This month, our Feature Friday is R.J. Williams, CEO of Megacity Basketball. R.J. has been with the organization for over a decade and rose up the ranks taking command in 2019. Founded in 2009, Megacity Basketball has established themselves as the premier recreational league in the GTA and aspires to become the premier recreational league across Canada. Read how R.J. and Megacity plan to take youth basketball to new heights.
Q: Let's take it back to the beginning… How did you get into basketball?
R.J.: In elementary school, two of my best friends growing up played on a team. I always liked the game and when my parents asked me if I wanted to be on the same team as them, it was a no-brainer. From that point on it was a wrap. Ballin’ with my friends was a priority for me and it hasn't stopped.
Q: Is there a particular player or person that you idolized growing up?
R.J.: I've always been a Michael Jordan (M.J.) fan from day one. The game of basketball would not be where it’s at today if it weren’t for M.J. paving the way. My older cousins taught me about the shoe culture and what made M.J. great to them. I inherited the love of him from them.
Q: It's been more than a year now without basketball due to the pandemic. We miss it at Cross-Odor. So do millions of players across the world and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). What have you learned during the time off and what can players look forward to when returning to the courts?
R.J.: During this pandemic, it's become more and more evident that human connection is essential to life. I started to focus more on the people and things that matter the most in my life. I’m also a new father, so I don't mind spending more time with my daughter. It gave us all a bit of time to self reflect and grow.
When things return, we're looking to provide more opportunities with emphasis on youth and women's involvement within the game. We have a program gearing up in the Jane & Finch area, Rexdale, Brampton, Vaughan & Durham Region. So we'll be ready for the return and there will be plenty of spots to fill on our roster.
Q: Can share more about your love for youth basketball and Megacity’s plans for youth basketball programming?
R.J.: Developing youth plays a huge role in who I am. When I was a young kid, I was small. I had a group of older cousins who watched over me and showed me the way. Some led me in the right direction, others led me in the opposite direction. Eventually, I became the older cousin. It ultimately showed me what it was to grow and the importance of developing our youth. I think back and say, “hey, I use to be that kid”. Basketball just happens to be the platform that I am able to leverage. Now I want to pay it forward.
As for Megacity’s plans, we're putting together an amazing program in the Jane and Finch area with a Not For Profit (NFP) organization, Generation Chosen, started by Dr. Joseph Smith and Dr. Dwayne Brown. The program is centered around Emotional Intelligence in youth. I'm extremely excited for the work we've got mapped out for this.
When I was born, the home that my Mom and Dad brought me to was on Driftwood Avenue. In Toronto, this is an underserviced community. I have a personal connection to the area. It's one of those projects where everything always seems to be aligned.
Q: What's your greatest motivation and do you have a favourite motivational quote or book?
R.J.: Right now, my greatest motivation is my daughter. Nothing can replace that. Although, the one person that motivates me the most is my Dad. He's always sending me links and quotes from the most recent innovative ideas in the world. We're constantly sharing thoughts and ideas on everything… parenting, business, education. He’s always pushing me to be better by learning more. The last thing he sent me was a book called “Limitless” by Jim Kwik'. It definitely needs to be in your top ten things to read.
As for motivational quotes… There's so many great ones. I’ll list a few that I live by:
- 'When life gets hard, go harder' - Mike Piz
- 'Bad things happen all the time, what you do after shows who you are' – unknown
- 'The forces that want me to fail never take a day off, why should I?' – unknown
- 'If you're not growing, you're dying' – Tony Robbins
Want to see what R.J. and Megacity are up to? Give them a follow: