Ali Nizam

Ali Nizam

Co-Founder of CORE Basketball Development

Ali immigrated to Toronto alone in 1993 when he was 10 years old and met his parents for the very first time when he arrived. Unfortunately, growing up in a new country with parents that you are meeting for the first time was not the only hurdle Ali faced during his childhood. Ali's father was abusive. There were constantly issues at home between his parents and an incident even escalated to the point where the police were involved. His father slowly drifted out of his life and he eventually moved into a single room with his mother. Growing up it was hard for him to spend time at home so Ali would spend most of his time doing school work at a local Tim Hortons or with friends. Unable to catch a break, Ali received devastating news that his mother had just lost her job. This was a very difficult time and Ali often turned to his outlet which was playing basketball. Ali found a love for the game and he could be found playing basketball wherever there was an open gym. One day Ali returned home from the gym to find nobody was home. He waited for days hoping that his mother would return but she did not... Ali was only 16 years old and left to figure things out on his own. 

Ali refused to let his circumstances determine his future. He worked 2 to 3 jobs at times to help support himself while living in shelters. With the support of some very caring adults and mentors, he moved on to graduate from high school and began working for the City of Toronto Parks and Recreation Program. Today Ali has started his own Not-for-Profit Organization called CORE Basketball Development. The organization aims to use basketball to help Youth that share Ali's story of a rough childhood. He is determined to change the narrative for all Youth that enjoy basketball and not just the Elite athletes who are heavily recruited. His aim is to focus on developing the Youth both on and off the court.

Ali has been called upon to organize and run numerous basketball camps in the city including the Jr. NBA Basketball camps and is well known in the Toronto basketball community for his high skill level, hard work and passion for the game. He had the opportunity to pursue a professional basketball career in the Philippines which he turned down to continue to work and build his training and development program in Toronto.

Some advice that Ali always shares with the Youth is to always stay focused and "put the work in". Never make excuses for yourself because at the end of the day nobody cares. Everyone has the power to change their future and the best way to make change is to start today, ask for help or even better find a mentor.

Ali loves giving back and is a walking testament of what he preaches. Making the best of every situation that he has been faced with in his life. He loves to travel and discover the beauty that the world has to offer. 

Words of Wisdom:

"Stay hungry in life. Don't be afraid to take risks, be uncomfortable and fail. As they say, through failure we succeed." - Ali Nazim

Ask me a question