Vulture’s anonymous sources in the illicit world of house music have kept us abreast of the burgeoning D.J. career of Rony Seikaly — the six-foot-eleven Lebanese-American who played for over a decade in the NBA, retiring in 1999 — for the last few years now. But this week the New York Times went ahead and blew the story wide open, detailing Seikaly’s rise into internationally renowned party starter status. So how does a fundamentally sound professional basketball player become an in-demand club D.J.?
After retiring, Seikaly invested in several Miami clubs, where house music is king. He was moved to D.J. himself, though, after throwing a bunch of parties too awesome to be contained by his mansion’s “disco”:
“On countless nights, he and close friends would retreat to his mansion’s ‘playroom’ — a high-tech incarnation of the home disco he built as a child. The room feels like a mellow garage-size lounge, with dim lighting and a mirrored Buddha high on a shelf. The dark walls are lined with low couches. What looks like a bar holds CD players and a mixer, not drinks. The room is equipped with a hard-to-spot, club-level sound system. Friends always wanted to bring more friends. Finally, in 2008, Seikaly agreed to D.J. for an expanded audience at Mokai. “It turned out to be an amazing night,” Seikaly said. Now he keeps a steady schedule at clubs around the world.”
That’s how you do that, current NBA big men! And here’s how we know Seikaly is a truly dedicated practitioner of the D.J. arts, and not some rich fly-by-night dude trying to hang with the cool kids. Just listen to how passionately he describes his craft:
“The most important thing is to capture that moment where all of a sudden everybody is in a great mood, everybody starts dancing, and all of a sudden you feel it click between you and the crowd … And as soon as that click happens, it’s not something that anybody else can feel except that person playing the music. As soon as you feel that connection to the crowd, then you know you’ve got them. And then you can take them on any journey you want.”
Are you paying attention, Dwight Howard?