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DAY 17 of my 21 day writing challenge

I got my Heritage DNA test results yesterday and I’m 0% Wakandan.

Call it coincidence that the day I go see Black Panther, I also find out what African country my ancestors “may” have hailed from.

My friend Rick, thoughtfully gifted me for Christmas this opportunity to discover my heritage. I had recently watched a video questioning the accuracy of these types of DNA tests so as I went through the process of swabbing my cheek I was and still remain skeptical.

By skeptical, I mean that the information is only as good as the company’s database and also I believe these companies have a broader mission than just helping you find out what region of the world you’re from. Databases of tens of millions of people’s DNA from around the world can be used for all sorts of profitable endeavors both beneficial to society and nefarious.

These tests are gaining in popularity, partly because the technology has no doubt increased the accuracy and also because they are marketed fairly aggressively. I think most people are interested in knowing more about their ancestry and if all I have to do is swab my cheek and mail it in, sign me up.

Some of these companies provide additional resources to help identify potential family members. Combined with sources like census data, the information one gets access to through these company can help build a fuller family tree.

When I think about the USA Dunk Community and our origins, I find myself wanting to know more about the dunk heritage of freesTYle dunkers around the country. The great thing is the USA Dunk Family has been in existence just under 40 years and we don’t need to spit in a cup to find out who our dunk forefathers are.

I think a chart of all the dunkers that are “descendants” of Ty Cobb would be quite impressive. I have an idea of my dunk descendants because of SLAM, the coed, multigenerational team we assembled back in 2014, but I really am not aware of it’s full scope and breadth. I don’t know who or how many dunkers Justin Bailey has trained or Sterling Jones and Aidan Al Scott Charlery.

Just think about the fantastic forest that we inhabit as the trees of America’s dunk families continue to grow branches, sprout leaves and seed the fertile ground for an amazing future.

If you’d like to be a part of charting America’s dunk DNA or if you’d like to witness this project unfold, go to and enlist in the United States FreesTYle Dunk Federation and let’s build our legacy together.

I remain grateful.


If you are interested in my personal Heritage DNA results, they are posted until February 24, 2018 at - click the DNA tab. If you are a freesTYle dunker, please ENLIST in the USFDF while you’re there.

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