Former Miami Heat star Rony Seikaly has found a second career doing what he loves: playing music.
Spanning over 678 games and 11 seasons, Rony Seikaly (right) averaged 14.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game (here playing against the Washington Bullets’ Ledell Eackles in Washington, DC, in 1990).
Since becoming the first-ever draft pick of the Miami Heat, in 1988, Rony Seikaly has been a fixture in Miami Beach as a DJ, a restaurant and club owner, and local. He spoke to Ocean Drive about his passion for music, his Miami Heat days, and the growth of his hometown.
From the day you were drafted by the Heat, you’ve been a big part of this city. When I got drafted to Miami, I was the happiest guy in the world. It was a dream come true. I came here when South Beach had one restaurant, called Scratch, and one club, Club Nu. That was it. I saw the transformation from nothing to what it is today. I feel so blessed to be part of that history and see this turnaround.
How did you get started as a DJ? It happened organically. I’ve had a DJ setup at my house since I was 14 years old. I was always playing music for my friends, and then one day (later in life), a couple of big DJs walked into the room and couldn’t believe that it was me playing the music and wanted me to share that sound. We tried it out at one of the clubs I owned here in Miami called Mokaï.
Did you know this would become a second career? At first I really didn’t want to do it, but I said let me just try it out and see where it goes. I didn’t want people to think this is just a basketball player trying to relive the glory days. I do music because I love the music.
At the clubs you play, do the kids even know you as a basketball player? Pretty much all the people who love my music are not basketball related. The people who go to clubs are 25 to 35, so they’re probably the kids of the people who knew me as a basketball player. I stay young by being around young people.
And now you’re playing all over the world? I’ve had so many amazing gigs—Ibiza, Lebanon, and many other cities around the world. Music is part of my life, just like for people who meditate, meditation is part of their life. I get the satisfaction of meditation and being transported.
What do you do when you’re home in Miami? I’ve lived in and been to a lot of beautiful places, but there is nothing that comes close to the lifestyle Miami offers. Living on the water and having the sea all around you is just a phenomenal thing. Being able to go to a friend’s house on a jet ski or your boat—where else can you do that? I play tennis almost every day. It’s phenomenal.