Average to Savage
Average to Savage

Episode · 3 years ago

Ryan Martin | Average to Savage EP25

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This is the twenty-fifth episode of the Average to Savage podcast featuring professional wheelchair basketball player Ryan Martin. Paul Guarino talked with Ryan Martin discussing his life growing up, playing professional wheelchair basketball overseas, his foundation The Ryan Martin Foundation. Follow Ryan Martin https://www.instagram.com/ryanmartin06/ https://twitter.com/RyanMartin06 https://www.facebook.com/TheRyanMartinFoundation/ Powered by RISE Brewing Co, https://risebrewingco.com/

This is the average to savage podcastwith Paul Greno, everyone in anyone, athletes set's and much more. WHAT'SUP, everybody? On back for another episode of average Svens podcasts or specialguests. Today is Pro Wheelchair Basketball Player and Speaker Ryan Martin. How's itgoing, Ryan, good? Thank you. Thanks for making the time to haveme on the put. Yeah, for sure. So can you giveus a brief summary About Yourself? So My name is Ryan Martin's wheelchair basketballplayer. Currently I played for the New York Rowing Knicks and the NWBA.It's The wheelchair basketball team that's affiliated with the New York Knicks. When I'mnot on the Basketball Court, I run my nonprofit that does that. Focuseson sports camps and programming for individuals with disability, such as veterans and kids, and we have programming here in Connecticut in various US cities as well.Over in Madrid, Spain. I spent ten years of my life leaving inEurope, playing wheelchair basketball, spent in Madrid, Spain, and then tobouncing around France and, you know, enjoying that experience. Yeah, forsure. So when did you start playing basketball? I come from a familyof twelve, where my parents adopted kids with special needs and so we,you know, basketball was kind of the sport we played as a family.So I started playing when I was about thirteen or fourteen and didn't really findwheelchair basketball per se until I was about sixteen years old. I started playingwith this adult team that was in my area, the Connecticut spoke vendors and, you know, different things like that. So I was late to finding thesport, you know, pursely, just because there's not as much opportunitiesfor, you know, youth athletes with disabilities and you know, that wasprobably my experience growing up. Looking for those opportunities was, you know,really one of the principal motivators for me to starting my own nonprofit and tryingto create more opportunities for kids too,...

...you know, who were going throughthe same stuff that I did. For sure. For sure. Where do? Where did you go to college and would you study for study there?Yes, I went to southwest Minnesota State University. There is, I thinkthere's currently fifteen universities that have collegiate wheelchair basketball, you know, and they'respread out across the country. So I went on a basketball scholarship out thereI ended up getting my degree and secondary education with the emphasis and social sciences. You know, aside from offering me a scholarship, was highly regarded fortheir educational program in creating teachers and different things like that. So and that'salways been a passion and I think, you know, it's something that Istill do today, but it kind of finds itself more in, you know, running programs as opposed to running classrooms. For sure, in you're from Connecticut, right, correct. How did you end up kind of school ofMinnesota? You know, I mean there wasn't, you know, there wasn'ta lot of options. You know, I wanted to play basketball, youknow, at the collegiate level, and I wanted to get a good education, and so for me, it was always going to you know, Iwas always going to have to leave the state of Connecticut to do that,you know, and just when you know, I looked for you know, it'skind of like what we tell the kids are our program you know,you kind of know when you get there if it's the right fit for you. And you know, when I visited campus and, you know, metwith the coaches and met with some professors and different things like that, itwas just the right fit. You know it would. It's a small world. You collog university that you know is two hours from the nearest airport,if you will. So you know the kind of paint a picture of whereit is. You know, and you know fondly, I say, theykill you with tyingess up there. You know that midwest values and different thingslike that. So it was a great experience, I wouldn't you know.It allowed me to be where I am today and, you know, definitelyopen doors from the basketball perspective, you know, being able to go playin Europe and now, you know, being able to play on such asuch a high quality team here in New York. For sure, for sure. So yeah, so after college you went immediately to pro basketball overseas.There was a gap a little bit.

