Steve Harvey, ESSENCE Magazine, and Disney run this program at Disney World every year called the Disney Dreamers Academy. It's a 4 day program where they essentially take talented kids from off backgrounds and groom them into empathetic, aware young adults––complete with lessons on how to shake hands, tie your tie, etc.
Every year about 10,000 kids apply, and in 2014 I was one of the lucky 100 who was selected. Of those 100, 4 were selected to go on Steve Harvey's talk show, tell our stories, and get a scholarship. I was selected to be one of those four, along with my friends Niani, Carlos, and Caitlin.
I'll probably write more about this whole experience, but what's on my mind today is when I met Magic Johnson.
Because we were selected to go on Steve Harvey's show, we had a camera crew following us around documenting our journey through the program and interviewing us. One of the perks of this was that we were able to get special access to the program.
Tons of high profile speakers speak at this program every year. People like Steve Harvey, Stephen A. Smith, Magic Johnson, and Yolanda Adams.
Right before Magic Johnson was about to take the stage, Carlos and I got called back by the producers. They wanted to get shots of us talking to Magic.
While everyone else was waiting for the talk, the producers, Carlos, and I waddled backstage. Carlos and I were mostly concerned about what we were going to get him to autograph.
We all went into this dark little room next to the stage. Carlos and I waited patiently, awkwardly. The producers were making sure the lighting was on point.
Then a door opens and Steve Harvey walks in, trailed by Magic.
So I know Magic is legendary because he was a natural point guard who happened to be half a foot taller than the average point guard, but this guy was tall. Like really tall. At this time I was probably like 5 foot 7, and he was 6'9."
We shook his hand and we start babbling about nonsense, then the producers are like "yo let's start filming."
For my fellow sneakerheads reading this, I was wearing some Chicago 10s during this interview. I pulled one of them off and got him to sign it, and as he did I thanked him for inspiring me since I was a little kid.
He paused, looked me in the eyes, and said, "Pretty soon you'll have kids coming up to you saying the same thing."