BE Modern Man: Meet ‘Mr. Baller’ Garry Mills

Name: Garry Mills

Age: 33

Profession: Founder/Executive Director, Shoot Basketballs NOT People, Inc.

One Word That Describes You: Ambitious

What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?

Being chosen as one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction means that great work isn’t being overlooked. This honor gives black men a platform to display the positive movements that they are developing in urban communities. I will proudly carry on the BEMM mission everyday to inspire the young men in my program to invest back into their communities.

What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?

During the development of SBNP, I went broke after applying for our 501(c)3 paperwork, trademark, and copyrights. I continued to push myself through this struggle by walking to the library everyday for a year to research and master the non-profit sector. Two books helped me to achieve this goal, and they were Mastery and Good To Great.

What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?

I look for a positive attitude and the determination to work hard until the goal, whatever it may be, is accomplished.

What are some immediate projects you are working on?

I am currently working on expanding our program to reach more communities and to implement a dynamic gentrification plan for the playgrounds and courts in the communities that we aim to serve. In addition to these things, we would like to partner with all the NBA teams and implement the SBNP model into their community relations plans.

What is the best advice you ever received?

One of my mentors advised me to never take a shirt from a naked person. For me, the meaning behind this is that an individual can’t give advice on what they don’t have or have never achieved in life.

What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?

It’s very simple: just make a choice and DO IT. Our people sometimes get discouraged with trying to make a difference, due to lack of education and/or resources. I continuously sow seeds into my brothers about becoming the positive man that they may not have had growing up.

How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?

It’s mandatory for me to have complete research going into a meeting or event…that’s key. Once the research is complete, I draft up ideas for a strategic plan on a huge white board. Finally, I compile all the best ideas that were drafted up and put them into a concrete plan to be executed.

As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?

I like to unwind on vacation by enjoying activities like riding ATVs, zip lining, or meeting new people from different places. The last vacation I took was to Cancun, Mexico. While in Mexico, I had a chance to zip line over a jungle and explore underground freshwater caves.

If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I would choose the Grand Canyon because it shows endless possibilities to discover and what God is capable of creating. This would be more of a spiritual journey for me.

Anything else you’d like to say?

To all aspiring youth and adults I would like to say: BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. This is the best investment you can EVER make in your life. Once I made a decision to step out on faith and leave Corporate America to pursue my dream, it was a bit scary but very liberating. I am here to carry on what my elders worked tirelessly to achieve.

Please check out the great work that SBNP is doing in Philadelphia, PA, and Akron, Ohio, at

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