I was just trying to help someone I loved more than anyone I loved before and just wanted to see her happy.

At that point I just wanted to go home so on the way back to her house we didn’t talk at all… Complete silence. We walked into her house I was furious at this point and I was contemplating going home cause I was sleeping over that weekend.

Of course, with the soft spot I had for her, I calmed down and asked her can we talk things out. I tried asking multiple times but she didn’t want to and refused. She asked me to leave and yelled at me to leave which shattered me cause I was like how can someone who had good intentions in the heart for someone they loved turn into such a nightmare?

One of her older sisters was there, her boyfriend, and her dad was downstairs. When I had my stuff in my hand I looked at her one last time and went downstairs to leave.

As I went outside the dad asked me where I was going as he looked confused and asked what happened. I told him we got into an argument and she wanted me to leave and he said ok with a disappointed and sad look on his face.

I sat in my car while it warmed up looked at the house and left. That was the last time I was there. I was so sad going back home but I went to the gas station first to get gas and tried calling her again and asked her if I could come back and are you sure about this.

She didn’t want me to come back after I called three times and I went home crying. That night I got home and my mom asked me if everything was okay as it was a Saturday and she knew I never came back on Saturdays whenever I slept over at my former partner's house which I did numerous times.

I pretended I was okay and said “Yeah Mom I’m fine” while going to my room heartbroken not wanting to talk to anyone at all.

That wasn’t even the official breakup yet as I got a text the next day December 18, 2022, when she made it official and broke up with me after three and a half years together.

I tried telling her you’re making a mistake and not thinking straight I was just trying to help any way I could. But she didn’t care. 

I tried numerous times asking can we talk about it. Can we work this out? That’s what couples do, you stand by each other's side through the good and bad times of one another’s life and I knew I was always there for her through the good and bad times during our time together.

I was crying so hard that night, similar to the day her mom passed and when I talked to her mom in the room alone when I made that promise. 

This is where the people from Medwiz come in such as Ron, Jason Hu, and Lenick come in who helped me tremendously during the darkest time of my life. It took a while but the first two weeks after the breakup were by far the worst.

I was not only heartbroken and shattered from losing my dear friend to my former partner’s mom, but it was compounded by her breaking up with me and turning her back on me when I was just trying to help.

I couldn’t eat and couldn’t focus at work. My mom found out not too long after, like a day after the breakup because she saw I wasn’t eating and appetite wasn’t there (moms just know).

That night was the first time in my life I ever cried into my mom's arms outside of my little kid years. Never did in high school, college, or young adulthood until then. My heart was shattered in a way it had never been before in my entire life and the most emotional pain I’ve ever gone through from Mrs.Peterson’s passing to the breakup.

Many helped me get my mind off things at my old job at Medwiz like Jason saying I could get any girl I wanted due to my personality, charm, physique, and looks. Even said if he looked like me he’d go on five dates a day one time lol to cheer me up, but he meant it.

Ron helped me too, who’s a few years older than me along with Mo who helped a lot during those dark days.

They all helped and I’m forever grateful for them, but the one who was like an angel sent from heaven to save me was Lenick.

Lenick, a black Haitian woman (god bless her) I worked with at Medwiz in the emergency kit department who started about a week or two before the breakup happened that December… Ironic right?

She’s a mom who’s been through her heartbreaks and experiences in life. She helped me so much and I’m forever grateful god brought someone like that into my life when I needed it most.

We still keep in touch from time to time and I always thank her and I’ve shown her all my great accomplishments I would go on to do. 

She helped keep me busy, gave me great life advice, and I kept blaming myself at first but then when I told her the full story she said it was not my fault and that my heart was coming from a good place. She always kept it real so when she said I did nothing wrong numerous times I started to feel better at times.

It took me a while to fully get the message because I was hurt deeply and felt so betrayed which she understood. I still somehow found it in my heart despite everything done to me to give her a dragonfly bracelet with her mom’s initials of her first name (her mom loved dragonflies) that I bought the day she passed and wanted her to have something to remember her.

