Interview Time: A Peek into the Life of a Professional Basketball Player, Educator, Trainer, and Fitness Expert with an ENTREPRENEURIAL streak!
Ashton Khan Unlimited!
Meet Ashton Khan
Professional Basketball Player, Educator, Trainer, Fitness Expert
As an educator, my philosophy on teaching and coaching is to offer students the opportunity to express themselves through sports. I want all my students to have an experience with sports that will transfer into lifelong learning practice throughout their entire lives. While playing professional basketball in the U.K., I was also pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Sports Coaching. While teaching in an international community, my daily lessons were composed of fitness education, social and cooperative skill training, and promotion of general physical activity. As a teacher, I strongly believe that extracurricular activities are essential to the development of a “whole student.” Basketball has been a blessing to my life and it is my duty to give those same opportunities to the next generation.
From Toronto, Canada, to the World!
Date of Interview: 4/24/2020
Hi Ashton! Thank you very much for joining us today for this interview. What an exciting opportunity to be able to get to know the inner workings of somebody who not only plays basketball professionally, but also teaches basketball and personal fitness skills to others and has an entrepreneurial streak in him as well! Why fit in when you were born to stand out, right?! (To quote Dr. Seuss). From playing pro ball, to teaching P.E., to starting your own basketball training partnership venture, I know we are going to learn a lot from our time with you today, and probably only just merely scratch the surface of things! Without further ado, let’s go ahead and jump right into things here, Ashton. Would you please go ahead and tell our readers a little bit about your background? Where did the Ashton Khan we have with us here today get his start? You know, this is where you tell us “The Making of Ashton Khan – the Man, the Myth, the Legend” part of the story!
Hi there Andreas and Biz Opp Empire readers. My name is Ashton Khan, and I am a Canadian-born dual-citizen Canadian/British professional basketball player. At this current point in my career, I have played for teams in both Asia and Europe over the course of the past 5 years and have also been involved in coaching and teaching – to one degree or another – throughout much of that time frame as well. I have played pro ball games in France, Portugal, England, Canada, and China. I am a member of the senior Men’s England National Team 2018 as well as a member of the National of Team Canada U19. In the U.K., I was the captain of the Worcester Wolves and Cheshire Phoenix, two British Basketball League (BBL)* teams. During this time, I built a large following and fan base in the U.K. Furthermore, on the other side of the ocean, I was a 2010 prep school national champion at the best prep school in America called Brewster Academy.
Wow, that’s quite the CV you’ve got there, Ashton! Now, you mention your real passion lies in teaching, and I know that in addition to playing professional basketball you are also a P.E. Teacher and Certified Sports Coach. Tell us more about this side of the story, will you, please?
Why certainly! I am a professional basketball player and also a sports teacher – I do both. I have a Post Graduate Certificate in Sports Coaching. During my time in the U.K. playing with the BBL, I decided to also attend the University in the city I was living in. I was thus able to obtain my Sports Coaching Certificate. I thought it would be a good idea to gain more education to help my career after basketball.
Awesome indeed! Both living in the moment and maintaining a long-term vision for the future at the same time! And now you are teaching P.E. as a Foreign P.E. Teacher at a K-12 school in Eastern China while also playing professional basketball in China as well, right? Additionally, on top of both of those things, you have also gone out on your own and started your own Basketball Training Program for Young Athletes – like a “Basketball Camp” or an “After School Basketball Training Clinic” kind of idea – for school-aged children here in China as well. Tell us all about this, please. Where to even start? Let’s talk about what brought you out to China in the first place and you playing professional basketball in China……
Yes, you said it all correctly. I got a unique opportunity from one of my Chinese friends in America. She introduced me to the headmaster of an international school in China who was also the CEO of a sports company. I was able to join both, and that’s how I was able to play basketball professionally in China while also teaching. Eventually I had garnered a decent following in Bozhou City and together the headmaster and I decided to start a basketball program, which was very successful. This is how everything came about, things just all started to fall into place and I fell in love with Chinese culture.