I moved down to the Phoenix andI started playing for the Phoenix wheelchair sons, another end of you bea affiliated teamwith ties to the end of NBA team, and you know candidly Iwas doing that. And you know you don't make a lot of money.You don't make any money because it's all amateur sports to the only money.You know, if you played the NDWA might be through endorsements or speaking engagementsand different things like that. So I actually was teaching full time while Iwas in Phoenix and one of my one of my good friends, you knowin college roommates, had went right after undergraduate school to go play in Italyand, you know, he was like Hey, man, why don't youcome out, you know, and Lo and behold, you know, hehad set up this, you know, this try out for me. SoI'm, you know, freshly jet lags flying from the US over to Spain. You know, how to try out, play well enough in to try out, got a you know, got my foot in the door, sortof speak, with a one year contract and then just it kind of blewup from there. But I, you know, I never anticipated, youknow this, you know what wheelchap basketball would do for me as a individualperson from a development standpoint, from a confidence standpoint, you know, indifferent things of those natures, as well as having such a long, youknow, Cup of coffee, if you will, living in Europe playing basketball. Yeah, for sure. So you said you played in Spain for eightyears. So did you play for like one team, ormotile teams, orhow was that? And No, I played for one team. I playedfor a Tofe, which will you know, which is one of the Madrid teams. You know, Madrids devised it. You know, if you anything aboutSpain, like in Madrid, it's divided of like seven little parts andyou know, so I was in the southern part of Madrid. You know, got to experience living in, you know, a really, really coolcity, picking up the Langue, which kicking up the culture and different thingslike that, you know, and I've probably spent more time, you know, aside from my childhood home, I probably spend more time in Madrid thanany other place as an adult. And...

...so I you know, I atractiately refer to it, as you know, my second home and you know,always have a little bit of, you know, a soft spot ofmy heart for Spain and especially my time in Madrid. For sure, forsure. And then, I know you said you played in France for twoyears. So who's a what was the experience like living in France versus Spain? It was really interesting because, you know, I lived one year inthe south of France where, you know, like near that central pay. Itwas a small city called yet it and I lived there and you know, it's near central pay in Monaco, so you got two big boats.You know. I lived, you know, probably two minutes away from, youknow, a beautiful beach and different things like that, which, youknow, especially living in the northeast right now where it's cold all the timeand you know, it's you know, I got to the frost my carbefore I go anywhere, type of thing. It was a really, really awesomeexperience that. I mean France, from like North the southeast to west, is just such a beautiful country and I really grew to, you know, even though it was only two years there, to appreciate the culture,you know, and some of the unique experiences they're you know, my lastyear playing over in Europe, I lived in Paris, which is, youknow, which is a definitely a very cool experience, you know, asfar as just spend that much time and, you know, one of the kindof iconic cities and, you know, in the world. If for sure, did you get to pick up any Spanish or French? French?Yeah, I speak fluent Spanish. I can I can have up some French. You know, it's I think it made a French speaker would look atme like I had two heads. But you know, I think had Ihad a little more time, I would have ended up picking it up because, you know, the threat after I learned Spanish, you know, acquirein that third language seems a little bit easier. But you know, I'venever been a person who is, you know, really academically inclined, butbeing totally immersed into that culture, you know, you you can't help butpick up some language out of that. If sure, learning on the job. Sure, like accessibility wise overseas,...

...like is it accessible or not,like versus over in the US, like anything, if you know, ifyou really, if you really are passionate about getting to the you know,to that Tor side or whatever, you know, it's definitely possible. Iwouldn't say it's as friendly as you know here in the United States, wherewe have, you know, Ada, but the one thing I think isreally, really different is, you know, I think they go out of theirway to, you know, make things accessible. I remember, likewhen I was in Venice, you know, and obviously a city that's partially,you know, almost all under water, that's not necessarily the most easy thingfor a person in a wheelchair to navigate, and I just remember thepeople being so friendly and just bending over backwards to, you know, helphelp accommodate it. You know, it even when I went to Rome andRoms, the city of ancient ruins, and like, you know, gettingaround there in a wheelchair, you know, when the sidewalk is basically on theroad and you've got these little feed up screaming by behind you and you'relike, you know, it looks like us. You know, it lookslike a scene out of oceans eleven or something like that. You know,I think they're making strides. I think they're a little bit further behind inthe US and I think a lot of you know the fact that it theirolder cities and they're older buildings and different things like that affect them. ButI think from an inclusive stamp point of you know, trying to make thingsaccessible, I think they're I think they're, you know, they're heading in theright direction. But you know, I always tell people when I dointerviews and they'll ask me, you know, what were the two things that Imissed or what were the some of the things that I missed when Iwas overseas, and I would always comment that, you know, I missedmy family and then the accessibility, you know, the ease of you know, getting around the US is, you know, is second and Noun inmy opinion. For sure, for sure. And how did you start the RyanMarin Foundation and what's the goal of it? You know, I justrealized that, you know, my story of using adaptive sports and whist robustiblespecifically, was an awesome opportunity, right...

