Sometimes an extreme level of humility can be found in someone that’s rarely shared by so many who have accomplished less.
Speak with Kenyon Glover, and you’ll be treated to a walking testimony. His is a story of sacrifice and perseverence. One conversation can teach you lessons about setbacks and success, inadequacy and sufficiency, sorrow and strength. Prior to our recent conversation, everything I knew about him came from a Google search and my memories of seeing him with the Milwaukee Bucks. Too often we’re constantly mesmerized by what someone is doing. With Mr. Glover, I was introduced to something more special and important. I got a glimpse of who he is.
Here are some of the highlights of our conversation:
How does one even transition from professional basketball to acting, film-making and modeling?
Glover: After my basketball career, I was left in the dark. I had dedicated my entire life to playing a game and was now asking ‘what’s next’. Then a talent scout contacted my agent and asked if I’d be interested in modeling. I wasn’t excited, but I said ‘why not’…
Eventually, t became more consistent. It started paying well. I was getting paid every week and someone suggested I go into acting…I went to an acting class, and the coach asked if I would fill in for someone who was absent. Shortly thereafter, I was booked in my first film, 2007’s Chip Factor.
Tell us about KG Films and KGX Fitness.
Glover: Being in the industry taught me waiting on work could take a while and I decided to make my own opportunities. I learned different things on set. I watched other actors. I watched what the directors were doing. I was watching the producers. That whet my appetite for the other side of the lens.
I decided that making my own opportunities was the only way I’d get ahead. I started producing my own content (KG Films). Here it is, and I’m six to seven years into this. As far as KGX Fitness, I knew my passions were fashion, film and fitness. I always wanted to be involved in the arena. We (KGX) deal in a variety of areas: personal training, consulting, clothing lines, the development of meal plans. Fitness is in my DNA. It has been since I was five years old.
This all led you to the birth of the Georgia Peach Fashion Week if I’m correct right?
Glover: Yes. The Georgia Peach Fashion Week is part of the KGXperience. When my wife and I moved to Atlanta, I was still getting booked for modeling events, but I wasn’t impressed by a lot of what I was seeing. People weren’t investing the money into the events….
My wife and I decided to try our hand at it. We spent our money and did everything ourselves.
It happened quickly. We began working on it at the end of 2014 and launched our first event in April of 2015. Our first event was at an art gallery. We got a lot of love and positive feedback. Our team grew, and for our second year’s event we invited celebrity guests. We were quickly becoming and are now the most talked about event in the southern region. We did 10 million impressions in our second year and are expecting around 20 million this year.
The 2017 Voice Awards are coming up, and you and your wife are hosting. Tell us a little about that.
Glover: What’s funny is I was contacted about being honored with their “Man Up” award. From there, maybe a month later, I was asked, along with my wife, to host. It’s an awesome ceremony. It recognizes positive influences in the community, people from various fields and everyone involved is deserving of the attention they’re receiving. They’re from all walks of life. I’m proud to be a part of it.
You’ve been open about your career with the Milwaukee Bucks ending prematurely and the low points that followed. What brought you through those times?
Glover: Playing with the Milwaukee Bucks was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I made it to the highest level of sports playing professional basketball, and that can never be taken from me. A knee injury would end that. I needed my knee to be totally replaced. The medical advancements that are available today weren’t available then or I’d probably have played longer.
I was in a dark place. I attempted suicide. I remember holding a gun to my head, pulling the trigger twice and having the gun jam. I went outside to see why the gun wasn’t working. Here’s what’s funny. I held it up, pulled the trigger and the gun worked. It all came into focus at that moment. Seeing as how it wouldn’t work when I tried to end my life taught me it all wasn’t supposed to end there. I knew I was destined for more.
I saw it as God giving me another chance. I knew I had a purpose. I talked to my mom, and she led me back to the church. Six to eight months got me feeling like I was back to myself again. I was feeling great about life again. I knew I had another purpose.
Why aren’t more professional athletes successful when their sports careers end? Why aren’t there more stories like yours?
Glover: As a former NBA star, I’ll discuss them. My experience has taught me people don’t have a plan. They aren’t investing, but look at it this way. When you’ve dedicated your life to something and it’s all you know, you rarely think about what’s next. Your thought process is about right now and being the best at what you are doing right now.
I ask people constantly. What are your passions? Do you want to go to school? What drives you? It’s most likely that you’ll find your next career path or your next mission in those areas. I recently spoke at a Life After Sports event in Las Vegas, and I relayed the same message. i want young men and women to know these things, focus on the key areas.
With you being in L.A., what are your thoughts on Magic Johnson and his new role with the Los Angeles Lakers?
Glover: I love the move honestly. I’ve always looked up to Magic, and it’s in him where I can look for a business model. He’s built an empire. If his story can’t motivate you, I don’t know what can. He brings another dynamic to the team. He’ll attract great players who will want to come play for him. He can teach these guys how to be men on and off the court and show them what to do with their money once basketball is over. It’s awesome an awesome move in my eyes.
There’s always the constant war between new school and old school, whether it be hip hop or sports. How do you view the current NBA?
Glover: It’s gotten soft. Hand checks have been removed. So has some of the gritty play. It’s all in an attempt to make the game more of an offensive showcase, and I get that. Still, there’s a ton of flopping. The refs are soft on players, and it’s not fun to watch. It’s about money and who can get max contracts. I watch every now and then, but I’m not as interested as I once was.
You have to tell us about your Distinguished Gentlemen Clothing Line.
Glover: Do you remember that movie The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? (Laughs) Yes, it’s one of my favorites. I remember not only the story, but some of the wardrobe. Being a man or gentleman is about so much more than aging. That’s what I want to convey. Clothing is just a small part of it.
I want to show these young men how to dress, how to go about life and how to invest. I want to show these men how to start a business. That’s what my “league” and my line represents to me. We’re experimenting with suits, blazers, sport coats, button downs and so much more.
….We’ll take the entire 2017 calendar year to get ready and promote our brand. Be looking for the launch in 2018.
Glover: None. Sure, there are some personal decisions I’d change, but I’m happy with how everything turned out. No complaints from me.
Geoffrey Knox is the creator and the owner of The Thunderstorm Hip Hop Sports & Entertainment Network, co-editor for Inside The Iggles and a contributor for Saturday Blitz. Bookmark Thunderstorm Media on BlogtalkRadio.com, iTunes, TuneIn and Stitcher. Follow him on Twitter @GQ_4_Eva, @stormradio66 @stormsports66 & @insideiggles.