BY STEVE BAIK
Two years ago, I was invited by my friend Marshall Cho (Head Basketball Coach at Lake Oswego High School) to attend a basketball clinic in which he was invited to speak. The clinic was hosted by the Armenian-American organization Homenetmen, Ararat Chapter, Glendale. And to be honest, I was wavering back and forth on whether to attend since I was very busy. Nevertheless, I decided to attend, for which I am so grateful I did!
Prior to the clinic, Marshall, who is Korean-American and from Portland, OR, reached out and congratulated me for my coaching success at Chino Hills High School after we won the National Championship in 2016. He was so gracious and proud of the accomplishment especially because I too, was a fellow Korean-American coach.
Marshall and I both realized that we had so many other similarities as well. We both got into coaching to serve the under-privileged communities, as he went to teach in Harlem and I in the South Bronx after beginning my teaching and coaching career at John Muir HS in Pasadena.
As minorities, both Marshall and I can state that playing and coaching basketball has opened so many doors for us and taught us so many positive life lessons that we now wanted to help pass on these opportunities to the next generation–which is part of our new mission. Attending the clinic at the Homenetmen-Ararat Chapter Gym, was one of the most significant events for both Marshall and me. We saw the power of unity and cohesiveness from the Armenian-American community in that they created such a beautiful and positive environment for all their chapter members.
After the clinic, I met a Coach from the Ararat Chapter named Harry Shirikchian. Coach Harry had his own highly successful basketball program named LA Dream consisting of many exceptionally talented players from the surrounding communities. Coach Harry and I also shared many similar values as we are both extremely passionate about equipping the next generation of basketball players with the best opportunities to achieve success.
Over these past several months during the pandemic, we decided to team up and start Converge X Dream Basketball Club for both boys and girls ages 6 to 18. The club’s goal is to provide the best basketball program that will equip players to be successful both on and off the court. We hope to inspire the next generation of girls and boys to achieve all their basketball goals. Please come join us at Academy USA in Glendale every Tuesday and Thursday.
For more information, please contact Coach Steve Baik or Coach Harry Shirikchian via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.