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I was homeless on Skid Row watching strangers live in tents – now I’m an athlete

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A MAN who started out life as a homeless child on Skid Row managed to defy the odds to become an England athlete.

Daniel Edozie was forced to become a “12-year-old man” while growing up in one of the most notorious places in Los Angeles, California.

The sporting star had a tough upbringing and now helps others in need

Left alone in the country as a young British child, Daniel watched strangers live in “houses” made from trollies during the lowest points of his life.

But in a heartwarming story of rags to riches, Daniel never gave up and managed to find success through his hard work and love of basketball.

Now, 31, Daniel has forged out a successful career as a basketball star and earnt a Master’s degree after his turbulent childhood.

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The 6ft 8in star has gone on to play for the Bristol Flyers and become their top scorer.

His exploits meant he even earnt a spot in the England national team where he represented Britain in the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

However, Daniel’s early life was certainly not easy and he says that most of his childhood was a “struggle”.

In 2004, aged 11, London-born Edozie and his mother Georgina crossed the Atlantic and headed to the United States looking for a better life.

They were instead welcomed by the stench of sewage and sweaty bodies in the less-than-desirable Skid Row.

Homeless people lined the streets in tents and makeshift “houses” made from shopping trollies and sheets, brazenly using drugs in the open.

In the days, Daniel said he would “panhandle” to earn some cash, then use the cash to buy an all-day bus pass and roam the city on his own.

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He’d leave his mother for days at a time, sleeping on the cold hard ground of churches and the Salvation Army.

But aged 12 he hit rock bottom.

After a disagreement with his mother, Daniel went to a Salvation Army shelter for some food.

When he came back, she was gone and he found himself wandering the alleyways of downtown LA completely alone.

Daniel told the Daily Star: “The only thing I had with me was a 150-gallon trash bag full of clothes.

“No money, no phone, no bus pass, no identification.

“At 12 years old, I was living at rock bottom. I felt like there was no way out of this situation.

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“That’s what childhood felt like. It felt sleepless, it felt restless.”

The same day his mum had left, Daniel found himself in the foster care system.

But his new foster mum Faye Brim provided a lifeline that kickstarted the next chapter in his life.

He met Faye in 2005 and he stayed with her in Compton, California, for six years.

After attending school regularly, Daniel eventually earned a spot at Iowa State University and joined the college sports team.

He then moved back to the UK to play for the Bristol Flyers and the rest was history.

While some may feel embarrassment at sharing such a story, Daniel feels no shame.

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The basketball star is proud of where he has come from and what he has achieved.

After leaving the Bristol Flyers two years ago, Daniel has now focused on trying to help others.

Armed with a Master’s degree in psychology, he speaks to young people, using the sport and his own experience to help kids in a similar situation.

Daniel’s organisation – the House of Elite Basketball – aims to provide a safe space for anyone who wants to play and learn the kind of life skills and experience it takes to be an athlete on and off the court.

His mission also includes giving the kids of Bristol the kind of elite-level training they couldn’t dream of in their local park.

Daniel competing in the Commonwealth Games in 2018
Daniel Edozie playing for the Iowa State Cyclones

Source: The Sun

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