Ricky Ross was born on May 3, 1960 in Troup, Texas. As a young child he moved to South-Central Los Angeles, California, with his mother. Originally interested in tennis, he pursued a scholarship while attending high school. His coach, Bob Strohosky, who also went into drug trafficking in his following days, would later find out he was illiterate and remove him from the school. Ross then attended Los Angeles Trade Technical College and again pursued tennis, reaching the 3rd spot on the team. To make money, he turned to selling drugs to pay for tennis lessons. However, an arrest led Ross to quit school.
 Cocaine introduction
It was through Jericho Deerr, a college friend, that Ross was introduced to cocaine. Through Deerr, Ross found a connection to purchase cheap Nicaraguan cocaine: two Nicaraguan exiles, Oscar Danilo Blandon and Norwin Meneses Cantarero. Ross began distributing the cocaine around US$10,000 less per kilo than the average street price, his point of distribution being the Bloods and Crips street gangs. Eventually, Ross purchased his cocaine directly from Blandón and Meneses. By 1982, Ross had received his moniker of "Freeway Ricky,"