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A coffee with Kevin White

Think local


Kevin White is on a well-deserved day off, having beat the league's top team, the New Zealand Breakers, the night before (the Sydney Kings are currently placed fifth).

We are sitting at Three Beans in Manly - one of the basketballer's favourite breakfast spots. He's born and bred on the beaches, having grown up in Allambie Heights, and he attended Balgowlah Boys High School until he received a sports scholarship from Scots College in Year 10.

"I love the lifestyle here. If you're from here, you understand.

If you're not then you don't. People ask, 'Why don't you want to leave the peninsula?' Well, why would IT', he says. He makes a valid point.

As for how Mr White's career started, he explains, "In high school, I played basketball and rugby. My family is a big rugby league family. We all love the Sea Eagles - I go to Brookie Oval and watch them play as much as I can. Plus both of my grandfathers and my dad played rugby. However I had to make a choice to take one seriously and I did enjoy basketball a lot more.”

The local star clearly loves his sport, saying he regularly plays golf and tennis in his spare time.

"But I can't surf, which sucks. I'm going to have another lesson though and try again," he smiles.

Mr White has been with the Sydney Kings now for five years - with this season being the 27 year old's third contracted year. Prior to joining the Kings, he played for University of Alaska Anchorage.

"Basketball over in the USA is so much more intense than here.

The players and the fans are crazy, but the culture of the whole college community is great. In one of my first college games I played in a 12,000 seat arena and it was a full house - it was pretty intense," the basketballer recalls.

Having now played for many years in a lot of big stadiums, does the star still get nervous before a game? "I don't get nervous anymore running out onto the court - I enjoy it. I just like having heaps of fun," he says, with the enthusiasm of an energetic kid.

"This season we have a really, really close team. It's so great.

Everyone knows when to have a joke, and when to be serious.

And as we go into a game, you know the guys that you can joke around with. We can all read each other well."

Apart from basketball, something else that's important in Mr White's life is helping out local charities. Last year he won the Sydney Kings community award and he's also the club's ambassador for Youth Off The Streets.

"Sometimes in the afternoon when training has finished, I go into hospitals and say hi to the kids. One or two may have had surgery that day, and even though they are sometimes still half out of it when I visit, they know who l am and give me a big smile. It just makes me realise how fortunate I am, and puts things into perspective if I feel like I'm struggling with something," he reflects. Meeting and working with kids is something Mr White clearly enjoys doing - not only because of his love of children's charities, but also because he plans to be a high school sports teacher when he retires from basketball. In fact, he's about to finish his secondary education degree at Sydney University, which he started while over in the USA.

"I love kids and I love sport," he simply states as to why he chose this field.

This year, Mr White is looking forward to attending some of the Australian Open of Surfing events, remaining injury-free, and watching the mighty Sea Eagles play at Brookvale Oval.

"All my teammates give me grief about going for the Sea Eagles. Manly gets written off every year, yet then we get in the top four.

Let's see what happens..." he smirks.


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