...and you know, you're talking abouta kid who was up, you know, has a disability, and you knowit was adopted and you know had a lot of different challenges and youknow, adaptive sports always kept me focused and you know, having a wheels, your basketball team did a lot for me and I can't you know,just like you know, sports does a lot for everybody, whether you're aperson with a disability or not, and so I think I just really wantedto create that opportunity for more folks. You know, I just wanted kids. You know, I would see kids, you know, who were like ten, even twelve or thirteen, and when I would be home in thesummertime, there's like, Oh man, Ryan, I want to be likeyou, and I'm like, oh, that's awesome. Yeah, like great, you can do it. And then I'm like, well, really,there's no vehicle or mechanism for that child to do that. And so,you know, the like I felt compelled to do that just because, youknow, I think he just can't. In this world you got to getback, you know, you can't just take, take, take, take, take, and you know, this was my way of giving back forall the things that basketball has given me. Yeah, for sure. And what'slike the yearly events or big events you guys run? Yes, sowe you know, so we have two programs. We have one that runsin Madrid, Spain, and then we have one that runs here in Connecticut. And our Connecticut Program is, you know, has athletes from five differentstates. You know, it's Connecticut, Mass, New York, Pennsylvania andRhode Islan. We have athletes from all there. And so we we doa series of camps in the summer months where we you know, it's youknow, it's either an introductory level or as an advanced level for some ofour advanced athletes. And you know, the whole idea is we just wantto give them that opportunity and show them one of the sport can give them, you know, and we we go ahead and do a similar model.You know, it's truncated model in Madrid, Spain, where we do a coupleof different clinics and camps during the summer months and then during the regularyear we have folks out there who run the program and, you know,we advise from here in the US and...

I'll go over a couple of timesa year to make sure everything, you know, kind of up to ourstandard of how we would like the program under our umbrella to be run.And so it's been great. You know, kids get to participate in year aroundbasketball, whether they're joining a junior league and playing against teams from othercities like Philly, New York, Virginia, Baltimore, or they're just getting,you know, that opportunity to participating champs and just sign the sport forthe first time. You know, I think the the my favorite part ofwhat we do is, you know, when you get a kid in awheelchair for the first time WHO's eight, nine, ten years old, he'snever seen the sports, you know, and they get in a chair andin their faith lights up right, you know, because they know they foundsomething that you know, whether they knew it and not, you know,eight or nine years old but it's going to give them something that they've beenmissing, you know, that chance to you know, just play, youknow, for a lot of you know, for a lot of our kids,you know, especially the younger ones. You know, there's a lot ofchallenges and a lot of hurdles in their place and we want basketball,you know, to be kind of this this vehicle for, you know,inclusion and opportunity and different things like that. So, you know, we geta new kid into a chair and we get, you know, they'reout on the court and they don't want to leave practice because, well,they finally found something. You know, that's you know, that's the benefitand that's you know, that's the best part about what we do. Ifsure, that's awesome. And I saw a former NBA player in Yukon,head coach Kevin Al we had a lot of your events and I was justtrying to figure out how that all come about. Yes, okay, Kao'sa Good Buddy of mine and, you know, he's been a really goodsupporter of, you know, all the stuff we've done with, you know, my nonprofit and I've helped out with some of the stuff that, youknow, with his nonprofit. Endeavors and some of the charity stuff that hedoes, you know, but that's a genuine thing. You know, Iknew I knew Ko when he was, you know, working out at sixo'clock in the morning at a La Fitness Gym, you know, while hewas a twelve man on NBA rosters, you know, still trying to youknow, still trying to play basketball at...

...that level, you know, andwe struck up a friendship and he's been you know, he's been super supportive, you know, to especially as I've transitioning from somebody who is trying tobuild my brand beyond just basketball in impact communities in a positive way. Youknow, he's been good. I can just fire him a text message and, you know, just ask them random questions and I truly appreciate his sportbut you know, I think the one question people ask me they're like,well, how genuine there is that relationship? And you know, I consider hima friend first and foremost, and so, yeah, that just kindof happened from, you know, two guys at a gym working out,waiting, waiting to start doing full court drills, you know, several summersago, and you know, it's kind of blossop into, you know,really nice friendship and then also a kind of a business relationship as well.And how did you become motivational speaker y? You know, I think that's it. I think that's the educator and me right and that's the I thinkthat's the person who, you know, kind of wants to give back andyou know, the platform is changed. You know, I'll go talk toa group of, you know, five individual kids, you know, insome school somewhere or you know, now it's more doing, you know,flying down the North Carolina and speaking at a university. They're speaking at aYukon Yukon event or speaking, you know, at a major corporate event. It'skind of grown a little bit and, you know, my message is changeda lot. You know, I speak on the importance of, youknow, inclusion in the in the classroom and in the workplace for individuals withdisabilities. You know, I tell I tell a lot of my story aswell as, you know, what we're doing for the foundation side of thingsas well, and so it's a you know, but I think that isdefinitely the teacher and me who you know, and part of the whole idea ofme wanting to get back and just...

