Born in a cricket crazy country as a die hard cricket fan, Rayan had never thought out of the box from cricket. Calling it change of fortunes, he fell in love with basketball.
His love for the game of hoops started in class 7. He just wanted to taste the thing and wanted to play for his local house team in Biscoe school but the team guys locked him up in the classroom so that he can’t play and chanted from the window “You suck at basketball”.
“I cried, came home and locked myself in the room and didn’t talk to anybody for hours together. After crying for hours, I came down with a motivated face, that I will be better than anybody in this game. I worked so hard that I went on to captain the same guys next year who locked me previous year. The journey started that time only.” Rayan went on to dominate many tournaments the same year and represented J&K at Rajasthan. He went on to play in many more big tournaments and represent state four more times (having missed on 5 times due to injury and other things).
His story is like an underdog, 4 years earlier no one wanted to even put him on their practice team and now people go on to call him the best and most unique basketball player in the valley.
His first big breakthrough came when he went to Delhi for the First ever NBA (National Basketball Association, USA) Academy to try out. They were handing out full-time scholarships to 24 top players in the country. He was the only Kashmiri in the top 40 among 1600+ candidates in Delhi and was shortlisted in top 260 players in the country. Couldn’t make the final 24 sadly. But it provided him a great morale boost to continue practicing Basketball.
Being abused and harassed for practicing at school and at public courts, Rayan set up a hoop at his home.
In the unrest days, he continued to practice at his home.
“As the security forces continued to gun down the innocent youth, that sweet little jump-shot continued to make my day. What made news for everyone wasn’t the news for me as I only cared about getting good grades and continue chasing my basketball dream. The day here started with a curfew in place but I was content with a hoop I have in my backyard not worrying about that I won’t be allowed to leave home.”
“I saw these immense tough days as an opportunity to rise above everything. The day started with planning workouts and ended with doing them all and going to bed happy and satisfied that I have fulfilled my only duty I have in my life that is to get to keep grinding and get better every single day no matter what. Born and raised up in a conflicted state where all you know curfew’s and hartal are a frequent affair I never let these things stand between me and my dreams. The only thing standing between me and my dreams are my fears.”
“I am in-charge of my life. Haters and doubters are my motivation. I won’t let them defeat me. People don’t define who I am I define those things. It is my duty to never let things go unfinished. I will do whatever it takes because I don’t believe in failure. I believe in getting up as many times as it is going to take me in order to see true success in order to see my dreams become my reality. I believe in my vision. I believe in my capabilities.”
“I may not have what other people have as far as physical capabilities but it is not about that it’s about my will power. I am entirely too convinced that I will succeed. I will change up anything in order to go where I want to go with my life. I am not a finished product because I am striving each day to see my results. I know there is no substitute for hard work there is no substitute for greatness I simply respect greatness and I will succeed.”