One of the most stressful questions for athletes around the world to ask themselves is “how will I get seen”. According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the NCAA, there are over 800,000 high school athletes striving to play at a higher level. Skills Nation, developed by Marcell Nelson, is an up and coming business providing athletes with even more exposure to fight the odds. Skills Nation, having only began last year has hardly scratched the surface of its potential, but Marcell has a vision.
It started with a camera. That’s all it took, Marcell didn’t know what to do with it, “I just started playing around with it, we were always around basketball, going to the gym, or going to see a basketball league, so we just started bringing our cameras around to capture the moments.” They loved the social media platform and wanted to use it to represent their own city, hence, Skills Nation. As of now they are based in Michigan, but “want to branch out to around the country and after awhile across the world, around the world.” They aren’t ready to settle, they have a bigger goal, “to continue to build our platform and continue to reach out to players, not just the popular players but also the players that don’t have the opportunity to get the same time on the camera.” Marcell created Skills Nation to help athletes chase their dreams no matter where they came from and built it those kids.
For him the game of basketball is more than just a game, “The game of basketball is the community. The best thing about the game of basketball is its a family, its brothers and sisters, a sisterhood, so we want to continue to build that relationship. We used to be apart of the game as athletes and coaches so its easy for us to continue to stay in touch with our players and continue to keep building more.” They want to help all athletes no matter their sport which is unique to other platforms like it, “We want to branch out to other athletes too, not just basketball players. Our name is “skills” because we want to focus on all skills, on all sports, of all talents.” Marcell has a vision that doesn’t just end in his community, he has a dream too, for Skills Nation to branch off to NBA and WNBA highlights as well, “That’s what we’re building up to. The NBA and WNBA are one of the biggest platforms in the world so Skills Nation working alongside them, that will help us out as well.” Right now Marcell is just staying present and helping the athletes that he has now, even with everything that is going on currently.
With the pandemic right now, everyone is struggling but Marcel is pushing forward with what he can do. He is still staying in contact with the athletes and parents “to see how they are doing and also trying to do a few events like 2K tournaments, video game tournaments, stuff with the kids to stay involved and stay in touch with each other.” For Marcell, he wants this pandemic to be over and gyms to start opening up so he “can get right back in it.” He did have some insight on who to keep your eye on when ball starts up again. He believes Caleb Bates, from Mt. Zion Prep in Maryland is a force to be reckon with along with an entering high school player, Na’Kiya Bonner from Detroit Edison.
Skills Nation is pushing to make more than just 3% of high school basketball players go onto play college ball. Marcell has a plan, he has the motivation, and the goal to make it happen. Skills Nation will be an outlet for athletes of all sports to feel like there is a way to answer the question, “how will I get seen”. This business has the potential and support to be great, stay tuned.
Author Samantha Coleman, Sports Journalist, you can follow Skills Nation on Instagram @SkillsNationIG