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Josh Haymond
Founder & President

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Growing up, basketball was my safe haven, a love I shared with my father that I knew so little about. During high school, I realized that I was unlikely to make money playing basketball as an adult. Basketball was my identity, though I knew I needed to think past it. I stepped away from basketball after my freshman year of college. With all my deepest relationships woven through basketball, I isolated myself, lost my identity, and was low as ever. 

 

I didn’t touch a basketball for 10 years. I used my extra time to learn more about the stock market, e-commerce, and built several small service-based companies. I learned how to yield my time, I made mistakes along the way, and I learned a great deal about business planning and execution.

I volunteered in my early 20’s with various organizations and served on a Board of Directors for a non-profit organization where I knew the founder well. I learned a lot about non-profits from this experience but felt called to spend my volunteer time on the front lines working with the youth, versus spending my volunteer time organizing. 

A piece of my life had been missing over those 10 years. It was at this time that I was called to return to basketball. I had worked through the loss of the game and had learned a lot about myself. I knew I could connect, empathize, listen, support, and provide consistency. 

I texted my coaches from Millbrook High School, who, luckily for me, were still coaching. I told them I wanted time with the younger kids in the program who could use time, love, and support. I wasn’t interested in becoming a basketball coach or trainer, but rather connecting through the game and listening. Though I didn’t call a play or give feedback on an “x” or “o” in my years helping, I was consistent enough on campus to be called “Coach,” The concept of Alley Oop Hoops had been proved through deep relationships with youth and their families. 

Two years later, participating in a leadership program, I connected with a non-profit that tied kids in through athletics, using sport as a diversion. I spent two years with this organization, which also served as a learning experience as I planned my next steps and learned more about how I wanted to serve others and enable a community who wants to serve others. 

My experiences as a child ingrained in me an understanding that, although my situation was not perfect, I had it easier than many people, including many of the relationships I called close friends. Privilege takes many forms - and those of us with any combination of privileges have to call upon these to help others with less.