Updated: Jul 31, 2020
The 2022 high school class has some impressive depth, with Kijani Wright landing near the top of the pack. The rising junior has formed an impressive duo with fellow 2022 Dylan Andrews at Windward School (CA), with the entire Pac-12 seeming to be working for their services. On top of Power-5 schools on the west coast, Wright holds offers from Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan State, Pittsburgh and Vanderbilt, among others. At nearly 6’9” and 220 pounds, Wright has been part of a lot of winning at the high school level thus far and was also part of the gold medal-winning USA team at the U16 FIBA Americas, last June.
What immediately stands out about Wright is his impressive frame, as he appears to be physically prepared to play in college right now. He has some post polish, with an ambidextrous finishing ability, yet he’s also able to face-up for the long range shot or attack a close out. With his ability to put the ball on the floor, he also is adept at finding teammates on the perimeter and is an intuitive offensive rebounder. Defensively, while he is most comfortable defending the post, he’s also flashed some agility which allows him to switch out on the perimeter in a pinch.
Playing on the adidas circuit for Compton Magic, Wright has made consistent strides in his game over the last few years as he has grown into his body and developed his skillset. While center seems to be his position of comfort at this point, he projects as a combination big in college and shows many early signs of fitting well into a team setting. His recruitment will only continue to heat up as he has been hovering near the top of the national rankings for the class of 2022 for quite some time. With his introspective approach, Wright seems to be watching very relevant players and taking the right steps in his training towards his goal of playing professional basketball.
In this interview, Wright talks about his basketball roots, what he has been working on during the current COVID-19 pandemic, a glimpse at his training regimen, his experience with both Compton Magic and USA Basketball, plus much more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2022 prospect Kijani Wright, from Los Angeles, California:
Pro Insight: Talk about your background and your story.
KW: Well I’m an LA kid so I’ve always been in Southern California. I grew up here. I guess basketball has always been there — ever since I was little I wanted to get on the blacktop. Always wanted to play with the older teenagers at the Boys and Girls Club. Always wanted to play and get in runs. I feel like I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder and just wanted to compete. I’ve always been a competitor so being able to play basketball is a way of expressing myself.
PI: What’s your family background?
KW: I have one brother and I live with my mom and my brother right now.
PI: Do any of your siblings or family play sports?
KW: My mom doesn’t play sports. My brother used to run track, but I’m the only one who plays basketball in the family. My dad used to play ball in high school, but he also stopped so I’m the only one left.
PI: Any extended family members play sports collegiately or professionally?
KW: No, not that I know of.
PI: Do you or did you play any other sports?
KW: This is all with the Boys and Girls Club that I went to, but I played soccer and I tried a little baseball. Played some flag football in middle school. I also played volleyball. I played volleyball at Windward and that’s pretty much about it. I played volleyball in middle school, but stopped my freshman year. I was the middle hitter and blocker — I would be there to block the ball when it was going over the net, that was my role. Volleyball did help my athleticism when I wasn’t playing basketball, it definitely helped my vert.
PI: When did you transition over to full time basketball?
KW: Ever since I can remember, I don’t really have a story where my dad put the ball in my hands, but I guess in early elementary school I started playing basketball and I fell in love with it. I don’t really have a story about how basketball came to me, but it’s always been there and I just fell in love with it.
PI: What made you fall in love with basketball?
KW: Everything, just competing...being able to play against another opponent and wanting to win, because I’m a huge competitor that’s been my drive when I’m playing. Ever since I started loving the game I’ve kept that winning attitude and competitiveness.
PI: For those who aren’t super familiar with your game, what are some of your greatest strengths?
KW: I grew up as a center being pretty tall so I’d always be in the low post, but now I can stretch out to the 3 or 4. I play inside and out, so I’d say back to the basket, but also facing up and the mid-post is kind of my strength.
PI: What about some things you still need to work on?
