LEXINGTON PARK, Md. – Everyone has dreams, and some realize them sooner than others. But most people will encounter struggles in the pursuit of success.

One local teen has been through so many obstacles, that one might think he would have given up by now. But his dream is still alive and is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Malachi Claude is a 19-year-old from St. Mary’s County. He graduated last year from Great Mills High School and is now pursuing his dream of becoming a professional basketball player.

But Malachi’s road to glory has not been an easy one.

The COVID-19 pandemic struck the lives of millions of people, causing the loss of loved ones. Unfortunately, not much was different for Malachi, who lost his mother due to COVID in February of this year.

Within that same month, he lost four of his cousins as well.

Hard times like these are nothing new to Malachi. He and his family grew up poor, going without food some nights. 

His mother was also a single parent, fighting to keep the lights on. She was also diagnosed with diabetes, which meant more often than not, Malachi had to help take care of her.

While just in middle school, Malachi had a lot of stress and responsibility on his shoulders. His favorite way to relieve all of that was by playing basketball.

Starting in the 8th grade, Malachi dreamed about one day playing in the NBA to help take care of his mom. Basketball became a massive part of his life and the one thing that helped him escape from reality.

In his junior year, Malachi hit yet another roadblock. However, this time, it could’ve ended the dream forever.

During a game, Malachi had a heart attack that caused him to have a pacemaker planted on his heart. Doctors told him that he might never play basketball again.

But that did not stop Malachi.

For months he worked to be able to get back on the court, just for the global pandemic to pull the rug out from under him.

Through all this adversity, piled on with the fact that the last two years of his basketball career were stripped away from him, Malachi was able to persevere and has found himself an opportunity with a professional basketball team in the Dominican Republic.

The 94 Elite is a professional basketball team that helps young players gain recognition and hopefully, one day, get scouted by an NBA team.

Malachi took years of video and was sending it out to multiple pro teams. The 94 Elite were the only ones that offered him a chance.

Now, Malachi lives with a family friend and works part-time at a restaurant. He’s saved up some money to get to the Dominican Republic, but it’s still not enough.

His goal is to reach around $2,000, which will hopefully help him during his first month there.

After everything he’s been through, Malachi is nothing but thankful for this opportunity.

“Being able to have this type of opportunity, playing in the Dominican Republic is truly a blessing,” Malachi told TheBayNet.com. “I’ve always been a strong believer in God, he’s definitely helped me get to the place that I’m in now. So, I just want to thank God and thank my family for being able to help me get into the position that I’m in now.”

If you would like to donate to Malachi and help him reach his goal, he is accepting donations through Cash App. His Cash App tag is $kaiclaude.

Contact our news desk at news@thebaynet.com 

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