By, Ryan Libby |Staff Writer|
Kwame Alexander has flown himself into the limelight with his backboard-breaking dunking ability, but his humble attitude off the basketball court makes his celebrity status unknown to many.
Alexander, the All-CCAA senior forward seemed surprised at his YouTube popularity with over 800,000 views on YouTube for his high flying slam dunks, appearances on ESPN, ABC and NBC as well as the number two play on SportsCenter’s top 10 plays of the week.
“It’s an honor,” said Alexander. “It’s a once in a lifetime thing. Somebody else put [the video] on [YouTube] and it goes viral like that. It’s good. It’s fun.”
Walking around campus it’s hard not to notice the 6 foot 7, 240 pound athlete.
When Alexander is not in the gym you can usually find him watching basketball, playing video games, watching movies, drawing or hanging out with his friends.
Seeing him without a basketball in his hand is rare. Alexander spends about 30 hours per week in the gym working and developing his jump shot.
“I try to take at least 200 [shots], but I want to get up to at least 500 to try and get [my] consistency locked down and kind of that confidence,” he said.
Alexander also enjoys skateboarding, playing football and says he’s pretty good at ping-pong, but no sport grabbed his attention like basketball.
“Just everything,” Alexander said when asked about what aspects of the sport he liked best.
“Just being able to dribble the ball and go out there and pretty much do what comes naturally. The sounds, the crowd getting loud, dunking. Just it’s all exciting to me.”
Before all of this buzz surrounding him, he wanted to finish school and tryout for a basketball team in Europe or China to polish his skills for the NBA.
But Alexander has had a change of heart, finding out that going directly to the NBA is a possibility after his Sports Center and ESPN appearance which for a Division II athlete, is an accomplishment in itself.
“That means anything is possible,” said Alexander.
“Pretty much people telling me it’s possible if I have a good year, good senior year of college and put up some big numbers and develop a jumper and I’ll be able to make it.”
With his rise in fame, Alexander has had opportunities to meet NBA players such as Indiana Pacers forward Paul George, Washington Wizards point guard John Wall, Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith, Los Angeles Lakers small forward Metta World Peace, as well as entertainers like The Game and Chris Brown.
Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant is Alexander’s biggest influence.
“His [knowledge] of the game of basketball is amazing,” Alexander said.
“Just how competitive he is and his work ethic it’s amazing. So I like to pattern my attitude on the court, beastly attitude on the court because of him.”
Alexander’s humble attitude is what some of his friends like best about him.
He doesn’t ask for all of the attention, it just happens to follow.
If the NBA doesn’t work out for him, Alexander wants to attend graduate school for his masters degree in sociology in hopes of being funded to travel the world studying different cultures and their way of life.
But first, he wants to finish his basketball career at CSUSB with a championship.