Do you remember Malaysia’s very own Basketball Freestyle Champion, Scalia Nethanial from Sevenpie’s Featured Interview in 2017?
Click here of you have not checked out his previous Interview with Sevenpie.
He’s been making a name for himself since, and Sevenpie snagged the opportunity to conduct a little #Throwback interview!
From performing all around the Malaysia to traveling Asia to showcase his talent, Scalia Nethanial is certainly a force to be reckoned with!
So, grab some snacks, get comfy, because this week’s Exclusive Featured Interview is in fact with… Scalia Nethanial!
1. Hey Scalia! Thank you for agreeing to meet with Sevenpie again, it has been 3 years since our last Featured Interview, can you tell our readers a little about yourself?
Yooo! Haha yeah, it’s been way too long. I’m glad to see that y’all are still around. Thanks for having me. So yeah, I’m Scalia Nethanial. I’m 24 years old. What’s good?
2. Could you tell us about your background, and how you started doing what you do?
It started off with me watching these things called the AND1 Mixtapes. It’s an American based Basketball company that produces Street Basketball Highlights. It featured world renowned players like “The Professor” and “Hot Sauce” (both of whom I’ve had the pleasure to meet later on in my career).
I picked up a basketball one day and copied whatever I was watching on the AND1 Mixtapes. That was the beginning.
3. What has changed since your last Featured Interview with Sevenpie?
That was years ago. I feel like a totally different person right now. I honestly feel that way. I don’t talk to the same people anymore. I don’t simply mix around. I have a nice and small group of friends and I like it that way. I feel like my life evolves pretty quickly sometimes. Hmm but what’s new? I got my own place and I’ve been living on my own for the past few years. I’m proud of that you know? Like just being able to provide for myself and be independent. It has taught me a lot. I’m currently a Social Media & Branding Senior Executive for a corporate company (it’s been my job for the past 2 years plus). I’m partnered with PUMA as their Brand Ambassador which is so cool. I love PUMA and what they represent. I’m also a member of Hype Streetball; It’s this popular Streetball team from the Philippines. Other than that, still performing regularly.
4. Who are some of your inspirations?
Kobe Bryant (only the closest people in my life knows how much it affected me when he passed. He was more than just a Basketball player to me. I miss you, Kobe), The Rock and Eminem. There’s more of course but these are my top 3.
5. You have been making headlines all over Malaysia and internationally, what drives your passion?
Haha 11 years in the game. I wonder how I’m still doing this sometimes. But I guess it’s all consistency and never settling for just an achievement. It feels great to still be here doing this at a high level. It shows my dedication. To me it has a lot to do with my “WHY”. Like why am I still doing this? Performing became an outlet to where I was able to shift my focus and energy onto something that was positive. Being able to inspire others and play a small role in their lives is a really cool thing to do. Being able to provide for others in any way. I’m humbled to be able to do that. Plus, I’m still so young. Long way to go haha.
6. A journey like yours seems like a difficult one, what are some of the toughest experiences that you have had to endure to get to where you’re at?
A lot. Where do I even begin? Like let’s start with family. My dad left when I was born. My mum was around for a while, then she took off once she found a way out. I had to grow up real quick. None of them have ever even seen me perform live before. But it’s cool. I don’t blame anyone. It would’ve been nice for them to be more involved in my life though. But it is what it is. I’ve had to deal with so many roadblocks in my life. At home, I was being told that I’m nothing. So, there’s already no support at this place that’s supposed to be your comfort zone. So, imagine trying to make it out there alone? That’s tough. Like imagine being a Basketball Freestyle Performer in Malaysia. Who’s gonna hire you? The culture is huge but in the eyes of a local event organizer? Not so much. Even Regular Basketball isn’t even that big here compared to how it is in other countries. So, imagine how much exposure us Freestylers/Streetballers get? I’ve never once had a manager, so I had to grind and market myself. There was no blueprint. No one was really doing it on a big level, so it was like…there was no one to really follow and ask advice from. So, I took that and turned it into what it is today. All the hard work was worth it though. I had to stay really sharp at all times. There’s been ups and downs just like everyone’s story. But I’m in a great position now. I get to do all the things I dreamed of when I was a kid. I tour, do shows regularly, collaborate with other great talents, go on TV, speak at Universities/Schools, and even get to tell my story on a platform like this too.
7. Can you tell our readers what some of your accomplishments are?
Yeah what got me in poppin’ the game was winning the AND1 Malaysia contract. “The Professor” was judging and he picked me to win. Crazy thing was I wasn’t even that good at the time, but I guess he saw something, and I guess that something is now a reality hahah. I’ve won multiple competitions too outside of that. Getting endorsement deals and all that. But the biggest accomplishment is just being able to inspire others. Kobe taught me that.
8. What is the most rewarding part about what you do?
Bringing people together. Putting smiles on their faces.
9. We’ve heard that you’ve done multiple shows internationally, could you tell us about your experiences?
Crazy. Just crazy. Crowds are so receptive out there. I remember this one show in India. I’ve never even been there prior to that. It was sold out. They couldn’t get enough. I’m just proud I’m able to take both Malaysia and Philippines name out wherever I go.
10. You are a Malaysian Filipino, what are your experiences when travelling back to the Philippines?
Yes, I am a Filipino. So proud to be one. I usually stay at Manila whenever I’m at Philippines, but my hometown is this place called Dumpay. It’s located in Pangasinan. I love it there. Just being able to share my blessings with the people there. It’s amazing. I got a big family staying there and I’m close to them. It’s always a great time whenever I go back. Also, people in Dumpay are really talented. I hope to do more things there someday… like organise a talent competition or sponsor a Basketball league/team. Anything to give back to the community really. I’d be interested in that.
11. Having travelled and performed in multiple countries, where do you see yourself performing next?
Oh everywhere. I want to go everywhere. That’s how you grow. Los Angeles is a goal. I want to perform at Kobe’s city. Japan, Indonesia – they got great Freestylers there. That would be fun.
12. Having achieved so many great things thus far, what is your next goal?
The goal is the journey that’s happening right now as we speak. I feel like you’re robbing yourself of the magic by putting a roof over your head or setting a limitation to what you can achieve.
13. How has being a basketball freestyle performer changed your life?
ts opened the doors to so many things. I was able to transition to other things through Freestyle Basketball. I never just wanted to stay a Freestyler or Streetballer only. I mean I love this but like there’s this quote by Isaiah Thomas. “If all I’m remembered for is being a good basketball player, then I’ve done a bad job with the rest of my life.” I truly agree.
14. What would you tell our readers who admire what you do?
Hey if you have a goal or whatever and you’re told “No”, whether it’s by a parent, a teacher, a friend or anyone, that’s fine. Just do you. It’s important to follow your passion because often times, your passion is where you will find your purpose.
15. Lastly, do you have any advice or words of encouragement to people who are thinking of pursuing their passion of freestyle basketball?
Yes, just go for it and have fun. Be free. Express yourself through it. Hit me up if you’d like to. I’m more than willing to share.
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