The day before the argument also bought her dad a dragonfly bracelet with his former wife’s name and her favorite color (purple). My former partner came to my job on December 30, 2022, and gave each other whatever gifts we already bought.

Many of my coworkers said they would’ve returned the gifts I bought because I didn’t deserve all that, but I said it would mean a lot to them and just wanted them to have it to remember Mrs. Peterson.

I couldn’t stop talking or thinking about my ex and felt like someone stabbed a sword through my heart. I tried numerous times to save our relationship but as the old saying goes… “It works both ways.” She shut me out and neglected me.

 I was depressed for a while, even crying in my car rides at times the first few months after the breakup, and also raged because I felt betrayed. Someone I stood by through all the good and bad throughout our three and a half years together. So much built-up anger, sadness, and depression.

Everything I’ve been through in life from not knowing my biological dad, Michael’s tragic passing, tearing my ACL in high school that cost me a year in sports, fake friends, having my heart shattered when I meant good by someone I thought was the love of my life, depression, etc. led to the legend being born… No more fake love or disrespect!

The Black Winter Soldier

Me after a boxing workout in Los Angeles in August 2023

I joined the gym a week after the breakup. Yeah friends helped me get through and family, but I couldn’t be in the house all the time outside of work, especially early on, as that was my first true heartbreak.

I joined the gym in late December of 2022 and created my alter ego that saved me… The Black Winter Soldier.

Similar to how the NBA legend and one of my idols, Kobe Bryant, created an alter ego of his in the “Black Mamba” when the media tried to portray him as some villain due to rape accusations in 2003-04, he used all that built up rage and betrayal and unleashed it on everyone in his path.

That’s exactly what I did, I have always been an active/fit kid all my life, but I used all that emotion, and channeled it healthily. I started going to the gym consistently at least three times a week and took my physique to the next level.

My alter ego is when I’m in the zone working out, nothing from the outside world can bother me and I’m numb to any emotions I save that for when I’m DJ… But the Black Winter Soldier is my version of “The Terminator”... No emotions, all business, no pain, unbothered, and straight focused… Nothing and no one can stop me except myself.

Music helped a lot through the months as well from artists like Drake, Kanye West, Logic, and Kendrick Lamar to name a few. The songs that would get me in the zone were “Money Trees” by Kendrick, “Astrothunder” by Travis Scott, “Unbelievable” by Biggie Smalls”, “IMY2” by Drake, and many others.

One song lyric that hit me deeply and I listened to a lot early on was Kanye’s Jesus Lord song:

 “Sittin' by myself, I'm just thinkin'

About all I've been through, I wish I was dreamin'

Man, it's hard to be an angel

when you surrounded by demons (Jesus)

I watched so many people leave (Lord)

I see 'em change by the sеason, that's mama's seasonin'”

This hit even deeper for me after all I’ve been through because I’ve seen many people switch up throughout my life from people I thought were my friends, my former partner, my biological father, etc. But it made me even stronger mentally and emotionally because like they say “some people come into your life just for a season”.

People come into your life either as blessings or a lesson is what I learned at the ripe age of 22. I’ve always been aware of my surroundings and observing things and people since I was young, but 22 reiterated it to me more than ever before.

This verse symbolizes to me how I got out of the darkness I was in of depression and how I used the depression, heartbreak, and disappointment as a way to elevate my life and that’s exactly what I did. Since the turn of the New Year, I’ve only gotten stronger mentally and physically.

And man did things start getting better in what would become the best year of my life that changed everything where I saw crazy elevation personally and with my brand DJ’s Sports Show.

Writers Writing for my Website, Atlantic City, Landing a Media Job at Active

Jason (left), Gary (right), and I posing for a picture at the casino

January I had my first article on my website done by a writer other than myself my friend Shay Mason who loves the UFC. She would do a few articles for me as would other writers such as Emmanuel and Dominic (who I met in Atlanta), Tommy, my guy Jeremy Wright who I also met in Atlanta who works for ESPN now, and my friend Peter 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 along with everything else I achieved before and would achieve throughout 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.

