King Arthur of The Harlem Wizards Is A Wiz On The Basketball Court

King Arthur is pure royalty…on the basketball court. As a part of the Harlem Wizards, King Arthur brings skills (and a lot of laughter) to audiences everywhere. We spoke exclusively with King Arthur about his love of basketball, building a strong and loving foundation with his kids, and how sports can break down barriers.

Let’s talk about your background.

I’m originally from Baltimore, MD. I’m finishing my master’s now; I’m 9 credits away from being a guidance counselor. I played in the IBL for several seasons, the ABA and I’ve been with this team for seven seasons. I started out playing one game, and then the next year I came back for tryouts, and then they offered me a one-year deal, then a three-year deal. Seven years later, I’m still here, traveling around the world making people happy.

Always loved basketball?

Yes! Been playing since the 3rd grade. My parents bought me a basketball hoop and a basketball in the backyard which was grass. I played so much it turned into dirt. In the seventh grade, for doing so well in school, they got a cement block, and I always played. I love the game of basketball.

Were your parents upset about the grass?

Oh no, but inside the house yes because I broke all kinds of things playing with the ball.

How would you describe the Harlem Wizards? Some people might think it’s similar to the Harlem Globetrotters.

It is in some ways but it’s kind of basketball and Broadway without the script. You never know what you’re going to see, but you’re going to see everything basketball. You’re going to see dunking, shooting, crazy tricks. You’re going to see showmanship and phenomenal athletes and it’s up close, in-your-face entertainment. It’s very interactive, and anything can happen in a game. And then you have the wild card of who we’re playing against. It’s different every night, so we never know who we’re playing against. Sometimes we play against professional teams, or other times we’ll play against the mayor. We’ll play against the lunch lady or the teachers! And we never know ahead of time, which makes it more fun.

I have to say, everyone is just on.

That’s what it takes to be a Harlem Wizard. Unlike any other organization, you truly have to be a selfless person. Because for that one night, they’re expecting a great show. It’s not personal, but they don’t care what’s going on in your personal life, with your wife, your kids, your family. So you have to put all of that to the side when you step on the court. It’s about making those thousands of people happy for that night.

I read that there are three teams for the Harlem Wizards.

That’s because we’re booked for so many games. We go all over the world. We’ve been to Jordan and China, which was a lot of fun.

How do you keep up with such an insane travel schedule?

As a dad, I balance it by knowing that when I’m home, I make sure that I spend a lot of quality time with my kids. We have a lot of talks; I talk to them and I make sure that they talk back to me. When I’m gone, we still have that bond when I call them and say something to them. I always tell my kids that I love them, and we talk about the Bible. We always talk about bad and good fruits in my house. That way, you know if you had a good day or a bad day because you just look at those fruits. My kids understand that when I’m gone, I miss them, but that this isn’t going to be for forever, either. But this is what God has for me right now.

It’s amazing that the Harlem Wizards are known throughout the world.

Smiling, happiness, and laughter are universal. This basketball breaks down barriers. Maybe if you saw me and my teammates on the street, maybe you wouldn’t talk to us. But because of this ball spinning, you get to know who I really am. Sports breaks down barriers.

What I like about the Harlem Wizards is that it makes sports fun. It’s not all about the win.

I think there’s a time and a place for it. For a kid, you have to feed that passion. There’s nothing wrong with competition; I want to do the best I can. You want to do the best you can. And that’s how greatness comes. What I don’t like is if you beat me, and I have a bad attitude, or I want to hate on you and say negative things about you. That’s where it’s wrong. Sometimes, parents live vicariously through their kids, and at the end of the day, kids can lose their love for the sport.

Let’s talk about your kids.

My oldest daughter Kayla is not really into sports; she wants to be a doctor. Then my son Brandon loves superheroes. His imagination is amazing and I love that about him. He’s into karate and is really good at that. And then my baby girl, Taylor, is something else. [laughs]

Same here. It’s that third one, I’m telling you!

Yes! It is the third one. She thinks she runs the house. They’re all so different, but we make sure to stay together and stay in a place called Happyville.

King Arthur

What are you planning for the future?

It really depends. You have to be careful of injuries, because one injury can take it all away from you. When I’m done with this, I would still like to work with kids. I’d like to have my own facility and mentor kids, and feed them good positive things. I’m all about good energy.

I would think that the basketball and being part of the Harlem Wizards would help.

Yes! This gets them to look at me, and then I hit them with the message! But without my wife, my queen, my parents, my mother in law, I wouldn’t be able to do this. And they also allow me to be Dad; they support me. They do their push-ups, prayers and Scriptures every night.

So, typical basketball players are super tall. You’re…

Yeah, I’m 5’8’ ½, and maybe 150 pounds. So for me to be able to do this at my size is a blessing. And when kids see me, they think, “Maybe I can do it too,” because they can relate to being small. It’s rare that little guys make it but if you put the work in, and trust the people around you, and be positive, you can make it. You can do whatever you want.

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