Isn’t it great when that happens?! Things falling nicely into place, I mean. So, you were already playing pro ball and teaching at a K-12 school in China – a busy schedule in and of itself, I am sure! What was it that really pushed and inspired you in the end to “pull the trigger,” if you will, and go that extra mile to actually create and launch your own basketball program?
I started to notice such a hunger and passion for basketball from the students at my school. I was already running a basketball class at the school. The locals around the city all seemed to love basketball and many young children would attend my basketball games. I felt there was a strong void in the city for basketball, especially from a foreigner; so with this it sparked the idea to start a basketball program for the kids so they could enjoy a new experience and develop new skills in life. I am all about giving kids new life experiences because as a young kid I never even expected I would leave Canada, and now, here I am, travelling around the world! I feel it is my duty to impact the youth around the world in whatever positive way I can.
Right on! What about the actual launch? How did you find a facility and get students to sign up?
Thankfully I had help from others in the city to help promote the basketball program. I was also going around to various schools myself and promoting the program. We also created professional flyers to hand out. As for a facility, we were able to access to the same facility our professional team played in, which made things very convenient.
And I take it the program was well received in the community and took off well?
Yes, indeed; very well! Before COVID-19 struck, the camp was growing rapidly, and I was even also able to bring in some more foreigner teachers to help coach. This really attracted students and parents to want to sign up. As a part of the program, we enter our students in basketball tournaments around the city, and this in and of itself creates a nice platform to recruit more students, as there are always many students at these tournaments. All lesson plans are created by me and with my professional experience parents are able to see that the program is well run and kept. We have a very professional look and feel to the whole thing – that was always the main goal and vision from the beginning. My business partner and I thought: if we do this, we are not going to do it haphazardly – we are going to make it sleek and presentable, polished and rounded out around all the edges from the very beginning. Because of this strong professional foundation, word got around pretty quickly and more and more students continued to want to join.
I know the COVID-19 Pandemic has affected things greatly for all of us, as I am sure it has for your basketball training program as well. Would you be open to talking about this a little?
Yes, the pandemic has definitely affected all of us around the world. It has put a stop to everything at the moment. I am just playing the waiting game now and patiently waiting for things to improve so I can slowly start things back up. It has definitely created a bit of uncertainty, but has also given me time to plan for the future.
I feel the same way, Ashton. For as much uncertainty as we are all feeling in our lives right now around the globe, it is kind of nice in some regards to be able to step back – be FORCED to step back, more correctly – and revaluate things. “Reboot our systems,” if you will; although I certainly wish it didn’t have to occur under these particular circumstances of a deadly worldwide viral pandemic where many are fighting for their lives. Speaking of rebooting and reflecting. What kinds of people are you looking to network with?
I am willing to network with anyone as long as it makes sense. I love to help people and everyone needs help with something at some point. Networking is essentially creating and fostering relationships – and I love building relationships all around the world.
If someone were to ask you: “Ashton, what aspect of being a P.E. Teacher-Entrepreneur is the most challenging for you?” what would you say?
Being a P.E. Teacher in China had its challenges with the language barrier in the beginning, but I started to take Mandarin lessons. Now that I can understand more Chinese, I feel a lot more comfortable.
I would say follow your passion and strive to be the best version of yourself. Do not compare yourself with others, just try and be a better “you” every day. Be open to new adventures, to new cultures, and to new experiences. Let me share a quote that I live by: “You have to do something you’ve never done, to get somewhere you’ve never gone.”
Thanks a lot for taking the time to open up to us today and giving us a chance to get to know you a little bit better, Ashton.
Definitely, Andreas – my pleasure! Thank you for having me with you today.
As we wrap things up here today, how can people interested in learning more about you and your endeavors contact you?
People can follow me on Instagram @AshtonKhan15 or on Facebook @AshtonKhan.
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Ashton Khan from Toronto, Canada; professional basketball player, educator, trainer, and fitness expert! And remember, you read about it all on Biz Opp Empire – promoting ideas, inspiration, and opportunity within the realm of small business, freelance, and entrepreneurship!
Owner and Operator of Biz Opp Empire, a website by Andreas Philip Gross Enterprises
International K-12 Educator,