Christianity Malaysia Recently Managed to get an Interview with 4x Champion. Malaysia’s Best & Highest Requested Basketball Freestyle Artist Scalia Nethanial who also has been interviewed on mutliple tv channels. But for this interview we asked him about his faith.
Care to introduce yourself?
So I am Scalia Nethanial, I’m 23 years old, I am an artist (Freestyle Basketball) and I am also a social media executive.
How did you get into Freestyle Basketball?
In the beginning, it was just basketball, dancing and piano. That was my escape from things that were going on at that time. Shortly after I started going on YouTube/TV and I discovered the art of Freestyle Basketball. From there I played around with it, I saw a kid smile and I said I wanted to do this for real. I wanted to be for kids what no one was for me.
How long have you been Freestyling?
I started in 2008 in my front yard. So it’s now ten years since I have been doing this.
How did you start performing/competing?
In the beginning there was no competitions in my mind. I wasn’t thinking about competing or doing shows. I was just doing it. As I mention previously, it was a way for me to escape all the problems I was going through at home and at school. I wasn’t feeling accepted anywhere, and so I turned to freestyle basketball. Shortly after that I guess, some people saw what I was doing and I was I invited to perform for some small shows but it didn’t come easily. Although there were many freestylers in Malaysia, no one was doing it on a big stage or level. So freestyle basketball wasn’t really big in Malaysia. Maybe because Malaysia was a football country. So anything basketball or basketball related probably wasn’t promoted as much. There wasn’t any blueprint, or way for me to start because there was no one for me to look at, as no one was doing it on a high level at that time. There are loads of people doing it internationally though, so I wanted to carry that culture forward in Malaysia. So I told myself that I one day I won’t leave the scene (freestyle basketball) the same way it was when I first entered it. So I started to push myself, I started to really focus on being a performer.
From these ten years what have you accomplished?
So I’ve managed to perform in so many different places all around Malaysia and overseas (South East Asia) as well. I’ve met so many different fans from so many different countries. I’ve gotten recognition from other freestylers and street basketball players all over the world. I also am in the process managed to win four championships and be called Malaysia’s number one freestyler. But my biggest accomplishment for me is to simply be able to make a kid smile. When I was growing up, I didn’t really fit anywhere. I didn’t really have much I couldn’t relate to what people around me were doing. I didn’t smoke, I didn’t drink, I didn’t do drugs and I didn’t party so I wanted to inspire kids and show them that you don’t have to do all that to be happy in life.
How did you find God?
I grew up in a Christian family. My uncle is now a pastor as well. So I went to church a lot as a kid. At that time, I was going to church just to go. I didn’t know who God was though I knew He was Jesus. I am not exactly so sure of when I found God, but after going through so many trials and tribulations I realised that God has been there for me all along.
What church do you currently go to?
I currently attend His Sanctuary of Glory, Kuala Lumpur. Previously when I was growing up, I attended KL Baptist Church. But at that time I really wasn’t into Christianity. One day I met up with this guy, his name is Matthew Leong and he basically reintroduced God into my life again. And that is when I started attending church more regularly (HSG). Matthew Leong is the youth director at HSG, and this guy basically lifted me up when I was really lost. I feel that God place him in my life, and that was when I started to have more faith in God, knowing He is working in my life.
So I was fortunate enough to attend conferences and camps organise by HSG and through that I got so much closer to God than I ever was in my life. Shortly after I was going through some problems. So I decided to leave the church. And I attended Acts Church KL.
Now being in Acts is great and I learned a lot over there as well but eventually I knew I had to go back to my home church which was HSG. You can’t really hop churches. Because eventually whatever you run away from is going to catch up with you. And that is probably why I am back at HSG. Haha.
Any last words to our readers?
So when I was in camp this year there was a line that really hit me. It was said by our guest speaker pastor Julie.
“You cannot plan and go to God for approval, you have to go to God first for approval then only you can plan,”
So you really have trust God in whatever it is you want to do. And if it’s really your calling it’s going to happen. Thank you Christianity Malaysia for having me.
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