Of course, one of DraftKings’ core pillars is authenticity. Believe me when I tell you, I live this principle — always have and always will. While I’m willing to sacrifice many things, my innate personality is not one of ’em.

With that said, I’ve rounded up a few non-work-related things about myself. Taken together, these tidbits can really help piece together what makes me go as an individual, both in the workplace and life as a whole:

My GOAT Athlete

This one’s a lay-up for me — Kobe Bean Bryant. I can confidently say there will never be an athlete that capture’s my attention more than the Black Mamba.

There’s just too much built-up sentimental value with Kobe and myself. Plain and simple, I grew up with him and in the process of doing so, witnessed his own maturation.

The me-first, shoot-at-all-costs Kobe that won three NBA titles alongside Shaq is what initially drew me to watching sports as a little kid. That Kobe then morphed into a team-orientated leader by the time I reach high school and added two more championships. Just as I finished college and became, dare I say it, an adult in my own accord, Kobe finished his playing career with the iconic phrase “Mamba Out!” Each of those three phrases, both in my own development and Kobe’s, line up perfectly with each other.

You can imagine how soul crushed I was on January 26, 2020. But even in death, I’m still maturing through life in light of Kobe and his enduring life lessons. I’ll close with one of my favorite Kobe lines ever:

I feel like killing everybody every time I go to the arena.”

Touche, Bean. Touche.

Finding Fulfillment Through Travel

There’s not an activity that enlightens me more than travel — and it’s not even close. The world is so incredibly vast and I’m determined to experience as much of it as humanely possible. In doing so, hopefully, I can come to better grips with my existential purpose and understanding of my fellow creatures that inhabit the Earth (and perhaps the outer universe).

Up until now, my favorite voyage has been to Japan back in November 2019, only weeks before COVID-19 became a thing. Visiting the country had been a fantasy of mine since childhood and boy, did it live up to the expectations and then some.

The coolest part of Japan, for me at least, is how it uniquely blends its rich history with an eye for the future. One second I’m walking through a high-rise mall, doing a double-take whether the front-desk clerk is human or a robot (it was indeed a machine), the next I’m trekking down the cobble streets of Kyoto, whizzing past archaic buildings that have stood for a thousand years.

Knowing this, you can imagine how I’m feeling about being couped up due to COVID. Still, I pass the time by planning pseudo trips to the next destination atop my bucket list — South Korea. And yes, I do have a particular soft spot for Asia and its super diverse set of countries.

I also dabble in photography here and there, so below I’ve included images that best encapsulate my Japan excursion:

Who I Look Up To Most

I admire A LOT of people. From all walks of life, too, even fictional characters. Sometimes, I think most of my personality is just a collection of bits and pieces I gather from those sources of inspiration.

However, if there are two humans that have inspired me more so than anyone else, it’s Elon Musk and Kanye West. There are some common denominators between the two — polarizing figures, a penchant for putting their foot in their mouths via Twitter, unconventional visionaries, and never-say-die attitudes.

My favorite GOATs in the flesh way back in 2011 at Musk’s SpaceX rocket factory.

It’s the latter two that gravitates me toward both so much. Both Elon and Kanye have walked into multiple and vastly-different industries — Elon into aerospace, electric vehicles, online banking, brian-to-machine interfacing, and Kanye in music and fashion — and not only innovated but flipped those sectors completely on their heads. The two’s impact on those industries will long be felt.

Moreover, Musk and West achieved this despite an unrelenting amount of public criticism and failures. In Musk’s case, his two companies, SpaceX and Tesla, were both on the verge of bankruptcy during the 2008 financial crisis. Heck, SpaceX’s first three attempts at landing a rocketship went up in flames in the most literal sense.

Similarly, Kanye was rejected over and over again whilst trying to break into rap and fashion. In music, he wasn’t “street” enough for the early-2000s-era style of hip hop. Then, in an ironic twist, he was too “street” for the luxury fashion world as a designer later that decade.

In spite of that, neither Musk and West ever faltered on their grand visions and eventually, they broke through. That perseverance and sheer willpower to make their dreams a reality fires me up like no other.

Boston Winters Ain’t Got Nothing On Me

Boston gets a bad wrap for its brutal Winters, but after living (surviving?) two godforsaken winters in Wisconsin, I’m now built for extreme cold. For real, try me.

Remember the polar vortex of early 2019? During that treacherous time, temperatures dipped to -25 degrees in my central Wisconsin residence. Worse, with the wind chill, the feel-like temperature was actually -50 degrees — at 8 am no less when I went off to work.

In a stunning turn of events, I had a work trip to Puerto Rico amidst all this. Well, safe to say flying is next to impossible under these unthinkable conditions. As I sat there in peril at the Chicago airport, Univision Noticias — the largest Spanish news show in the whole country — wanted a word with yours truly about my harrowing circumstances.

The endeavor lead to me making a guest appearance on their nationally-broadcast show that day. Most proudly, I managed to muster just one “Spanglish” word — mucho rebooking (translation: a lot of rebooking). To witness my show-stealing moment and hear my immaculate Spanish, skip ahead to 0:55 on the below clip:

If I can survive the polar vortex of 2019, I can definitely outlast a Boston winter. Heck, while we’re at it, any hurricanes in Boston? Cause I endured a category-5 storm, Hurricane Irma, while living in Florida, as well. I tell you what, throw any natural disaster my way — extreme heat or cold, wild winds, typhoons, tornados, etc. — and I’m betting on myself to make it through. Guaranteed.

Last Time I Pitched Myself To An Employer

Believe it or not, this is not the first time I’ve ditched a traditional job application in favor of a more outside-the-box route. About three years ago, I sent the below video to Adidas — my go-to brand for dripping fashion — in an effort to get an internship with them:

While the video did lead to a job interview, no job offer came. Unfortunately for Adidas, they made an irreparable mistake that’s akin to drafting Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan in the 1984 NBA Draft…

So…. DraftKings, are you going to do the same and pass on the GOAT? No way, right? Right?!?!

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