On a hot summer day in 2017, Cody, 17, walked into the office of Nike’s retail division.
“I don’t know what I was thinking,” he said.
“This is like the first time I was ever going to be wearing Nike.”
In an instant, Nike was an obsession for the young man, who, for the first two years of his life, wore the company’s signature sneakers and jackets.
It was a time of growth and transformation.
As a kid, Cody wore sneakers, the same way he would today, with a little help from his father, a retired Army veteran.
Cody, who had the nickname “Little Mac,” loved the company, but it was hard to see his passion and love for it as anything other than a job.
He had no clue what he wanted to do after high school.
“They just wanted to take my shoes,” Cody said.
He was always working, and Nike gave him a chance to pursue his passions.
His first job was working at a shoe repair shop, where he got to work with some of the most talented shoe repair workers in the world.
“We used to have about a dozen of them,” said Jason, Cody’s older brother, who has worked for Nike for three decades.
“And the whole time, it was a hobby for him, and he would sit at home and work.”
One day, while he was working on a pair of shoes, he realized that he could sell them.
“He was a kid at heart,” Jason said.
Jason recalled how his brother would spend his days playing video games, and they would play together.
When the brothers’ father, an Army veteran, died of lung cancer in 2015, Cody said he started playing a video game that was called “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.”
Cody, now 18, was hooked.
“That was the one thing that made me want to become a shoe company,” he told Next Big Futures.
Cody had always been a gamer, but he had never played an online game.
He played “Starcraft,” a fantasy-based game that he found entertaining.
“It was like a little fantasy game,” Cody recalled.
“When you play the game, you get to fly around the universe and fight your way through all of the different worlds.
You get to kill different aliens and get new powers.”
Cody loved the fantasy-inspired game so much, he bought the game and started playing it for himself.
He became obsessed with the game.
“My mom used to watch it,” he recalled.
Cody loved playing it, but at the same time, he was a little kid.
“As I got older, I was like, ‘Man, I’m just not a gamer anymore.
I don’t have a passion for video games,'” he said, recalling that his family struggled to find ways to make money.
Eventually, Cody started to shop for games on eBay.
In the summer of 2018, Cody found a game called “Halo Wars” for about $100, which was his first real payday.
But there were no real options available online.
So Cody bought “Starfox Adventures” for $30 on eBay for the next year.
“Star Fox Adventures” was a turn-based space-fighter game, and Cody loved that game so very much.
He bought “Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies” for a couple hundred dollars on eBay, too.
But he didn’t have any real savings.
Cody said his mother had to work very hard to support him, so he needed to save for a game that allowed him to save money and play it with his friends.
“She was like my best friend,” he explained.
“So I would be playing Star Fox Adventures with my friends, and then we would play Star Fox.”
Cody eventually made enough money to buy a Wii U, which he loved, but not much else.
“Even though I had a little bit of money, it wasn’t like I had enough to buy an entire console,” Cody explained.
Cody also struggled to make ends meet.
He said he had to quit his job as a security guard at a bank to work full-time.
“Now, I work for a bank,” he says.
“The bank is like my mom’s best friend.
She is the one who pays my rent, my bills, and all the bills.
She’s like, I will support you no matter what.”
Cody said that after he started working full-timber for a month at a construction site, he made $100.
Then, he got a job at a furniture store, where, he said later, he earned $150.
Cody would later work at a restaurant, but by the end of the year, he had enough money for his own car.
Cody bought a $300,000 house in suburban Columbus, Ohio.
“People were like, This is so crazy,” Cody told Next Black Future.