Name: Jahi Rawlings
Profession: Founder and CEO, Atlanta Entertainment Basketball League
One Word That Describes You: Innovator
What is your “Extraordinary Impact?”
The platform I created was to better inner-city communities and less fortunate youth by fusing things they love and enjoy: sports, music, and entertainment all for FREE. A lot of families can’t afford to attend an NBA game, a concert, or events around the city. So it was a goal of mine being a kid from the inner city to provide an outlet to motivate and inspire people.
We service over 15,000 people yearly in Atlanta through our programs. I also, as a former basketball player, wanted to show young hoopers that the NBA isn’t the only option. The ball may stop bouncing and your window of opportunity playing may close but there are so many other ways to make an impact using the game of basketball. Basketball saved my life.
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
I am honored, and it means a lot to be recognized by such a great platform with other amazing professionals, creators, and influencers.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
For starters I grew up in a drug, crime, and poverty stricken community. To make it out, graduate college, and get to where I am now in life and business is extremely rare.
I addition to this I would say taking a leap of faith and betting on myself after leaving a corporate job in the NBA to branching out to what now is known as the Atlanta Entertainment Basketball League which has become a household brand in the basketball world.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
Our 5th annual season with AEBL. We have a huge program we’re developing for the BET Hip Hop Awards and A3C (All 3 Coasts) Music Festival & Conference right after.
What is the best advice you ever received?
Never give up. The tough times prepare you for success.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Be intentional with whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish. Pay it forward and always be true to the youth.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
I typically prep or review notes regarding the meeting and what will be discussed. I make sure all necessary documents or presentations are functioning and accessible for the meeting. Last but not least I confirm and make sure I’m aware of time and location of the meeting.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation? Share a story about your best vacation.
I try my best to disconnect from work and anything that feels like work. I usually take a full week vacation because these days they are rare with so much new business developing.
My best vacation thus far has definitely been Dubai. That place is amazing and so inspiring. Everything is larger than life. It was eye opening to see a country being built to challenge the world. I was there for eight days and we had the chance to see the whole country as well as Abu Dhabi. Man, the luxury of living there is like no other. Definitely a must-visit place for entrepreneurs and millennials.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I would like to tell people to stay motivated, stay inspired, and trust the process. The journey is just as important as the destination. #LevelUp
It’s our normal to be extraordinary. Follow @BEModernMan and join the conversation using #BEModernMan.
Come celebrate the BE Modern Man 100 Men of Distinction at the first-ever Black Men XCEL Summit, Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.