KW: Definitely getting low, getting low when I’m dribbling the ball. Definitely ball-handling and then consistently shooting the ball — having a consistent stroke. Mid-range, three-pointers, extending my range so that’s always going to be something I need to improve on.
PI: From what Pro Insight has seen, you’re also a pretty underrated passer — where do some of those instincts come from?
KW: Yeah I don’t even know where that came from, but I enjoy passing the ball and facilitating. I see LeBron and he’s throwing the ball full court; Kevin Love throwing the ball full court. I didn’t really realize that I was doing the exact same thing — if I saw an open man I’d just pass it to him. The high-low pass from the high post is something I did last year, as well. I love passing the ball and facilitating for my teammates.
PI: With things shut down due to COVID-19, what are you doing to stay ready?
KW: Definitely going to the gym...before I’d just do home workouts, but our basketball team at Windward started doing team zoom workouts. Then things started opening up a bit so I started going to the gym. I’ve just been working out with my trainer, shooting, ball-handling, strength training, and staying consistent with the workouts and trying to stay ready for when things officially open up.
PI: Who is your trainer?
KW: Pro's Vision with Darren Collison, Sean Marshall, and Calvin Mitchell. The three trainers with Pro's Vision train me down in San Clemente. Then I also have a Compton Magic coach, coach Douglas Joseph who is also training me, making sure I’m right for the next level.
PI: Which aspects of your game do you spend the majority of your time working on?
KW: Ball handling and shooting. Staying low with the ball. Making sure I can guard 3-through-5, just working up to make sure I can guard new positions and just expanding my game.
PI: What’s your weekly training schedule?
KW: It’s five to six days per week, I go around 2:30 P.M., work out and try and get it in. Sometimes I have two workouts or one workout, but just try and get the most in with my trainers.
PI: What are your current measurements?
KW: I believe I have a 6’10-11” wingspan. I’m around 215 pounds, and I’m around 6’8.5-9” tall.
PI: Where does your physical physique come from?
KW: I guess just a combination of my mom and my dad, maybe other parts of the family, but I do see little parts of my mom [in me] and her legs, we have the same legs. My dad, we have similar back and arm structures, so it’s really just a combination between both parents.
PI: Are they tall as well?
KW: I’m the tallest I think in my family that I know of...my mom, she's like 5’6” and my dad is 6’3-4”. My brother is 6’1”, so I’m just the tallest one in my family.
PI: Is your physical physique natural or have you been lifting weights?
KW: I actually don’t lift weights, it’s all from body weight. I haven’t really bulked up, because as basketball players you don’t really want to be bulky, you want to be able to move around and be versatile. It’s really been all natural, just body weight and then possibly just starting to increase the weight. My friends are surprised and they’re like, “man you’re not lifting weights?” and I’m like “I can lift my bodyweight, I don’t need to start lifting weights” because there’s a correct way to lift weight. My trainer started me out lifting my body weight and once I’m accustomed to that then maybe we can up the weight on that. I do still want to grow some more, so making sure I get enough sleep and not lifting too much. That’s also going to be key if I’m going to continue to grow.
PI: What is your regimen in terms of diet and taking care of your body?
KW: I do eat pretty healthy, my mom takes care of everything. I always have rice or chicken or broccoli. Always having some sort of kale or salad or spinach to go with my meals. I’m not really eating candy or soda. I do love strawberry lemonade, that’s for sure — strawberry lemonade is a go-to. My diet is pretty healthy — not too strict — but healthy.
PI: Do you train with any other players?
KW: Solo for now, just to stay as safe as possible, but I have been doing a little bit of one’s or workouts with the Mobleys, Anthony Brown. I did work out with Klay Thompson a little bit, but just trying to stay safe. Not really going to any 5-on-5’s or any open runs. I’m just trying to stay safe and better myself.
PI: As time goes on and your opponents become more physically mature, what’s going to be your differentiator?
KW: I think it’s focusing on the smallest things. That could be stretching more, that’s a must. As other guys are building and catching up, I’ve got to focus on the little things. Like maybe I have some tension with a certain area of my body and I can improve that. So definitely focusing on the little things as guys start to move up.
