Every Ohio University student grows to love the small town of Athens, Ohio. The beautiful scenery and sense of community are the perfect setting for a love story. While students can only hope for a perfect ending to their collegiate romance novel, not everyone is as lucky as Jason Preston and Micaylah Nash.
Jason Preston, an NBA player for the Los Angeles Clippers and Micaylah Nash, a junior strategist for United Talent Agency, first met in the winter of their freshman year at the West 82 Food Court. Their romance began in Athens during the summer of 2020. Preston was training for basketball, while Nash was working as a virtual tour guide.
"We would do outdoor dates, like picnics like a COVID couple, and he asked me to be his girlfriend on College Green," said Nash.
Preston and Nash believe their time spent together at OU contributed to the success of their long-term relationship.
"It's such a close knit campus," said Nash.
Nash recalled the first time she met him, she was so nervous purchasing her West 82 quesadilla that she forgot salsa, but they quickly saw each other frequently.
"We were both in the business school, so we'd always see each other around," said Preston.
Some of Preston’s biggest decisions were made in Athens with Nash right by his side. During his junior year, Preston had to choose to either stay at OU or follow his dreams as a professional basketball player.
“He left for the NBA following the March Madness tournament, going into senior year,” said Nash. “So, we did long distance for that whole year.”
As his dreams came to fruition in LA, Preston finished his degree virtually and Nash remained at OU. Despite living across the country from one another, the pair was still very much in love. Not even 2,000 miles and a three-hour time zone difference could break their bond.
“The long distance, it's obviously not easy for every relationship,” said Preston. “Communication is the number one important factor in maintaining and growing relationships.”
Nash said learning to communicate while Preston was busy with practice helped them when they lived in different places.
“I think it's really important, in especially college relationships, to be as compassionate and understanding as possible and know that everyone has totally different experiences,” said Nash.
After the couple graduated in 2022, Nash landed a job at United Talent Agency and moved to LA with Preston. Preston proposed to Nash in December 2022. The OU alumni announced their engagement through Instagram posts on Dec. 29. Bobcats everywhere gushed over the news.
As beautiful as the proposal was, Preston explained that behind the scenes, it was no easy feat. He had planned a dinner and proposal in Ohio, but because of winter weather and canceled flights, Preston was stuck in New York. After intense searching and persistence, Nash found Preston a plane ticket from Ohio to New York on Christmas Eve.
“Another obstacle was getting the ring to Ohio because it was originally set to go to New York,” said Preston. “(Jeff Boals, coach of the Ohio men’s basketball team) helped me out a lot because he was able to pick up the ring from a location and bring it to Micaylah’s family's house.”
After everything finally fell into place, Preston, Nash and her family gathered at Easton Town Center in Columbus, Ohio for the surprise proposal.
“It was in the snow at Easton in front of the Christmas tree and he had a hidden photographer that he was working with,” said Nash. “We went to the dinner spot … and then my whole family was there waiting for me. They were like, ‘Congrats!’”
Preston and Nash remain optimistic about their relationship and future together.
“He's just always been so supportive – biggest advocate, so understanding, so caring and selfless,” said Nash. “His superpower is really just how amazing he is and I just love him.”
Preston echoes the support for Nash.
“She does so much for me,” said Preston. “I’ve got a pretty up and down schedule, but you know, she’s just my rock.”
From College Green to LA, the pair feel they have found their other halves.
“We have a great balance in our relationship,” said Nash. “'I’m a little more talkative, outgoing. He's a little more reserved. I'm more emotional. He’s more logical. So we're just a good balance.”
With a wedding upcoming, Nash joked they were getting into their vows already as the two expressed their affection.
“She's a very happy and sunshine person,” said Preston. “I'm very glad we get to spend the rest of our lives together.”