Going to Atlantic City that Super Bowl to watch the Kansas City Chiefs against the Philadelphia Eagles that weekend with my guys Jason and Gary was the first time I ever went there.

It was so nice at the casino and my room that I had to myself was nice as well. The food was delicious and even got to play some games and watch the boys play poker.

Me at the Yianni's Cafe in Atlantic City

I also started my first job in media (what I went to school for) less than a year after graduating college and was so proud of myself and cried when I got the job offer cause so many job rejections I experienced in a hard field while in college and once I graduated college.

Me posing near the Active sign on March 1, 2023

It hit even more after what I went through as well but this was just the beginning.

I did great in the interviews and impressed everyone Cynthia told me, the person who first interviewed me and who helps all the assistants and ironically we went to the same two colleges in Rockland Community College and New Paltz.

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 working 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, and breakfast brunches, and had a picnic in September and a holiday party recently for Christmas which was fun.

YouTube Videos Going Viral, Interviewing Cory Sloan

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 ish or so 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 speaking.

Wembanyama is 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 to just 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.

Black Sports Symposium, Atlanta, Rich Paul, Etc.

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

Back in December I applied to the Black Sports Symposium sponsored by ESPN but didn’t get the invitation until mid-March. I didn’t think of it until then cause I thought oh well maybe I didn’t get in what else is new, but when I got the invitation is when I started getting very emotional.

I don’t know of this event 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.

It took a few months but man was it worth it. I cried my eyes out that day when I saw the list of guests that 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 who I all got to meet or see up close in person!

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 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, excelling 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.

I’ll dive into the lessons I learned more in-depth when I do my 2023: The Elevation Year article on what’s been the best year of my life. But when 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.

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

All the days I felt like quitting pursuing sports, I was wasting my time because I felt I wasn't getting 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.

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

Me with New York Giants rookie defensive lineman Jordon Riley

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.

First Photoshoot for the Goat Year (23)

Jumping doing the iconic Jordan logo

The day after giving back to the homeless I had my first-ever photoshoot that I planned to do for turning 23 (goat year) with my birthday still a little over a month away at the time on July 25.

I wanted to do a photoshoot in my Jordans and Jordan shirt not only cause it was my 23rd birthday coming up but also for the memories as I get older.

Photos of me posing in my Jordans

I also took in my black leather jacket to feel like a “Bad Boy” because why not? It was so fun doing the photoshoot as I received all the photos digitally and physically for my future photo album.

I would do another amazing photoshoot in November, but the first one will always hold a special place in my heart.

First Time Going to The Club

I’ve always been one to work diligently on my craft with an insatiable work ethic since I was a little kid ( if you read my Early Years you will know).

Of course, you work hard in life to achieve your goals but sometimes I have to remind myself I’m young and need to live a little and have fun in life because you only get one.

Mrs. Peterson’s passing reemphasized to me the importance that you can always make money back… But you don’t get back time, which I also saw early on on an Instagram post in 2023 which hit me deeply and said to myself I’m going to start enjoying my life again.

I had never been to the club before and was about to be 23 and said why not. I went with my guy Kaisan to this place in Pearl River where he, Chris, and I went two weeks prior, and he blessed me for my birthday as we had a good time and had great vibes. 

Met some new people, saw my old friend Matthew Javier from Nyack Middle School, jammed to music, played some pool, and had a few good margaritas as I don’t drink beer since I’m not a fan of it.

Myself, Brian, Matthew, and Ricky

Also took a great picture next to my Lexus (shoutout to Kaisan).

NYC, First Visual Interviews, Los Angeles

Chris (left), Me, and Kaisan (right) posing for a picture in New York City on August 4, 2023

2023 has been a year for the books that'll forever be number one, 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.

First started August off having fun in New York City with my guy Chris Julien, whom I’ve known since the sandbox and reconnected with this year (he owns his car detailing by the way called CleanCrisp Detailing) and Kaisan. The three musketeers.

Kaisan also is a businessman himself with a brand called KayFitness where has his clients he helps teach boxing virtually and in person as well as self-defense. All three of us with our brands and are black-owned… Winners.

