Spotlight on Miki Ljuboja / by Haley Smith

Meet Miki Ljuboja -- A Brown grad who is launching a basketball-centric podcast "3 The Hard Way" this fall.

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What were your ambitions when you were younger, and what are they now? How have they changed?

Growing up, my life revolved around the game of basketball. As long as my academic studies were in order, my family allowed me to dedicate all my free time to the game. When I wasn’t playing in my alley or watching the same VHS tape of Michael Jordan winning his sixth NBA championship, I was studying the stats of the previous night’s games. 

In retrospect, I originally set the bar quite low. All I wanted was to make my high school’s varsity team and have my family watching me from the stands. I ended up reaching the Division I level which was something I never thought I’d have achieved. The game has given me my best friends and taken me across the globe. Most importantly, it’s taught me to believe in myself. I didn’t have the highest self-esteem growing up, and as I accomplished more and more on the court, I grew increasingly confident in what I could accomplish off it. Whatever I decide to pursue in the future, I’ll know I can bet on myself to achieve anything.

Who has inspired you most on your entrepreneurial journey?

 Although my parents are not entrepreneurs in the traditional sense, they are two of the most inspiring problem-solvers I know. They left their families behind in a war-torn Yugoslavia in search of a better future in the United States. Through perseverance and an incessant work-ethic, they provided my sister and I with a stable life. Whenever the going gets tough, I know that they’ve been through tougher and to keep moving forward.

If you were to get a tattoo, what would it be and why?

I would get a tattoo of a mantra that stuck in my mom’s head as a little girl in the former Yugoslavia. It’d say ‘Ovo Je Zlato’ which translates to ‘This is Golden.’ She would always find herself saying it or writing it whenever she was going through a hard time, and it resonated with me right away. It represents my family, but it’s also a reminder to cherish life. Life is golden -- we’re all incredibly lucky to be here and it’s pretty easy to get caught up in negativity when things aren’t going our way.

Best trip: Helping to run basketball camps for kids in Iceland, Sweden, and Denmark. 

Personal Bible: Give and Take by Adam Grant

Words I live by: Ovo Je Zlato!