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ON THE COURT Kevin McKenna (shooting the ball here), a freshman at Lamar High School, loves basketball. This photo is from an eighth-grade game where he had 35 points.
Since I was little, I loved sports, especially basketball. In fact, my dad used to work for the Houston Rockets in their public-relations department, and my first word was “ball.” I played several sports but didn’t become passionate about basketball until third grade, when I met 2007 NBA MVP and 2011 NBA champion Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks. He was my favorite player, and the opportunity to meet him inspired me.
I practiced all summer going into fourth grade. By the time basketball season started, I was one of the best players on the St. Michael’s parish team. I experienced what it was like to lead a team to success. That summer, I participated in the Notre Dame Basketball Camp for the first of four times.
As a fifth grader, I met NBA superstar Kevin Durant and joined my first AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) basketball team, TNBA. My most memorable experience was when hometown hero James Harden came to watch one of our team’s games from the bench.
At Lanier Middle School, I made the seventh-grade team, leading the team in scoring through the first month before everything turned for the worse. I broke my foot in a fall against Pershing and missed most of the season. Our team had a losing record. I came back stronger, and during my eighth-grade season, I averaged 19 points and was honored to win the MVP award. We earned a winning record.
Unfortunately, I broke my foot again this past August, which required surgery and long rehabilitation. This sidelined me for Lamar High School freshman team tryouts. Fortunately, my commitment during Lamar’s conditioning and open-gym sessions during the summer earned me a place on the team. Now I am working daily to return to my pre-injury form. I hope to finish my freshman year on a positive note and put myself in a position to contribute to Lamar basketball in years to come. In addition to playing, I work as an intern – rebounding for players and handling equipment – for the Houston Rockets ball crew.
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