Tonight was an exciting night for 60 young men. Lives were changed. Young men became celebrities overnight.
But what you won't see — as these men walk up on that stage to shake Adam Silver's hand — are the countless hours they put in behind the scenes.
These young men are blessed with abnormal size. Uncanny strength. And elite athleticism. But they are also programmed with a drive to be great.
Tonight, we celebrate the rare success achieved by Mohamed Bamba and Mikal Bridges.
Ball Beyond has worked with McDonald's All-Americans, NBA players, and European superstars. Mo and Mikal are two of the more special athletes we have met. Because they are great people. They are joining the most talented league on the planet, and they will be successful because of their ambition.
We can't take credit for their achievements. There are countless other family members, coaches, teachers, and trainers that helped Mo and Mikal make it to this point. But we are proud to be a part of that success story.
When we started this organization, our goal was to help young men grow. A lot of the boys and girls we work with come from humble beginnings. Seeing them elevate their lives — and the lives of their loved ones — is what it's all about.
The basketball industry can be extremely tough on these kids. Agents, brands, and AAU teams do their best to turn kids into businesses at a very young age. There are a lot of people pulling them in different directions, filled with bad intentions. We are proud of the work we do to make a difference in their lives on and off the court.
Seeing the smiles on the faces of Mo, Mikal, and their family members tonight reminds us why we put in all the long hours. We push these athletes to their limits, but they push us back. We make each other better with every workout, every conversation, and every achievement.
Congrats, Mo. Congrats, Mikal. You represent all the unseen hard work that young athletes across this country are putting in every day.
You are why we do it.