U.S. President Honors Duncanville Alumna with ‘Champions of Change’ Award
“I would get up as a kid on Saturdays and watch basketball all day long,” King said.
King played a variety of sports growing up. In high school, she was a band kid, graduating from Duncanville High School in 1990.
King’s day job is teaching online college courses, but for the past six years, her passion has been teaching basketball to girls in southern Dallas County. Her commitment to the young women in the community was recently recognized by the President of the United States and included an invitation to the White House.
King and a friend started their own basketball league in 2010 when they discovered a need in the community. She said she’s not a ‘trophy chaser.’ The goal of the Lady Panthers Girls Basketball Association is to teach young women life skills using the game of basketball. The players must maintain an A/B average in school, and King focuses on training her players the fundamentals of the game. But it’s more than that. King believes in parenting first, coaching second. She said if a player runs into trouble at school or needs advice on an issue, she often receives a phone call before a parent.
“Kids know when somebody loves them,” King said. “They know when somebody genuinely cares. I love my girls.”
Word of King’s commitment to her players has spread. Late last year, she learned she was one of 10 people across the country chosen to receive U.S. President Barack Obama’s “2016 White House Champions of Change for Extracurricular Enrichment for Marginalized Girls and Girls of Color Award.”
“I called my mom and said I won an award and they want me at the White House,” King said. “My mom said, ‘What white house?’ I said, ‘THE White House!’”
Unfortunately, King had a death in the family and was unable to attend the ceremony in Washington, D.C., but she said that does not take away from the value of the recognition.
King says her Lady Panthers have moved their practices among at least seven facilities in 10 years because of the scarcity and expense of court time. She has encountered some fierce inter-league politics and the struggles that come with starting a new entity from scratch.
After telling her story, King looked at the award from President Obama, teared up and said, “This means I’m doing it right.”