“I can’t imagine being anywhere else.”
This coming from a man who has been in a lot of other places.
Before arriving in Sacramento as part of Kings Guard Gaming, Zakyy610 was better known as Zachary Saruba, and his days were spent at sea instead of on the sticks.
Throughout a nine-month deployment with the Navy, Saruba traveled to Greece, France, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain – all a far cry from his hometown of Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Zachary was adopted and raised by his grandparents when he was just two-years-old. Though Saruba says he doesn’t often talk to his parents, he touts his grandparents as “by far the biggest influences in his life.”
“Any time I needed something they made sure I had it,” said the 25-year-old. “They’ve tried to give me every opportunity in life to succeed and I hopefully can give them everything in return.”
High school was a turbulent time for Saruba where he admittedly got himself into some trouble. This led to him being put on probation and ultimately enlisting in the Navy to decrease his probationary period.
Though he’s always loved playing video games, being in the military meant his controllers were collecting dust.
“When I was in the Navy, I didn’t have time to do anything really,” he said.
During the time he was stationed in Virginia, Zakyy didn’t even own a gaming console. Once he finished his service, that changed immediately.
Saruba got back into gaming starting with picking up a copy of NBA 2K18. With how the 2K community has expanded in recent years (especially with the establishment of the 2K League), he knew it would be an uphill battle to establish himself and stand out.
“I wasn’t in the community for as long as some people were,” said Zachary. “Colt’s been in the community for 4 or 5 years and so has Bp. I just started playing last year, getting my name out there, and now this year I got more into it.”
Zakyy’s efforts would eventually come to fruition this past April when he heard his name called by Kings Guard with the 55th overall pick.
— Kings Guard (@KingsGuardGG) March 6, 2019
“Getting drafted was just reassurance that what I did [leaving the Navy] was the right thing,” said Zakyy. “I was getting nervous throughout the draft but everything happens for a reason and I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.”
Joining KGG, Zakyy has already started to make his presence felt in the League. He has started every contest for Sacramento this season and is averaging 7.7 points while shooting an efficient 69.2 percent from the field.
The Pennsylvania native’s biggest moment of his 2K League career thus far was during THE TURN Tournament, where he knocked down a dagger three-pointer to secure a first-round victory for his squad.
— Kings Guard (@KingsGuardGG) May 11, 2019
Saruba’s unique background before turning pro has also come in handy for stepping up as a leader.
“The Navy set me up to get along with people I normally wouldn’t talk to or work with,” he said. “It just makes it a lot easier due to that experience.”
Once his rookie season wraps up, Zakyy will re-shift his focus back to his pursuits of becoming a pilot. He is currently enrolled in classes working towards his degree in aviation science and will look to log hours towards his license.
In addition to his career ambitions, Saruba and his girlfriend recently announced that she is pregnant with a daughter on the way this September.
It’s a Girl 💕 pic.twitter.com/aFnOGUJQqX
— Zakyy 610 x AL (@zakyychan) April 21, 2019
“I have a son already and I’m excited to have a daughter now, too. It worked out perfectly with the season ending in August.”
The 25-year-old may have his eyes on the skies for his future, but his head is not in the clouds. He is focused on delivering on the sticks for Kings Guard this season with gold in his sights.
“We are looking for a championship. If we all do our job there is no reason we can’t accomplish what we know we can.”