Josef is a professional handball/wallball player from New York. When he found handball, he immediately fell in love and the rest is history. Thus far, Josef has come 1st at the World Championships, 1st five times at the Open 4 Wall Championships, 3rd in the 3 Wall X Games, 3rd at the World Championships, 3rd at the London Opens, and he’s managed plenty of other podium finishes along the way. His exploits have made him a force out on the court and earned him a place among the best in the world. He also loves the fact that this sport has so much potential to grow and wants to play a role in bringing it to the masses. Aside from handball, he’s heavily involved with the Inner City Handball Association, which teaches the sport to kids, funds programs, provides schools with merchandise and equipment, and hosts events to get the community involved in handball.
We had a chat with Josef to get to know him a little better.
What is your biggest sporting accomplishment?
For my sport every 3 years we have the Worlds. It’s basically our version of the Olympics. My first time ever competing in the Worlds I got a gold and bronze medal for Team USA! I was so proud of this moment.
What do you hope to still achieve?
I hope to achieve one of the biggest goals my sport seems to face and that is recognition as an extreme sport. I would love to achieve airtime for big events and reach the Olympics one day so the kids who play this sport all over the world have something to look forward to for their future.
Do you have any words of advice to aspiring athletes?
I realized I hit a wall with my career. A lot of athletes think “I need to practice more, I need to play more,” but that isn’t the answer. I found that having proper nutrition, and really taking time out to recover and heal is also a huge part of becoming a successful athlete. I say to work just as hard on recovery and healing as you do competing, training, and playing.
If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would you want to meet and why?
I’d love to meet Rocky. I loved his movies growing up, and most importantly my dad and him were friends when they were younger living in the Bronx over 20 years ago. Back then they were all very poor, but I have pictures of them eating together in my dad’s old apartment. They were good friends and lost connection because there were no phones back then, or even if there was they were so poor they couldn’t afford the luxury of keeping in touch. They lost contact and I would love to rekindle that long lost friendship.
Do you remember the moment you realized you were talented and going to make it?
I knew as soon as I scored my first goal in soccer, my first home run in baseball, my first strike in bowling, that I had the ability to take my athleticism and go far with whatever I chose to expel that gift on. I’m blessed.