Blessed with her own mouth guard line in support of breast cancer, in conjunction with top dentist Dr. Lee Gause and world famous boxer Floyd Mayweather, Milani Malik is proof that dreams can come true when you work hard and remain focused.
Milani Malik has been playing professional basketball for 3 years with teams in Trinidad and Tobago, Montenegro, Men’s Professional ABA for the NYC Thunder and is currently playing in Aulnoye Aymeries.
Growing up, Malik watched her older sister play on the junior varsity basketball team in high school. One day while her sister was training in the park, Malik asked if she could workout with her and was told no because she wouldn’t know what to do. It was at that moment Malik decided she would work out and focus on becoming an amazing player. Malik continued going to the park and playing with some of the older guys who would allow her to play as long as she didn’t play soft or complain about the physicality’s. Going through this process is how she grew to love the game. “To me, love the game means sacrifice, passion, commitment, belief, determination and work ethic; thus, you do more than what’s expected from you, so you can be more than what you expect from yourself. You have to push when you’re tired and tell your mind what you need to do so your body will follow,” and Malik has been pushing ever since.
While there have been times Malik wanted to quit, she would always realize that quitting was too easy and she has worked too hard for the things she wants and currently have. Malik has experienced injuries, being cut from a team early, negative feedback from having an unimpressive basketball resume, being told she was too small, coaches telling her she would never succeed, being the star player on a team who knew about sitting on the bench far too well, bad coaching, politics, being signed to a team overseas but unable to leave due to incomplete paper work and more, but she still gave herself goals and worked even harder. “We all have to go through tough times and bad experiences to evolve into what we will become. But if you believe in yourself and not rush, things will fall into place when they should.” As a person who accepts challenges and is extremely focused, Malik says it helps her to write goals down as well as positive sayings and quotes in order to help her mentally. One quote she stands by is, “Courage builds strength, while dedication builds character, and the will not to quit displays determination.”
Basketball has not only helped Malik mature and understand that basketball isn’t just a game she loves to play, but it has also helped her from a networking platform and business standpoint. Along with her mouth guard line (www.Icebergguards.com), Malik is also signed to Bernard Management for commercial and modeling gigs and works for the New York Knicks, 92nd street Y and Game Seven Marketing. She has also been featured in the amazing documentary film “Doin It In The Park: Pick-Up Basketball, NYC” by Bobbito Garcia and Kevin Couliau. With such an impressive resume already, Malik’s future plans includes aiming for a championship this season, continuing her work with camps and basketball clinics for the youth, potentially running her own one day, and helping to organize and run leagues. Furthermore, she plans to continue her involvement with commercials, movies and of course continued work toward expanding her personal brand.
With everything Malik has accomplished, she understands how important support and encouragement is which is why she’sadamant on encouraging those younger than her. “You never know who you are inspiring or lifting up,” says Malik. “That one moment you take extra time to speak to a kid, or let them know they are doing a great job and to keep pushing, may be exactly what they need to hear at that moment, and moments are everlasting.”
Influenced by her father and overall support from family, Malik says it’s just something else inside her that keeps her going. “I have a drive to not settle for less, a fight not to lose, a desire to be the best, a devoted work ethic, a positive outlook to keep my mental strong and a determination not to quit.”
“No one should ever fear the feeling of failure. The fact you are trying means you are succeeding. Thoughts turn into things, so stay optimistic and know that whatever you want to do and achieve you can with the right attitude, hard work and mind set.” – Milani Malik
Written By Erica Wright
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