(Photo courtesy of Dayton Athletics)
Marcellus Barksdale is one of the most selfless basketball players I've ever met in my life.
He called me up in 2016 with an offer that restarted my career. Marcellus, a former player at IUPUI, was playing in Germany and told me they had an open spot on their team. It was the third-tier division of basketball there, and I would make only 800 Euros a month, but I didn't care. This was the right opportunity with the right teammate.
It's not easy to live off that income, and I didn't even have enough money to come home for Christmas that year, but you can't place a monetary value on being surrounded with a great Christian and teammate like Marcellus. He could have been worried about his own success, but instead he paved the way for mine.
I had a good stint with my team, and one of the new coaches in Germany's top division noticed my play. He had remembered me from Dayton, and told me to work out with his club. By God's grace that workout turned into a spot on the team, and just like that I was playing in the top level of German basketball. I was able to skip the second level completely.
The only thing cooler than jumping leagues was seeing how happy Marcellus was for me. A lot of players wouldn't have even made the phone call for me to come out there, and now that I was playing in a league above him, he could have easily been jealous of me. I wasn't just making 800 Euros anymore, and I was playing in front of bigger crowds, but he was somehow happy for my success. That's the sign of a true Christian.
It might sound hard to believe, but I am enjoying basketball just as much now as when I was playing at Dayton. Being away from the game made me appreciate it more, and I realized how much I love this sport. I also made the roster on a team in the French league, which is one of the top leagues in Europe, and now I even have a girlfriend that I met in France.
I'm only 28, and I hope there's plenty of years of basketball left in me. The thing is, no matter where I go or what team I play for, I know who got me there.