Different. That was always the tag associated with Nkechinyelu Peter Ezugwu. Different for his long strange name; different because he was the only tall, lanky black kid in his traditional English private school; different because he protected other children from bullies; different because, as big as he was, he would cry at the littlest of mishaps or disagreements; different to his Nigerian family because writing and eating with his left hand was aggressively frowned upon (it was imperative that he learn to use his right hand); and the list goes on.
Ink, Inky, Peter, Big P, Eze, or however you choose to tag him, is unique. Known as the “renaissance man” to many, he has evolved into quite an advocate for change. A fluent speaker of English, Italian, Spanish, and French, this well traveled, former European pro basketball player no longer plays ball but is taking a whole new path, as he pushes the envelope and seeks to redefine, reinvent and re-establish his image far away from the shadow of “former pro basketball player.”
To understand his journey, it is essential to point out that Peter was born in England, raised in a small town called Baschurch, son to Dr. Fidelis Ezugwu and Anna Ezugwu. Discipline was the name of the game at the Ezugwu household. Raised to uphold an expected standard of high grades, toughness, manners, and stewardship, Peter, while excelling in the classroom, struggled to define himself. At age eight, he was sent to private school, and this was the beginning of his journey to strength, independence and, ultimately, self-definition. Living away from home at such a young age forced Peter to have to fend for himself, develop his character, and give himself an identity.
Let’s fast-forward to today, to this mountain of a man, seasoned by experiences that many of us could only dream of having. Peter has lived on three different continents; traveled to over 40 different countries; rubbed elbows with aristocrats, royalty, and cultural icons; played professional basketball in Italy, Spain, Argentina, Bosnia, and France; and lived a life that is easy to envy. Yet when asked the question what defines him, his response is simple: “I believe that I was put here to help others. I have always been uncomfortable with the attention I have received because of one ridiculously inflated reality—because I played pro basketball.” Peter continues, “I recognize that basketball has been the gateway into my current profession; however, I do not believe that basketball defines me.”
Upon first meeting Peter, it was obvious that he was a man who respected everyone, was not too busy to share pleasantries, and seemed to have time to attend to everyone in his vicinity.
Peter talked about a childhood that presented powerful male role models in his life, role models that ultimately molded who he is today. While he talked about his passion for helping the youth of today, his eyes shined, but there was an air of nervousness and urgency about him that suggested his mission was deeper than it might appear. It was clear that he believed he was put on this earth to change the world and that he will not allow any amount of negativity stop him in his tracks. He is living his destiny.
Future Stars Global Foundation and Future Stars International Enterprises are both the creative brainchildren of Peter Ezugwu, who is carving out quite a dent in the world of philanthropy, youth sports, mentoring, and community service. For those who know Peter, this path is not surprising and seems to have him working at a frantic pace, as he fights to change the lives of as many children as possible. Since retiring from pro ball, Peter has worked tirelessly to establish a name for himself and his foundation.
Future Stars works with private schools, charter schools, and municipalities and has their own private academies accommodating all sports. They see sports as a platform to deliver life lessons that will ultimately change the perspective of every participant and enhance the sporting experiences of every child. The foundation was created with multiple purposes: to provide high-level athletic and educational programs and to empower ALL children in the community to take a stand against bullying, violence, and abuse. The foundation does all this while incorporating autistic and disabled children into the regular programs and creating a progressive dynamic of acceptance, tolerance, and growth. Peter has turned a simple concept into a unique blend of sports leagues, academies, camps, leadership programs, life-skills seminars, and much more.
Peter is redefining what it means to be a former pro athlete and silencing any naysayers who may think that basketball players only care about playing ball. Peter is clearly changing our world, one child at a time.
You can view some of Peter’s activities at www.fsgf.org or www.fsiellc.com or www.fsiecamps.com.