PI: Who are some of the toughest players you’ve ever had to guard?
KW: At Pangos All-American Camp I had to guard Cade Cunningham. Precious [Achiuwa], I’ve had to guard him. There are so many players.
PI: What made those guys tough?
KW: Well they’re just physical, they’re really physical. They’re great competitors. When I went to that camp I was a freshman and they were juniors or seniors. So me competing against them, maybe I get a block on them and they figure out I’m a freshman, they’re going to compete even harder. And I’m going to compete the hardest I can, but us going at it, it’s tough when I have that chip on my shoulder. I do want to mention Big O [Onyeka Okongwu], he’s pretty big and hard to guard.
PI: Who do you think the best players are in your area? SoCal?
KW: Dylan Andrews on my team is pretty good, he’s definitely one of the top players in my area. Another guy, I forget his name, he’s a top player in the 2021 class and goes to Cal Poly [Peyton Watson].
PI: Rank the best five bigs in the 2022 class.
KW: Jalen Duren is a top big. Jabari Smith, he’s not really a big, he’s more of a forward, but he’s also a really good player. I’m definitely confident going at them toe-to-toe. I’ve been through it going toe-to-toe with them, tryouts for the USA team in Florida, so I definitely want to go against them for sure.
PI: Why do you wear #33? Is there a story behind that?
KW: One of my other trainers is super big into numerology and he said numbers 33, 1, or 21 are huge numbers to wear. I chose #33. I know a few players who wore #33, Scottie Pippen wore #33. So I guess after I figured that out I was like “of course, let me wear that number as well,” but there’s really no huge backstory behind why I wear it.
PI: Walk us through this past high school season.
KW: It was a great high school season. There were some ups and downs, but we won CIF and we really had to come together as a team. There were a lot of sacrifices that had to be made, but we had a really good team this year. We had Devin Tillis going to UNLV and one of our other bigs, Marcus Joseph. I think this is probably one of the best teams at Windward, so us all coming together and learning to work and get this season right for that CIF was pretty amazing.
PI: What’s it like playing with Dylan Andrews?
KW: His game is like a downhill guy...he’s going to go at anybody, challenge them and talk trash. He does that in practice, too — go after and talk trash with anybody. He’s a relentless scorer. He’s going to go after everybody and try to get to the cup every time.
PI: What’s your experience been like playing with the Compton Magic?
KW: It was a little weird because I didn’t know what they were all about at first, but as I’ve played with them throughout the years they really put me on a stage where I grow and get seen by college coaches. Going up against top guys from different classes around the world. They really just helped me expand my game and take me to places I never thought I’d go so I really give it up to them. They gave me a further step to reaching my goal.
PI: What have you learned from Etop Udo-Ema?
KW: He’s a great mentor. Showing us about the brand, the business. Great communicator on the court, fun guy to talk to and chill guy to get to know.
PI: Who are some of the most talented players you’ve enjoyed playing with or against?
KW: Definitely I love going up against Evan Mobley in practices...Big O, as well. I love playing with Dylan Andrews, love playing with Benny Gealer, I love playing Devin Tillis, Malik Thomas, Caleb Houstan. I loved the team I played with in 17U...that was a really good team I got a chance to play with.
PI: When do you feel like things really started to round a corner for you as a player?
KW: I’m just taking it step by step — that’s the ultimate goal, to stay in the league [NBA] and play in the league as long as possible. But it’s one step at a time, not rushing the process. Making sure that I’m going at my pace, but I think I’ve always realized that I have the ability to get and play in the league as long as I have that mentality.
PI: What are your short and long term goals as a basketball player?
KW: Definitely to defend that CIF title. I don’t really have any individual goals, but I definitely want to make my teammates the best players they can be and improve their games. In college, I want to play in the NCAA [Tournament] and win a championship. There’s not really any individual goals, just playing ball.
PI: How about as a person?
