Kai King (182-G-85) is a 35 year old 182cm guard who is still playing professional ball. He last played in Mexico. He also played in countries like Eqatorial Guinea, Kosovo and in Germany. In Germany he played Art Duesseldorf, Marler BC, and FC Schalke. He also sampled experience in the ABA early in his career. Before turning professional he played at Cal State Fullerton. But it isn’t only basketball that he is involved with, but also many other area’s. Especially during COVID, he was able to tackle other areas in life. He is still playing ball in local leagues at home, but most of his time is spent helping the community. germanhoops.com spoke to him about life.
Kai what made you turn to activism? Was this a passion that you always had?
Seeing what happened to George Floyd, seeing what happened to Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. Seeing people that look like me killed. I had to use my voice and use my energy to try and make a difference to try and make a change.
Have you experienced racism overseas while playing and if so where and was it like the issues you’ve faced in America?
I haven’t faced racism overseas, I feel quite safe overseas as opposed to being stateside. Overseas the police don’t have guns, people are a bit nicer and more polite. In America I have faced issues at protests and also being racially profiled. You just do the best you can and hope that eventually things will get better.
Through your activism, is there something you would also like to do overseas? Is there a message you want to share with your friends that you’ve played basketball with abroad?
It would be a privilege and a honor. I would love to take the work we’ve done with Stronger Together now abroad. I would love to talk about gender equality. About how you can better the lives of others simply by listening. Basketball is a safe haven, overseas is as well. It would be nice to share with people overseas how were treated. And maybe find ways that we can educate others and create real change.
How has life been without basketball due to covid? Will you play again if an opportunity presents itself and will you take that same message of Black Lives Matter overseas?
Life without basketball has just put things in perspective. Though I love the game, it isn’t forever. I’ve created a non profit organizationwith my co founder Janelle Guerrero. And we’re trying our very best to be a part of the change that we hope to see. I’m spending more time with my family and just trying to find other avenues outside of sports. An if I am allowed to play ball overseas I would love to. And I would definitely share the message of Black Lives Matter with my teammates and the league. It’s important to create solidarity, and important to make sure people understand the inequality in our society.
What types of services does your organization offer?
We have a kids sports bubble. I got the idea from the NBA and other pro sports. We use covid tests weekly and we administer them to kids. And with a negative test we’re able to create a safe and covid free playing environment for the kids. We do this because we think it’s very important. Especially in the developmental years of children to play and interact with other kids. We do things to empower women in the community. To help feed and clothe the homeless. We do backpack give aways, we donate money to other partners that we work with. We try to have our hands in lots of things we find passion in.
How do you see your experience in basketball helping your non profit?
I have been to many different countries Germany being one of them. Spain, England, Ireland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway. Among others, and during my time there, I’ve seen the differences that exist and it’s very unique. No these places aren’t perfect, but just seeing how the lives of others are different in other countries. Mostly through social programs has helped me want to bring these amenities to the states. In other countries people are treated differently. They are looked at differently, the police aren’t armed. And through that a calm and peace is in the hearts and minds of people. My experience abroad will help me better serve my non profit and my community because I know that it’s possible to treat others better. To lend a helping hand, and operate without violence. I’ve seen that first hand abroad.
How do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as a good player but a better person. I know my efforts on the court are important. But I want to be recognized for my efforts off the court even more so. I am a team player, a point guard. And without my teammates on the court I can’t do anything. I learned that by making those around you look good through assists. You can go a very long way, putting those around you first will be instrumental in going forward. I want to be known as a great player but a even better person. That’s my goal and what I want as my legacy.
Thanks Kai for the chat.