Kenyan Ivy Awino aka Poizon Ivy recently got appointed as the official resident DJ of NBA team ‘The Dallas Mavericks’. The team is owned by Shark Tank billionaire Mark Cuban.
Ivy was also the first female DJ to spin at the NBA All Stars Game.
Ivy moved to the US in 1999 when she was 9 years old.
Her love for basketball began at an early age.
While she was a kid in Nairobi, she loved watching tapes of the Chicago Bulls. She told Complex:
“I swear to goodness I thought the NBA was the Chicago Bulls. We would watch them over and over, to the point where—you know how if you watch a tape over and over it would skip?—that’s my early memory of loving ball.”
After she moved to Dallas, Texas, she learned that not only was basketball bigger than the Bulls, but there was a team right in her backyard. At 12, she saw a commercial for a basketball camp where the team picked its ball kids, and Ivy knew if she could get herself to that camp, she’d make it in—even though the cutoff age was 13.
That’s when Ivy learned something else that would carry her through her career: “I was like six months out of being 13, so I just asked and applied anyway. So my lesson to everybody out there is: Rules are meant to be bent and sometimes broken.”
Ivy was a ball kid for the Mavericks from ages 12 to 18, looking up to larger-than-life figures like Steve Nash and Mark Cuban. After she graduated from Marquette, alongside classmates including Jimmy Butler, Wesley Matthews, and Jae Crowder, it was those contacts she cultivated as a youngster that helped her land her current position.
So for Ivy, game day is a full circle moment in the best of ways. “I don’t like calling people my ‘boss,’ but I’m OK saying I work for Mark Cuban,” she says, calling the team owner and self-made billionaire her hero.