By: Joe Cardoso
When you love something and have a real passion for it, you don’t let anything stop you from reaching your goals. Our featured athlete has a passion for basketball and also helping the youth stay out of trouble and active. We call that a win-win since we know ball is life. Hailing from the state of New York, get to know one of the stars of The Last Shot on the VICELAND channel, Khalil McDonald.
JC: How did you hear about the mercenary tournament’s in Mexico, and what did you think about being filmed while experiencing this adventure?
KM: There are numerous groups on Facebook that post about international basketball opportunities. Tim Latiker, who is also on the show, has helped some of my friends land basketball opportunities. One day when I was working at the Board of Education I saw he made a post about an opportunity in Mexico, so I gave Tim my number and he immediately called. He told me about these tournaments in Mexico and all about the filming. I was sold! I put in a letter of resignation about a week later and since then it’s been one amazing opportunity after another.
JC: How was your time in Mexico?
KM: My time in Mexico was awesome. We were down there for a little over a month and we’ve been to over 15 cities. Having the opportunity to witness Mexico in its vastness, I’ve got to experience that was different from the average traveler. What surprised me the most was the amount of love people displayed for each other. Whether it was boyfriend and girlfriend or just a stranger you met. They generally have love in their hearts and you feel it in the atmosphere.’
JC: When did you first fall in love with the game of basketball?
KM: I first fell in love with basketball at age 5. Being that I’m from New York, everybody plays here. I just remember always watching my older brothers play, train and go on to get recruited my college institutions. For my cousins it was the same, they were just closer in age to me so that relationship had more of a competitive aspect along with an aspiring one as well.
JC: It is a different type of ball in NYC, for those who don’t know, what makes it so special?
KM: Basketball is considered to be different in NYC because there’s such a high volume of opportunities to play basketball in the city. Every few blocks you can find a basketball court, which I believe, lends itself to a high population of people who love the game of basketball.
JC: Did going to Mexico knowing only your teammates help you guys bond faster?
KM: I didn’t know any of my teammates before going to Mexico. We started bonding as soon as we all landed. Those guys are cool, man. I remember standing in the airport looking at these guys saying to myself, “Wow, each of these guys has a super personality.” I wondered where I would fit in. So it was easy to bond with such cool people.
JC: What was the response from friends and family about the move and show?
KM: I don’t like telling people about my moves, so I didn’t tell anyone I was leaving for Mexico until the day before I left. That move didn’t allow for much outside input on my decision.
JC: One of your passions is working with children and getting them active, where does this passion come from?
KM: I’ve always worked with children, i.e. tutoring, summer camps, and afterschool programs. I used to train my next door neighbor, I was 9 and he was 4 years old. There’s just a level of joy that’s embedded in children that you can’t find anywhere else. It’s like would you rather work with someone stuck in their ways, or work with someone that has a bunch of joy.
JC: What is in the works for the rest of the year and heading to 2018?
KM: First, it’s to continue playing basketball. Second, is to continue building my business – Train With Khalil (https://www.facebook.com/TrainWithKhalil/) Finally, I want to break into the entertainment industry because sports and entertainment go hand and hand.
JC: Who are some of the players you pattern your game after?
KM: Michael Jordan- he made the impossible look easy. Tracey McGrady- he made it look so easy.
Tracey McGrady- he made it look so easy.
Kevin Garnett- his talents and high work ethic forced people to love him.
Tim Duncan- fundamentally a silent killer.
Allen Iverson- the way he played not only affect the league but it changed the game of basketball.
Shaquille O’Neal- his high personality and dominance.
JC: What is the most important thing you have learned so far on this journey?
KM: I actually learned something about my myself. I like taking chances, but discovered that gambling isn’t for me.
Bonus Questions: JC: When not playing ball what do you do for fun/relax?
KM: In the studio making music, I play the piano, write poetry, song write, record music, and produce people’s music.
JC: Besides you. Name your dream starting five any era.
KM: Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, and, Shaq.
JC: What is in the music rotation right now?
KM: Biggie Smalls, Jay Z, Nas, 50 Cent, Fabolous, Kendrick Lamar, j Cole, Future, Kanye, and Yo Lil
Khalil is a humble and hardworking young man whose work ethic won’t let him lose. Keep an eye on what he does next and for the rest of the year and 2018. Follow him on his website and on Twitter @TheRealKhalilMcDonald. Movers and Shakers is a series featuring people making moves on and off the field in their chosen field. Khalil fits that and we thank him for taking time to talk with us. Also a HUGE shout out to Frances Reimers founder of www.yourfirestarter.com for connecting us. Keep it locked with TEAM NBS for more exciting content.