2014 was an incredible year and has given me plenty to be thankful for. For starters, I am entering 2015 in good health, which I never take for granted. 2014 has also been an incredible ride that has felt like a dream with all of the opportunities I’ve been afforded. I’ve logged over 20,000 miles in 2014 that have taken me across the country and over the Atlantic Ocean. I’ve probably clicked my shutter at least twice for every mile I’ve traveled, creating my shots from some of the world’s greatest stages of all levels. Here is a visual recap of just some of the highlights 2014 blessed me with.
I come from very humble beginnings and have benefitted from the mentorship and support of my family, closest friends and one organization in particular as I overcame my share of adversity to make it as far as I have. So, giving back has always been important to me. The organization that helped me discover a path toward optimism and hope is The Boys’ Club of New York (BCNY) and I was thrilled to go back into the buildings I grew up learning and competing in to create still and moving images for them. Learn more about BCNY by visiting their website: www.bcny.org.
I made my first trip to Art Basel in 2014 where I met with my dear friend and college roommate, Danny, who was gracious (and patient) enough to be my muse for the week. I roamed the streets of Wynwood, Miami Beach, and midtown Miami as I was completely surrounded by creativity and inspiration. A writer and a photographer from the New York Times stopped Danny and me on the street while I was directing him for some portraits and featured a flattering image of my hands holding my camera as I snapped away for their story. I returned to my beloved NYC inspired and even more excited about following my passion for creating.
For those who know me or have followed my work long enough, it is clear that playground basketball holds a special place in my heart. Each summer I do my best to make my rounds throughout the NYC basketball circuit creating my shots from the sidelines of the Tri-State Classic, Hoops in the Sun, Watson Classic, West 4th, Entertainer’s Basketball Classic at Rucker Park (and, in 2014, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn too), Dyckman, Lower East Side (LES) Express, Gersh Park, and every major tournament that time allows me to get to. In 2014 I was also able to create my shots from the sidelines of the Goodman League down in Washington, D.C. I love the energy in these different parks and the directors all do such a fantastic job of bringing entertainment to the community with DJs, announcers, celebrity guests, and, of course, exceptionally talented players and highly anticipated match ups.
In 2014 Jordan Brand opened up one of the single most magnificent basketball facilities I have ever seen and called it Terminal 23. Created for New York Knickerbocker Carmelo Anthony, this basketball palace has been the court of choice for many of the greatest basketball players in the world. Melo, Kevin Durant, Kemba Walker, Tobias Harris, Lance Stephenson, David Lee, and a long list of other professional hoopers utilized the space to work out and get good runs going as they prepared for the upcoming season. I was also privileged to shoot Oak Hill, Montverde Academy, Duke University, and Gonzaga among many elite high school and NCAA basketball programs at Terminal 23 while they were in NYC for various tournaments. Walking out of the gym feels like waking up from a dream I never want to end, every single time.
When I first started writing for Bounce Magazine back in 2006 or 2007, one of my first big assignments was to cover the Elite 24 at Rucker Park. I created my shots of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Lance Stephenson, John Wall, Jared Sullinger, and many other ballers who have made their way to the NBA and are putting together stellar careers. Since then the Elite 24 moved out to California for a couple years and returned to the Mecca of basketball in 2013. In 2014 the game was held at perhaps the best outdoor venue I’ve witnessed in Brooklyn with a vista of lower Manhattan behind the team benches. The talent on the court was a spectacle for sure. This was another dreamy shoot for me that had me walking on clouds just to have the opportunity to create images of the prestigious basketball event.
2014 was so full of highlights and amazing experiences, I couldn't squeeze it all into one post. This concludes part 1 of my 2014 recap. Come back tomorrow to see part two. HAPPY NEW YEAR!