By: Joe Cardoso
The world of basketball has so many layers in today’s sports world. From the action on the court to the social media teams around the league trying to produce amazing content. The players themselves have become individual brands and need to have a team to help keep them top of mind for fans and possible partners. One thing that remains is the game is played with some of the flyest sneakers on the planet and sneaker culture is a world of its own. Fron trying to get those exclusives air max 95’s to that perfect pair of Jordans to match an outfit it is alive and well. I had the pleasure of speaking with a former college basketball player who’s love for the game transformed into entering not only the world of sneakers and fashion but content creator, brand ambassador, and well known in the hoops world. If the green hair doesn’t get your attention her sense of style will let’s get to know Kayce Kirihara aka “The Infamous Kayce”
Joe Cardoso: Let’s start with why basketball? Was it the only sport you played growing up?
Kayce Kirihara: Basketball for me was something that was instilled in me since birth. Both my parents played and my dad really wanted a boy, so I was treated like a little boy. I started playing in 1st grade and fell in love with the game. I also swam and was an all-city gold medalist in breaststroke, and then in high school, I played volleyball. I could’ve played in college, but my true love was basketball, so I pursued that.
JC: Real basketball fans know this, but talk about the hoops culture in Seattle and how did that help your game and the love for it.
KK: The hoops culture in Seattle is so rich. Hell, Washington State in general. Most people don’t know that or sleep on us, but it’s such a huge community with so many talented players. Growing up I watched a ton of basketball, spending hours at AAU tournaments, watching the best of the best. It pushed and motivated me, and I wanted to be one of the best to come out of Seattle.
JC: You put in work in High School and ended up at Hawaii Hilo how was the college experience?
KK: Ah, college was different. I wish I could’ve done things differently but everything happens for a reason. I didn’t have a HS coach that knew a lot about getting girls into colleges, and most of my looks were from AAU. I didn’t receive any college letters from my coach, so most colleges thought I wasn’t interested. Hawaii was a last-minute decision based on the fact they were giving me a full ride. It was different, and truthfully, I struggled with my coach and the politics of it all my first couple of years. I wish it would’ve happened differently, but it is what it is. College on an island was hard, and if it wasn’t for ball, I would’ve never been able to do it.
JC: How did you get your nickname “The Infamous Kayce”?
KK: Honestly, I was browsing on the internet one day and came across a girl who had the name “the infamous” something, and I was like.. that’s cute. I ran with it, it stuck, and it’s been a wrap since 🙂
JC: I LOVE your style, what/who are your inspirations for it?
KK: Thank you! My inspirations don’t come from one thing or person. I love admiring people’s style, and the looks that come from different cities and countries — I just try and see how I can make it my own. I always try not to “copy” trends but instead see how I can make it different, and just “me”. If that makes sense. I do love Teyana Taylor’s style and Aleali May. They really represent being able to switch it up which I love.
JC: How did you get involved with the WNBA and the Storm?
KK: It was during my freshman year in HS. I used to always go to Sonic and Storm games and was an honorary ball kid a few times. I was like, this is a job? I wanna do it. So I found an email on the Storm website, emailed them…they passed me along to another person, and then next thing I know, I was at the Storm practice showing them that I could rebound and pass. I got the job and did that throughout HS, as well as college in the summer. When I graduated from college, I came back to find out the position that managed the ball kids (the equipment manager and video coordinator) was open. I applied, got the job, did that for 4 years, and then left. Because of my relationship with the WNBA, I freelance with them and the NBA.
JC: What is a typical day in the life for you?
KK: Ah. I don’t really have a typical day, as a freelance/entrepreneur. Every day is different depending on what’s going on. I usually wake up, workout, and then figure out if I have any projects I need to complete, and then write down ideas on how I can continue to grow.
JC: What do you see coming in the future for yourself, Clothing line, shoe brand collaboration?
KK: *manifesting* I will have my own sneaker collab 🙂 I really want that. I have a couple of collab clothing projects in the works. Right now we have one with beast mode aka Marshawn Lynch, and I’m working on some other projects you’ll have to stay tuned for.
JC: You had the opportunity to interview the legendary Kobe Bryant, what was that like, and what does the mamba mean to you?
KK: It was surreal, and an honor. It happened so fast, it was crazy. I’m blessed to have had that opportunity and I’ll forever cherish it. Mamba represents so much more than basketball. Who he was as a person, a father, a husband. He was a huge advocate for women’s basketball which means so much to the culture. He’s the true definition of a GOAT on and off the court.
JC: For up and coming females in the world of sneakers, what advice would you give, and do you plan on mentoring the next generation?
KK: Stay true to yourself. Cop shoes you want, not because they’re hyped. Be you, in and out, that’s what makes everyone different. Find your lane, and figure out how you can succeed and be different.
JC: You can only wear 1 brand for life who is it and why. Nike or Adidas?
KK: Nike. I’ve always been a Nike girl, will forever be a Nike girl.
JC: How many tattoos do you have and which one means the most to you?
KK: I honestly have too many to count… and they all mean a lot. My tattoos that represent my family, my grandma, and my grandpa are the most meaningful… but my favorite is my tattoo that says “protect your peace”. I live by that.
JC: Who is Kayce Kirihara?
KK: Kayce is a green-haired girl from Seattle who loves fashion, sports, sneakers, and all things family. Someone trying to continuously be herself in and out, and if people rock with it, they do. If not, that’s cool too.
Anyone else doing what I did and jumping on the Nike site to get some fresh new kicks? Thank you to Kayce and her team for taking the time and be on the lookout for what is coming next from her. The best way to do that is to follow her on social media:
Instagram – @infamouskayce
Twitter – @infamousKAYCE
Snapchat – kaycetaryn
Website – https://infamouskayce.com/
The Movers and Shakers series brings you the people in the sports world making moves and building a brand. Make sure to join us each and every month and give NBS at follow on all platforms @NutsAndBoltsSP and you can follow me @JoeCardoso301 until next time stay safe and be kind to one another