We planned the whole day to be in the city, which was fun. Just walking around seeing the views, eating good food, and overall great vibes.

Visual Interviews

A few days after the city 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.

I continued doing more with an elite soccer goalie from Pasadena, California Luis Granados of Manhattanville College who’s a laid-back guy off the field but a fierce competitor on it who's been Goalkeeper of the Year, multiple-time Skyline All-Conference selection, and so forth.

I also interviewed Brianna Fitzgerald, the reigning 2023 Women's SUNYAC Basketball Player of the Year and perennial All-American in October from my alma mater SUNY New Paltz which became my most-played episode of all time with over 600 plays! 

I always love doing interviews to what people’s stories and give them a platform to tell their story of the trials and adversity they’ve been through in life as well as their great accomplishments.

I will continue to interview people in the sports world and probably expand it outside of that as well to music as long as I continue doing this.

Los Angeles (Hollywood)

After interviewing Lamont, about ten days later on August 17, 2023, I left for my first-ever trip to the West Coast for a well-needed and deserved vacation. My cousin Jayson has been living in California since 2020 so I already had a place to stay and only needed to play for a round-trip ticket.

He’s been living there with his friends from college, Juwan, and Prince, who I’m both cool with. It was my first time taking a planned break from doing sports content as I needed it and had been in overdrive before leaving.

I also met Biggz, who’s from New York like me and was vacationing that same week and had just arrived a few days before me. I stayed from the 17th-27th of August and man was it fun.

Of course, I had to get adjusted to the time zone switch with it being three hours back from the East Coast, which was the first time in my life I had to do that. But once I did, we had a lot of fun.

I went to great restaurants when I first got there and one that stood out to me was Castaways which we went to the first night I was there for Biggz's birthday.

I got to see the Hollywood sign and take pictures there, something I’ve always wanted to do on my life bucket list.

Another thing I got to do was see the Hollywood Walk of Fame where I saw greatness, from the stars of Michael Jackson to Bruce Lee, John Singleton, Elton John, and the list goes on.

Taking a picture with the star of the greatest music performer to ever live (Michael Jackson)

I also got to take pictures next to my idol Kobe Bryant’s mural as it was only right since I was in Los Angeles. I went to the Broad Museum as well where I saw such beautiful artwork from great artists and the Academy of Motion Pictures where I saw the great history of the Oscars from its winners to the greatest moments in movie history.

Displaying my passion for my idol of the iconic Kobe mural on August 24, 2023 (Mamba Day)

It was so beautiful and such a great experience.

That wasn’t all I did though as I also did some great boxing exercises with my cousin to stay in shape while on vacation. I never had been to a baseball game so I was honored to go to my first MLB game and witness the great Shohei Ohtani live in person at Angels Stadium when they played the Cincinnati Reds with another phenom in Elly De La Cruz… A double treat.

The legend Ohtani at bat

Cousin Jayson and I at Angels Stadium on August 23, 2023

My cousin Jayson still had to work unfortunately as he is a freelance videographer and photographer. We did have fun at this one girl’s party named Paige for her birthday he had to work on and it was a good one.

Jayson (left), Me, and Biggz (right) having a great time in LA

As the one of youngest people there, it felt good being with people older than me, the vibes were immaculate and took some great photos for memories.

All the Leos gathering for a photo for Paige's (front middle) birthday

I also got to pose in my sleeveless DJ Sports Show Basketball shirt on one of the courts in California and had this idea in my head from even before I headed to LA of creating my first ever promo sports reel for my brand. And we did the thing!

On my last day in Hollywood Jayson, his co-worker/friend Dom (who I also met in California) and I went to the beautiful Santa Monica beach and pier. It was a gorgeous sunny hot day and I lived it up to the fullest going into the water, checking the pier out and we went to eat some food as it got dark before we headed out.

Jayson and I with a classic Chevrolet

In Black Winter Soldier mode doing pullups on the beautiful Santa Monica Beach on August 26, 2023

Before we headed to the beach that day I also got to take photos with iconic hip-hop legends in the background at some place we went to I forgot the name of but it was amazing. 

