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From BX to DC: Getting to Know Basketball Athlete Chris Gleaton

If I were to list three words that describe this AU Men’s basketball player, could you guess who? 

Ambitious, driven, and selfless. 

If you guessed player #0, Thiells, New York born and raised Chris Gleaton, then you’re absolutely right. Chris Gleaton [@ sfnchris ] is a sophomore attending American University, studying business and entertainment at the Kogod School of Business, and a player on the Men’s Basketball team. The New York native’s inspiration began with the encouragement from his father who “wasn’t a basketball player but saw my passion” and let the game come to Gleaton because of his father's investment, time, and energy that enabled him to chase his devotion and love for basketball. Gleaton’s basketball career began with street basketball in the Bronx which branched into competitive basketball at the age of eleven. Today,  his on-court and off-court personality continues to display the “selfless, driven, and hard-working” demeanor that he’s always carried for the love of his sport and his teammates. 

Gleaton’s consciousness and care for others on and off the court translates to his character being more of a “leader by example” rather than a “vocal leader” which aligns perfectly with the NBA player that Gleaton looks up to, Kobe Bryant. Similar to Bryant, Gleaton’s attention to detail, “passion for the game, and tremendous effort to pursue'' combined with the “laid back and display of effort” of Kevin Durant, Gleaton’s dynamic disposition draws from both NBA legends and exhibits such character throughout his everyday life and faithful support for the New York Knicks. In addition to Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. are amongst the Black leaders Gleaton holds to high admiration. 

Off the court,  Gleaton enjoys watching  Netflix, playing video games such as: Madden, NBA2K, and GTA5, Call of Duty, and listening to sundry styles of Hip Hop and R&B from the old school influence of his parents to the new school independence of his own. Artists that keep him going throughout the day are Lil Baby, Lil Durk, A Boogie wit A Hoodie, NoCap, and Jay Z for an old school twist. Music plays an important form of remedy and therapy for Gleaton especially being a Black male athlete at PWI. Gleaton ensures to “embrace…and take pride in being Black at a PWI '' through finding remedies like music and studying to “not really pay attention and be myself in any situation presented”. Gleaton’s confidence in his Blackness detours any forms of shame, mute, or concealment of being Black at AU through “taking pride in individuality” as a top priority whether one is an athlete or student.

 Gleaton’s individuality shines through when it comes to his studies and the maintenance of his daily routine. His “pride in academics, getting some homework done, lifting weights, and finding food” tends to take priority as a student at AU as well. The athlete and student life can be extremely difficult in terms of finding the perfect balance of going to practice, class, finding time to spend with friends, and ensuring adequate time for the student-athlete too. Gleaton makes certain to “get some food in the system” with his favorite food being buttermilk pancakes with a quick switch-up of either Aunt Jemina or Canadian syrup depending on the day. His day to day life wouldn't have been possible without his commitment to AU which was decided without “even getting to visit because of COVID'' but Gleaton’s observation and awareness of “having a conversation with different coaches'' and the importance of valuing  him as a player solidified his dedication and decision to play for AU. Though, because of Gleaton’s upbringing in Thiells, New York and playing ball in the Bronx his exposure to diverse and cultural environments sparked the interest to play for an HBCU that “would have been a heavy consideration if presented, it didn’t and that’s just the way it is'' but since committing to AU, Gleaton’s basketball coaches have played a large role in his development as a player with strong and impactful words of wisdom from “never take a player off” to “value everything you do on the court” because one may never know what opportunities can lead and to take advantages of the achievements ``placed before you”. 

The connections and friendships that Gleaton's possesses enables him to socialize with his friends and acquaintances from New York attending HBCUs in the D.C. metro area enable Gleaton to “not stay inside too much and try to go outside by trying different restaurants and meeting new people'' build crucial and important relationships for Gleaton as an athlete and student in the D.C. area. In ten years Gleaton strives to take the future “day by day” and “thinking of it more mentally than physically'' by establishing his “happiness rather than pursuing money.” than other materialistic avenues that many students and athletes are trained and programmed to trail once undergrad is over. Though in the meantime, hobbies Gleaton enjoys are traveling and hopes to travel more when he’s older by finding more time to explore countries in Africa, especially South Africa and Turks and Caicos.

 As Gleaton is finishing his sophomore year and a second season of basketball at American University, who knows what the future holds for him, the accomplishments he’ll achieve, and the opportunities that will open; but one thing for sure is that his humility, selflessness, and ambition on and off the court will take him far.

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