The interesting story of an 18-year old New Zealand girl's path to pro basketball
What's the story?
Bleacher Report's Dave Gardner provided a story on Tuesday regarding 18-year old Kobe King-Hawea and her path to playing professional basketball. The article talks about the interesting path that King-Hawea is blazing.
In case you didn't know...
Only three Australian basketball players made WNBA rosters last season. However, each of those women came from the Institute Of Sport, which is a partner of the NBA Global Academy that King-Hawea attended.
The heart of the matter
Named after NBA legend Kobe Bryant because King-Hawea's father was obsessed with basketball and on her 18th birthday, she was able to travel to Los Angeles and visit the Laker's practice facility.
King-Hawea was selected to become the first female recipient of a scholarship to the NBA Global Academy in Canberra, Australia. The academy is the home to the top NBA prospects outside of the United States.
After earning the scholarship, she received an invitation to the annual Basketball Without Borders Camp during the All-Star weekend in Los Angeles. This path to professional basketball is new and King-Hawea is the one who's blazing that trail.
"Playing was all I knew from a very young age," King-Hawea said. "It was a way to be with my family and also to get away from everything. I put basketball above everything, above even friendships. Outside of family, basketball is the first thing in my life."
At the age of 12, King-Hawea moved to Australia to continue to improve and even played in a few amateur leagues before being discovered by a coach in 2017. It appears that this path to playing professional basketball is paying off as she has received interest from colleges such as TCU and Duke; who have a tremendous women's programs.
The 22nd season of the WNBA tips off on May 18th as the Minnesota Lynx will attempt to defend their championship. In 2017, Minnesota was a league-best 27-7 on their way to the title.
This is solid proof that the global academy system that is put in place by the NBA is working. They are able to identify great talent, and because of the discovery of King-Hawea, there is a good chance we'll get to see her play in either college ball or the WNBA in the very near future.