I also met my cousin's boss, Steven, whose birthday was that day, and is a big Celtics fan as he owns Wood Island Media. I got to tell him about my brand we talked and it was a great time with the other people there as well I got to tell him about my brand and the California experience.

Jayson and I with Steven (middle) on his 34th birthday on August 26, 2023

I got to see where Steven’s office was (his home) where my cousin and the rest of his co-workers worked. It was great to see what he built for himself similar to what I’m trying to do which inspired me and gave me extra motivation.

Overall, California was a therapeutic experience it was everything I expected perhaps better than advertised. Just getting to be in that California sunshine and seeing how more laid back people are on the West Coast as opposed to the East was a sight to see and something I needed being on vacation.

Whenever people asked where I was from and said New York they got a little startled which was funny but I told them I don’t bite and they would laugh and we would have a conversation.

Los Angeles was always somewhere I wanted to experience and I’m glad I treated myself to that. I didn’t want to leave but 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.

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

It 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. 

Becoming a Local Radio Host on WRCR 1700 AM Radio

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.

My local radio debut on WRCR 1700 AM Radio

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.

Adam Silver, MLB Bro, 2nd Photoshoot

My MLB Bro profile picture

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 and 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.

MicVision Studios Photoshoot (November 22, 2023)

An all-business look with my abs flexing

So I did a photoshoot earlier in the year for my goat year (23) in June with my birthday being July 25th. But I wanted to do another one with different outfits on and this time with my chest shaved to have a cleaner more exquisite look.

I paid for a photoshoot time and just wanted to have some great photo content for myself as memories for the rest of my life.

I did six different looks from being shirtless with my black gym gloves on and ripped jean shorts to the blue, white, and red Fashion Nova, the light blue jean jacket, my Nike black Black Winter Soldier look, my DJ’s Sports Show Basketball shirt and the black rose top from the summer.

It was super fun with my guy Todd once again doing his thing as all the photos were natural how I liked them and the lighting was impeccable with no editing needing to be done on them with filters.

The photo shoot was extremely fun and the quality was even higher than the other photo places I went to in June as this place was also the place where I did my visual interviews.

Meeting NBA Commissioner Adam Silver (November 29, 2023)

Shaking hands with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver

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 depressed, his heart shattered and done wrong, overcame all of it and turned the pain into prosperity!

The Early Years taught me how to adapt to my surroundings and people around me quickly. I moved a lot before high school so I always had to learn to introduce myself and socialize with many different people which helped me through the later eras of my life and hence why I guess I make friends easily or can hold a convo with a stranger.

It’s also when that insatiable drive and work ethic started. The desire to be great, leave a positive impact on the world, and inspire others. This helped me through the breakup and depression by adapting and meeting new people, which I have met many through the gym, going out, traveling, and so forth.

It also helped create the Black Winter Soldier.

High School helped me learn how to overcome adversity, which I had to do tremendously during Young Adulthood and high school also helped me develop thicker skin, stop caring what people think about me, and not everyone is your friend.

It’s also when my love for taking photos for memories or videos started and I did plenty of that this year as well.

College is when everything changed. It’s when my creative juices started to take the next level and I created something I can forever call my own and no one can take away from me: DJ’s Sports Show. It changed everything!

That same passion and dedication I put into countless hours of working on my basketball game in the early years and high school I put into this since I created it. It’s reached places worldwide, anywhere you can think of, and has helped inspire many people and led to me meeting the many people I would end up meeting in Young Adulthood such as Rich Paul.

That creative side from college helped me get better at video editing which I did this year, and create more reels for my exercises and sports content.

Without the previous eras of all the lessons I’ve learned from those eras, I’m not who I am today. From the many highs and lows I’ve endured throughout my life I’ve always tried to keep an equilibrium.

The Young Adulthood era of my life is still being written as we speak. I’ve accomplished a lot at just 23, more than many folks older than me. But just know, the story continues because I’m never satisfied and always looking to try to get better.