Growing up in Brooklyn in the 90s, the way you got your respect was from either being a rapper or basketball player. In Williamsburg, basketball was the sport that everyone played. But to be on those street courts like Rodney Park, skill level was a must. For Roman Perez, it was the total opposite.
Starting to play at the age of 16, Perez had a long way ahead to catch up to his peers. Being bullied as a kid, and people in the neighborhood not believing in him were obstacles he faced. His parents were concerned for his safety not allowing him to play in the courts because of danger, which was the reason for him to start at a later age. Instead of playing, he enjoyed it by collecting basketball cards, playing video games and preparing his mentally for the time to start training.
When his training started at 16, it was something that he never took for granted. He got cut from 6 grade straight until his senior year in High School, and even his first year in college. We are talking about 8 years straight of not being accepted on a team. He understood that his skills weren’t there yet, which was the reason for him to get it.
Years of training, lead to him suiting up for the Collegiate level were he played for Hostos cc and then the following year for Ny City Tech. After just 2 years of college basketball playing, he made the leap to play overseas.
Currently he has played for 12 years professionally and 11 countries up to date of participation. In New York city he earned his respect, in the meccas best street ball courts but mostly importantly was accepted with Love in his home town community. The nickname he earned throughout the years has been “Da Gift”, where he will use that name with his current team who are the world famous Court Kingz.
Today, Perez is the founder of the Dudo Baez Foundation. The foundation is named after his father who passed in 2014. In his memory, the foundation allows for kids and adults to believe in their dreams and goals. Something that his father Dudo always wanted for him.
Impacting lives is Perez’s mission. Whether is giving a motivational speech or providing a opportunity for someone, Perez does it all out of love. Something that we should all take into consideration, and apply in our lives.
You can follow Roman Perez at www.instagram.com/romanperez4