I’m actually 27, so this post is probably 2 years over due. Or we can assume that since for the first 2 years of my life, all I did was eat, sleep, and shit (my mom says that’s pretty much all I still do), that I’ve “lived” for just about 25 years. A year ago I was hanging out with one of our Krossover managers and he was definitely a couple (read: several) drinks down when he said, “you ever think about how cool it is that you’ve gotten to do all these amazing things at such a young age?”
I admitted that I hadn’t really thought about it, after all, where is the time for reflecting when you’re the CEO of a startup going a hundred miles an hour? It would be nice to stop and smell the roses, but then I’d end up having to be a gardner. But every now and then, when I’m standing under a hot shower with not a care in the world, I’ll catch myself smiling at the thought of all the incredulous things that have happened to me in a such a short period of time.
Growing up, I always complained that I had the most boring life in the world. I actually think I even said this out loud a couple of times to some friends, annoyed that everyone else seemed to have some excitement or the other going on, while I just had a normal boring family. Well as they say, be careful what you wish for, because that shit changed in a heart beat.
I was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1986. By all accounts, I was the best goddamn baby in the world. I slept 18 hours a day, didn’t cry, and always had a smile on my face.
My dad was a software engineer and my mom was working towards becoming a pharmacist, which meant that an old man in our apartment complex named Carl Wellman took care of me. Carl was a war veteran who loved sports, and since the TV was never on in our house, it is suspected that Carl is the reason I became such an obsessive basketball fan.
When I was about 4 years old, we moved from the dinky apartment complex in Burbank, CA to a house in the suburbs of Northridge, CA. It was in this backyard that I finally convinced my dad to erect a basketball hoop, which we did with the help of our neighbor. We dug a hole, filled it with cement, stuck the pole in, and even left my hand impressions there forever.
The first organized sports that I played however, was soccer. As a 7 year old, I received the Golden Goal award for the best goal of the season. My team won only one game all season, and that one game, the score was 1-0, and the goal was scored by none other than our hero.
In 1994, the massive Northridge earthquake struck, and our house was somewhat destroyed.
In 1995 my parents had had enough and decided to move the family back to Bangalore, India for good. It was the worst time of my life, and I still remember bawling my eyes out on the final drive to LAX. But the goal was for my sister and I to learn our culture and meet our family.
I spent my time in India bouncing around different schools but making a ton of friends. Basketball came easily to me in a country of short non-athletic people, and between that and my parents always being on my ass to study, I was a model kid.
I was shipped off to boarding school where I found myself in girl trouble. It’s funny – my entire teenage life, my mother’s sole purpose seemed to be to keep all girls away from me. Now a days she is trying everything possible to send them my way so I’ll get married. Sheesh!
So this is where things start to get interesting. After having been a model student and a shining beacon of hope my entire life, just like that I was expelled from the most fucked up school on earth. Nobody cared since it was already senior year and college admissions were done. So I went on an extended vacation, and landed up at Penn – where lots more girl trouble awaited. But the most defining moment of my college career came when I was given a chance to walk on and play for the JV Basketball Team at Penn.
More girl trouble later (see how this is a recurring theme with me?), I found myself in NYC, wanting to start my own company since none of the companies I wanted to work for would hire me. I would be lying if I said those weren’t trying times. I lost relationships and friends because of how dedicated I was, trying to make something out of nothing. I would travel every weekend to coaching clinics, break down games myself, and do customer support after hours when most of our customers were back on their computers trying to use our system.
But it was also in NYC that I met Coco, and he would make me fall in love again…. with puppies.
It took three years of grinding it out, but slowly the company started to take shape. The press started to roll in and people started to take notice of what we were trying to accomplish. This is where in a matter of 2 years, things just go from cool, to beyond my wildest dreams.
I met John Calipari and became close friends with the Kentucky Basketball Program
My entire life growing up, all I wanted to do was actually watch an NBA game live. When I lived in LA, the old Forum was in a not so great part of town and my dad was too scared to drive through there, so we never went to a Laker game. I used to wake up at 5am in India to watch 2 games a week. I remember looking at the people who sat courtside at games and wondering who they were, and what I would need to do in life to get there.
I’m not a big rap fan, but apparently this guy is a big deal.
I got to shoot around on the actual court where Hoosiers was filmed in Indiana
I got to go to the greatest sporting event in the world – the Olympics.
People have flown me places, private.
Shit, I even made it to Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday party
And of course, the granddaddy of them all – A trip to the playboy mansion
As I sit here writing this post (just having returned from shooting a basketball around with Kentucky Superfan, Ashley Judd), I know everyone who reads it (all 7 people according to my google analytics dashboard) are going to first be jealous, and the think that I’m a douche. And while that might be true, the reason for this post as you might recall about 700 rows up, was that I was asked the question “you ever think about how cool it is that you’ve gotten to do all these amazing things at such a young age?” And to that I answer – no, not really. Only because I don’t want to start to think I’ve actually accomplished anything, because none of these things mean much in the grand scheme of things.
That said, whenever I do have a moment to reflect (like during the writing of this post), trust me when I say that none of it is lost on me. I get how lucky I am to have been given the opportunity to do some of these things. Looking through these pictures has brought back incredible memories of times long passed, and while I don’t just toss around “Thank You God”‘s like the pro athletes do, I’ll definitely say there’s something else going on here for me to have gotten this lucky.
All these experiences have been unbelievable, and if I were to get hit by a bus tomorrow, I can say without any regrets that I have lived a full life. A life with extreme joy and worldly experiences. I’ve loved and I’ve lost, and I’ve loved again. I’ve met the most incredible people and gotten to do some of the most incredible things. I’ve been given the opportunity to live out my passion and my dream, every single day. All of these awesome things are only fleeting though. In that moment when I see the white light coming towards me, I doubt I’m going to think about that piece of ass at the playboy mansion, or of how I stole Chris Paul’s vanilla cake at Michael’s party. I’m going to think about the real stuff that we accomplished at Krossover – changing lives and the way people do things. Courtside seats could never compete with the indelible images of a life lived building something that matters.