...kind of, you know, providesome wisdom, if you will. Sure, for sure. What do you liketo do in your free time? When you're not speaking, you're playingbasketball. You know, I run the day to day operations of, youknow, international nonprofit. There's not a lot of freak and you know,like I think, I'm like everybody else. You know, I like to spendtime with family, obviously, you know, coming from a family oftwelve, you know, I anytime I can, you know, just kindof disconnect and spend time with, you know, my nieces or nephews or, you know, my siblings, is always great. You know, Lindsy, my better half. I spend a lot of time with her. Sheseems to take up quite a bit of my time, and I say thataffectionately, hoping that she hears this podcast at some point. You know,it's just it's just kind of kind of normal stuff. Like to read.I like the beings Netflix shows when I'm in some random hotel, you know, like everybody, kind of like everybody else. Right, yeah, ready, ready for some fun questions? Yeah, let's go. So, if youwere in pro baschuelle player, what do you think you'd be doing.I think I can already know the answer. Yeah, I think I would beteaching somewhere. That was easy one. Yeah, that was a little hangingtrue. Thanks for thanks for US softball in the start. And whatabout what's on your music playlist right now? It's a great question, as Ihad my iphone in my hands. You know, I'm really big inthe podcast. Yeah, and a lot of my music selection is kind oflike rap music, just for like workout music. Yeah, I'm pretty ECLECTIC. I can get with any type of music. Would probably the probably theexception of country music. Ex I don't hope you don't have a lot ofcountry listeners on your podcast following. I think that. When I look atthe last song I played was this Malatos for which is French rap music.So, like I said, I'm pretty ECLECTIC, but I spend more timelistening to podcast and stuff like that and if it's music, it's usually rapmusic. Definitely definitely have to agree with you on the country music too.Yeah, man, it just never you know, I mean you know anawfulacs. I can tell you some some...

...funny stories about around that, butyeah, never really got into it and you know quick to change the stationif that's what pops up. And for sure, your top five favorite basketballplayers of all time? Is it okay to count myself, you know?So I'm going myself first and foremost, you know, and then I'll pouncearound. I think Kevin Garnett, you know, just because I love thepassion that he played with as well. She's I would be missed. Iwould say. You know, my college teammate who's played multiple Paralympic Games.Just her has always just really impressed me as a basketball player. I wouldsay, you know, Pat Anderstanding, who's, you know, considered thego of our sport for wheels, grop basketball as well. He's just been, he's on real to watch what he can do in a wheelchair and differentthings like that, you know. So I would say for for sure thatwould be for and then, like Saturday night, I was that I missedG and I got to see on us play in person and then I gotsomething else too. So if you give me more than five, I couldsit here all day and listen to them, but that's my five. Off Theoff the grip right there. All right, I like it. Andwhat are your goals for two thousand and Nineteen Yeah, you know my goalsfor two thousand and nineteen. I'd like to see, you know, I'dlike to see us repeat as as champions. You know, last year we wereable to win the championship with within mix and I'd like to see that. I'd like to see us be able to repeat, which is going tobe a challenge. I think you know, the Bulls eye is clearly on usnow, if there wasn't on us before. You know, and Ithink you know, it's for it's easy to win once. It's easier towin once. Use Me, but to you know, to get over thatmountain top of second time will be will be really interesting to see, forsure. For sure. Well, I appreciate you coming on the show andyou tell listeners where they can find your on social media. On instagram andtwitter it's Ryan Martin, zero and six, and then on Facebook, I don'tknow, how does it work on facebook them it is Ryan Mart Yeah, yeah, just Ryan Martin, and...

...then the foundation piss and then thefoundation page, you know, is Ryan Martin. Foundation don't work, youknow, in many you know, inquiries or questions about how that all works. You know, my contact information is definitely there as well. Sure we'llappreciate you have coming on and hope you have a good day. Likewise,sex time.

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