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"What does this guy know about of house music? He’s a basketball player" - Rony Seikaly on transitioning from being an NBA player to club DJ

Even to this day, some people would still go back and claim that Seikaly is not a DJ, but a basketball player.
Miami Heat center Rony Seikaly dunks the ball at the Miami Arena during the 1994 season.

Rony Seikaly

For those who have never heard of him, Rony Seikaly is a 6-foot-11 bruiser who played 11 years in the NBA. He was also part of the Greek national team and represented his home country Lebanon on the international stage and won gold medals with Team USA at the 1986 Goodwill Games and the 1986 FIBA World Championship. It’s safe to say Seikaly lives and breathes basketball, but deep down, music has been his passion.

From the court to the club was no walk in the park

When Seikaly was introduced to house music as a teenager, he instantly fell in love with it. He started working on his DJ skills, and at the age of 14, Seik began his music career in Greece. At the time, Seikaly was torn between basketball and DJing. However, when the opportunity to play on basketball’s biggest stage arrived in 1988, the then-23-year-old grabbed it. He was drafted by the Miami Heat.

But apparently, 11 years of playing basketball weren’t enough to make Seikaly forget about house music. So, Seikaly went full throttle in pursuing his career as a DJ after playing his final game in Spain in 2000.

Some may think that transitioning from basketball to DJing was easy and, if anything, was all sunshine and lollipops. But as it turned out, Seikaly had to overcome the stigma of being branded as a basketball player who knew nothing about house music.

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“In all honesty, it’s been hell,” Seikaly told Dancing Astronaut. “People don’t know my musical background and that I’ve been a student of house music for so many years. They automatically say, ‘what does this guy know about of house music? He’s a basketball player.’ That’s basically the uphill battle that I’ve dealt with my whole career. I’ve always said to myself, ‘I wish they would just judge me for the music, and not for who I was.’”

It will all go back

Despite the negativity, Seikaly’s determination prevailed. Before long, the 1990 NBA Most Improved Player became a household name in his new line of work, performing at renowned house superclubs and events worldwide and in the U.S., such as Club Space in Miami and Burning Man in Nevada. He also released several albums, most notably “Moonwalk.”

However, Seikaly knows that he can never please everybody. And even to this day, some people would still go back and claim that he’s not a DJ, but a basketball player.

“That was the struggle I’ve always had of people not listening to the music but just looking at me and thinking he’s a basketball player and forgetting about listening to the music because they have already made that decision in their head,” Seikaly admitted.

Having heard Seikaly’s sentiment, it would be greatly appreciated if you give him a tap on the shoulder and say, ‘nice work, DJ!’ should you happen to see him at the DJ booth in the club.

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