It all started on the kickball field. Michael Neel was just 6 years old when he officiated his first game on the grade school playground. Seventeen years later, sitting clad in NBA gear and booking flights around the U.S., it’s safe to say he’s expanded his services. “I knew very early that I was a white kid from Kentucky who couldn’t shoot,” Neel said, “but I always knew I wanted to be around sports.” Growing up he’s done just that, as he’s officiated an estimated 2,000 games over the past 10 years, becoming the youngest person to officiate both varsity high school basketball as well as collegiate football in Kentucky. “It’s been an amazing ride. I’m very lucky,” he said.