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Photo by LunahZon
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Photo by LunahZon
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Rockin' Reporter: with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Go behind the scenes with Jake and Maya at their interview with Charlotte Bobcats player Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Learn more about Kidd-Gilchrist and find out the best part about being a Rockin' Reporter for My School Rocks! Magazine.
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Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, 20, was raised in New Jersey, and won the NCAA Division I Basketball Championship in 2012 at the end of his freshman, and only, year at the University of Kentucky. That June, the Charlotte Bobcats drafted him second overall.
Now in his second year in the NBA, he remains the youngest player on the Bobcats team. Yet, the child-at-heart, standout player is remarkable for more than just his efforts on the court: He has overcome obstacles and tragedy.
When Kidd-Gilchrist, an only child, was almost 3 years old, his father passed away. Then, his beloved uncle and father figure, Darrin Kidd, died from a heart attack the day Kidd-Gilchrist signed his offer to play for Kentucky.
To become the star athlete he is today, Kidd-Gilchrist has also overcome a speech impediment and confidence issues. He unabashedly proclaims himself to be a momma’s boy, and gives credit for his success to his family.
It’s no mystery why Kidd-Gilchrist is a hero figure to kids and adults alike.
Responses have been edited for brevity.
Jake: What do you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
MKG: I’m kind of just like you guys. A bowl of cereal in the morning – I like Fruit Loops. For lunch, I like pasta. For dinner, it’s so late, and I don’t want to eat that late. I’ll have some fruit or something.
Jake: How did you get so tall?
MKG: My mom’s pretty tall, she’s like 5 feet, 10 inches. My dad was like 6 feet, 6 inches. So, I guess that’s how that happened. And, I eat my vegetables.
Maya: Do you have any advice for kids who are new on a team or who don’t feel like they are very good at the sport they play?
MKG: Always have faith in yourself, and work as hard as possible. I thought I sucked last year at some times, and that I didn’t belong. But, I just kept on working and just had fun. Whatever happens, happens. As long as you have fun, there’s not much more you can do about your situation.
Maya: What is it like working for Michael Jordan? Have you played him one-on-one?
MKG: I have, and I won this game of basketball! I don’t know what everyone’s talking about. I won. But it is an honor to meet him, to have conversation with him at times. We text here and there. I think it’s pretty cool.
Maya: What do you like to do in your free time?
MKG: I’m pretty much a little kid, like y’all. I sleep, eat candy. I have all my cousins around here, we play football sometimes. I like video games. I shop.
Maya: What type of music do you listen to, to get pumped for games?
MKG: I like R&B. I like Mary J. Blige a lot. I listen to her before games.
Jake: Last year was a tough year for the Bobcats. How did you deal with that?
MKG: After winning the championship, I was stressed out sometimes. So, I stressed out. But it’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s all coming along now, this season. I’m taking it game by game, having fun.
Jake: I read that you have a speech impediment that you have worked hard to overcome. What advice would you give to kids who have an obstacle to overcome?
MKG: Have faith in yourself, and just be yourself at all times. If somebody don’t like it, oh well. I mean, I have my family, and all my friends. So, I really don’t care what people think about me and how I talk.
Maya: Did anyone inspire you to play basketball, or was it something that just came naturally to you?
MKG: Yeah, all my cousins. I was the youngest one, so every weekend, all day, I used to play with them on the basketball court and get smacked around. I didn’t really like that. So, I worked harder and harder every day in order to not get smacked around.
Jake: What do I have to do to become as good a basketball player as you?
MKG: Just work hard. Don’t take days off. Love what you do, and I guess you’ll get to where I am.
Jodi: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us? Maybe something most people don’t know about you?
MKG: I like to draw. I don’t know how to paint, yet, but I’m getting there. And, I’m just a family guy and a momma’s boy.
Rockin' Reporters in Their Own Words:
"Getting to interview Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. He is very real and down to earth. I was nervous about meeting him, but once I started talking to him I realized that he is just an ordinary person with an extraordinary talent. I also play basketball, but I don’t feel like I’m very good at it. It was encouraging hearing him say that ”I should work hard and be myself." - Maya, fifth grade, Charlotte United Christian Academy
“I liked seeing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in person. I was surprised how calm and laid-back he was. I thought it was neat that he liked the Philadelphia 76ers like I do. It was cool that he took the time to talk to us and take pictures with us. My hobbies are playing sports, collecting baseball and football cards and playing on my Kindle." - Jake, fifth grade, Collinswood Language Academy