MILLI MOGUL MOVES | Farnold Degand, Renaissance Man
Ball is life for so many players starting as young as 2-years old. But like many coaches tend to reiterate; you must use the same work ethic in the classroom. While a few incredible high school players were able to skip college and head straight to the NBA floors (i.e. Mr. Lebron James), that is no longer the case for the newbies. The NBA's current rules require U.S. players to be 19 and one year removed from high school, which has led many elite high school players to use college basketball as a one-year waypoint before turning pro. Plus, NCAA basketball is still the primary recruiting ground for professional teams.
Farnold Degand is a Boston native who was recruited to play collegiately at NC State University, a Division 1 ACC program. After playing vigorously on the court for 4 years, Farnold left with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology, along with a dream that allowed his basketball abilities to make an impact in a variety of communities around the world. Not only have his basketball skills brought him to the court with The Boston Celtics, but Farnold has played in Canada and overseas in Italy. Most recently Farnold played for the first Haitian National Basketball Team in Haiti--the birthplace of his parents.
Currently Farnold has a leading role in Project Backboard with efforts in Haiti. Millennials like Farnold grew up watching movies like The Lion King where we all learned some serious life lessons. Farnold took hold to what Mufasaa tells Simba about “taking your place in the circle of life”. Farnold’s ongoing journey to make a positive impact around the world through the love of basketball proves he’s doing just that--taking his place in the world.
The Milli Blog caught up with Farnold…
while he was literally chilling on a beach in his current home state of California, to find out which dope projects he had stirring up as of late:
Is there a particular significance to your jersey number, #0?
FD: I’ve played with a lot of different numbers, but the men’s league I play in with my homies, I made sure to use my highschool number for that one. At other leagues though sometimes I be late and stuff so I get stuck with the numbers they give me [lol].
What can we find in your gym bag that might surprise people?
FD: Recently, I’ve had this book called We Were 8 Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates in there.
What life title would you call yourself other than “Basketball Player”?
FD: I’ve been an array of different things. I’m looking forward to adding so much more to myself. I really see myself as a renaissance man.
What was the most important game you played and why?
FD: Once I got out of school, I remember tearing an ACL and kind of being taken out of the basketball lanes for a long time. Then I remember 1.5 years later I found myself in a workout with the Boston Celtics at a free agent rookie mini camp. That was the beginning of me re-emerging myself back into the basketball world. My performance there was what got me back in and onto their D league team and officially part of their organization. That day I was able to prove something to myself as far as basketball goes.
Tell us about life after college?
FD: It was a tumultuous one full of ups and downs—But here we are. But it wasn’t in vain. It has still been a good time.
How do you want your teammates to remember you?
FD: I worked hard when it came to the sport. I never shorted the game when we competed against each other. I made sure to put myself in great positions to succeed… I want to be known as a consistent teammate.
What advice has the coach given you that you'll always remember?
FD: The importance of teamwork. It’s straight competition out here. Teamwork ultimately brings you... Making sure you put people in good positions to function in society and win at the game of life.
Can you tell us about your experience on the Haitian Basketball Federation team?
FD: It was great! Meeting other Haitians and so many other people through the process. It actually ended up being my first time in Haiti. It was incredible just to see what it could be. The league has been around for 37 years but this summer was the first of what basketball could potentially be for the country of Haiti. To be part of that was nothing short of a blessing.
What has it been like serving as the lead for Project Backboard in Haiti?
FD: The basketball court I was playing at in Haiti was “glise” (slippery) and you can tell it needed work. I was trying to play slipping and gliding, getting frustrated. But so many moments I was humbled down there and realized what this was for. Overall I left there inspired.
I really just enjoyed the energy and just working on a basketball court. To be able to work in the inner city communities and enrich neighborhoods is a blessing—It’s just dope. I really really love it. This kind of work caters more to my spirit, my creative realm. I want whatever I do with my life to be meaningful.
We noticed you played on the Nipsey Hussle memorial court at Crete Academy; How has Nipsey’s death affected you?
FD: It hit home and no matter how much I tried to separate myself from it, I couldn't. During that [aforementioned] tumultuous time in my life, I listened to a lot of Nipsey because this was someone I connected to. I’ve been listening to Nipsey consistently since 2012. This is someone who was really instrumental in my life. Not everyone was hip to his ways while he was alive.
I remember bumping into him at a 7-eleven—it was a really dope moment for me. I had just started listening to Hustle & Motivate back in November. I think about the journey that I took while listening to him and for that to culminate at a 7-eleven… Nipsey has made people see and understand that we have to start with the grassroots movements. I appreciate that man and he is definitely someone I will remember forever. Nip is definitely up there for me with B.I.G. for sure.
What legacy do you want to leave behind?
FD: Legacy is very important to me because it’s the concept of merit. I want to leave a legacy of someone who went out there and earned it. I feel like I’ve earned a lot of things in my life. I make conscious decisions to do certain things. I always make sure to give back to my community and give a hand just like those who were there for me growing up. I’ve never been big on taking credit for anything. I’m proud of my accomplishments. I did them so I could be proud of them.
What does success look like to you?
FD: Success to me is being able to reach the life you want to live. Being able to cultivate a reality. As much access as we have to information and all these different things, there’s more opportunity now than there’s ever been. As long as I’m alive and able bodied I’m always gonna be doing something I enjoy.
What advice would you like to pass on to future generations?
FD: Get out here and attack your goals. There's more opportunity now more than ever. Really really just look at yourself and analyze what is taking place. Be able to really understand yourself and what you want out of life.
Being able to share the amazing WORLDWIDE community service Farnold Degand is part of creating really is a dope privilege because this is a man who truly lives in his renaissance state. Basketball has instilled in Farnold a vicious will to achieve and embrace his ambitions instead of fearing them--It is clear that he will stop at nothing to achieve his goals. How many of you can say you played against the likes of Steph Curry, Iman Shumpert, and J.J. Hickson? Not many we’re guessing. After reading this the important question is not: Are your desires going to be easy to achieve? The important question is: Are your desires worth the hard work to attain? For Farnold hard work beats talent any day, even when you're talented AF.