Alright so I've never done this before....bare with me while I figure it all out.
Y'all ever notice how all the best teams have a brown guy on them……its almost like the world has made it mandatory to keep things diverse. I'm just happy that I get to be that guy with everyone in the ITL family.
If you guys don’t know me, my name is Nav and today I’m sharing the story of how this all came to be.
Before I get into it, let me drop a little knowledge on who I actually am. Entrepreneur/Hustler/Motivator/Foodie/Gamer, theres a good chance I like all the same things you do and that we would be tight as hell If we ever met. I started my first business when I was 16 and I never looked back, theres just something special about working for yourself. Working through the logistics, finances, marketing, planning and trying to prove to everyone your not completely crazy…..man I love it. I’ve had everything from event companies to marketing companies and of course my own club basketball program out in Edmonton, Alberta.
Just like most of you, the first video I ever saw from Dev was Episode 1 featuring Mady & Kyle. True inspiration and an amazing story teller, he took everything to a whole new level. I can't even tell you guys how many times I've rewatched certain episodes, this shit really changed my life. Without even meeting Dev he had impacted me in a way he would never know and so I began my journey to 10,000 hours.
Fast forward a year and Dev completely blew up, the video went viral and he started dropping more content. He had all of us on the edge of our seats, just itching for the next episode to drop and to see updates on Kyle & Mady's lives. Sooooo what do I do? I decide to send this mans an email and literally just pray to god that he somehow sees it and replies. I asked Dev to come out to my city and run a 2 day camp for all of our athletes. In all honesty the more I think about it...the chances of all this happening were something like 1 in 1,000,000,000....but just like with the ladies you gotta shoot your shot.
At the time Dev was just running everything himself so his email inbox was blowing up, I'm pretty sure there was over 12,000 emails waiting to be opened. So how did he see my email? It's a blessing that when his phone vibrated he looked at it right away and saw my name and the subject line of the email pop up.
Email Subject: "Please come out to Edmonton, Alberta"
Now the only reason he opened it was because my guy had no idea what Edmonton, Alberta was. Thank god for Canadian cities. Now inside the email I broke it all down on what we wanted to happen, the potential dates, structure and all those important details. But it was our company video that sealed the deal and made Dev actually wanna come down and work with us. Shoutout to my guys Mo & Maz who made this video 3 years ago and its still absolute fire. If y'all made it this far, peep the video!
The next morning I wake up and think I'm dreaming because I have an email reply from Devin Williams. He wants to make it happen....now y'all know that feeling on Christmas morning when you know your gifts are about to be absolutely LIT....ya that's exactly how I felt. Little did I know, this was a major turning point in my life.
Alright so we get Dev out and kill this camp, the kids and parents all loved it and we get to know each other a lot better throughout the weekend. I mentioned to y'all that I was a big foodie right?? I may have to start writing blogs dedicated to all the good food we eat as a team, but anyways I took Dev out to all the best spots in our city. If you guys are reading this and have no idea where Edmonton, Alberta is...look it up and check out how many fire food spots we have. So we ate, played Nintendo wii, halo, call of duty and just chilled out. It was really dope for me to see how down to earth Dev was and basically just like me. Here's another important piece, on the last day of the camp we got hit with the task of putting over "200" desks and chairs back into the gym since the next day they had exams at the school. We were tired man, just trained for 7 hours straight and TBH all we wanted to do was get some Chinese food, play some video games and then take Dev to the airport. But we gotta do what we gotta do, so we called some reinforcements, got some beers and literally moved desks and chairs into the gym for 2 hours straight. Everyone was cracking jokes, we had some beats playing and we all came together to get it done. I'm sure you can all tell this brought us closer together as its an experience I know me & Dev will never forget. He came and went, just like that it was all over. The most surreal experience of my life, loved every minute of it. This picture below is at the end of the camp, if you read what I wrote and Dev's response it'll all make sense.
1 month later, me and some of my closest friends decided we wanted to go explore Thailand for a few weeks. The guys had all met Dev while he was here, so they immediately asked to see if he would wanna come with us. I was shooting 100% at that time, so I figured why the hell not lets take this half court shot. Just before I did that I had this dope idea about travelling the world to train athletes. How cool would it be to go somewhere on vacation, but still have an opportunity to be paid and work with a lot of athletes...pretty damn cool. Luckily I found Top Flight Basketball, which is actually run by a former LA Laker, Ike Nwankwo. Super dope guy and after a few days of talking he agreed to bring us out to run a 4 day camp with his athletes. Boom, I felt like a damn genius orchestrating this all by myself. But wait... I should probably see if Dev can even go?
Me: Whatup D, hella random but you wanna come out to Thailand with me and the homies?
Dev: yoo, what are the dates?
Me: First 2 weeks of October and I got it lined up for us to run a camp in Bangkok for 4 days. So we can go explore, make some money and just have a good time.
Dev: snm, lets get after it. hit me with the details
At first, I really thought I was on like a hidden camera TV show. Like did Dev really just say he was gonna come with us and do this? I mean we barely knew each other, our only interactions were for 3 days during a camp. Look when I tell you guys things happen for a reason and everything that is meant to happen will....its LEGIT. What's funny is I even found the original social media graphic haha the memories are flooding back. ALWAYS SHOOT YOUR SHOT!
You guys know how we been saying everything at our camps are "secrets", I gotta keep it the same way with this trip to Thailand. All I can say is by the end, Dev was like a brother to me. It still is to this day the best trip I've ever been on, with memories I'll never forget. Kind of crazy how it all happens, but over 4 months we became really tight.
The question I get asked the most is how did I get involved with In The Lab. At the end of the day it was faith that connected us, but hard work and dedication is what got me where I am today. Fast forward 2 years later, I'm blessed to be apart of the team, helping run the business/clothing/marketing side of things. I bring a unique skill set to the team and like I said it all feels like it was meant to be. It feels like we were all supposed to be together to change the landscape of basketball, how the game is trained, how its perceived and show how it can change lives. Just remember one thing - basketball truly is a tool to get you places, if used properly it can drastically change your life for the better.
Alright y'all keep it real, until next time this is your favourite brown guy signing off.
- Navin (@navinitl)