KW: When I go to college I want to get into that real estate business, being that business man off the court is a goal that I see in myself. I look up to LeBron as a businessman, so I definitely want to be in that category.
PI: What attracts you to real estate?
KW: My grandma — once I found out she owned places and buildings and she’s getting paid I was like, “I can do that, too,” and I’ve always been inspired to do that. I said to my mom and coaches that when I do have that opportunity to go out and buy something, I do want to invest in something like Wingstop, I love Wingstop. I don’t know if those would be true goals, but those are just some things off the top of my head.
PI: Talk about your experience with USA Basketball.
KW: When I went with them the first time I didn’t know what to expect. I knew going up against top players would be something I’d do, but they’re a really competitive camp to go to. I’m really honored to get invited and to get to go to that camp many times and win a gold medal. But just learning the little things, teaching points from the coaches and learning how to better myself, to play my position, and my role.
PI: Who all have you roomed with?
KW: I’ve roomed with Nathan Bittle, Adrian Griffin — that dude is pretty funny, pretty quiet guy but also pretty funny — I roomed with Jalen Duren, Richard Issacs, and Amari Bailey, those are some really good dudes. I don’t really have a favorite room, I kind of kept to myself, so there’s no roommate that I had more fun with, I guess. I really kept to myself when I room with these dudes.
PI: Describe representing the USA and winning the gold medal at the FIBA U16 Americas Championship.
KW: I actually at the time I didn’t realize how special it was to represent your country and to go up against the other countries we played against and to have a special moment with my teammates that I’ll probably remember for a lifetime. Those are my brothers with the USA team. Being able to compete against all the teams we faced and do it with all of my brothers on that team with the coaches I had was a pretty special honor and opportunity I was given to play with those guys.
PI: Do you consider yourself more of an introvert or extrovert?
KW: More of an introvert, I guess. I don’t know. I change up sometimes, but I do keep to myself. I’m not really much of a person who just throws himself out there. I do like to be on my own time and kind of hang out by myself. If I really don’t really have a reason to go out then I’m fine just staying at home on my own time. I love watching cooking shows, so if I have the choice to have my own time or go out then I’m definitely going to stick with my own time and do what I love which is watch cooking shows, maybe play video games with friends, or hang out with the family.
PI: What’s the update with your recruitment?
KW: I love all of my offers, but Michigan State has reached out, USC, Arkansas, LMU, Arizona State, Oregon State — Arizona also, they’re recruiting me pretty hard right now.
PI: Do you have any dream schools?
KW: I never did, I never really had a dream school growing up. I guess as I got older I started watching more college basketball, but I was always watching the NBA, really. I never had a dream school on the west or the east coast, it was always watching the NBA. So now it’s pretty new to me because I’ve never had something where I was like “I want to go to this school” and then they’re finally reaching out to me and it’s surreal. I’ve never really had that occurrence or had a dream school, it’s always been about looking at the NBA.
PI: When you started getting offers, was it surprising or was it more or less expected due to the work you put in?
KW: I don’t think I was surprised, I definitely didn’t expect it. I’m not a person who expects things, I always work for them. I wasn’t really surprised and I wasn’t like “yeah this should happen or this is expected to happen.” I just work on my craft and if it happens it happens. I’m a very humble player so I’m never really taking or expecting things from people.
PI: What are you looking for in a school of choice?
KW: With basketball, I definitely want to be at a school where it feels like a family, like it’s home. I haven’t really given much thought to the weather or distance because you’re out state to state or country to country and when I’m traveling I’m going to be experiencing different climates. So I don’t think that’s going to be a huge factor, but I definitely want to go have that business major at that school. In the coaching, I want to fit into my role, whatever the coaches want me to play I want to fit that role. I don’t want to be limited or going off just what I want to do, I want to help the team any way I can.
PI: Would you ever consider the G-League route?
KW: I haven’t really given that much thought. The focus has really been on college because I definitely want to go to college, so the G-League route hasn’t really been something that I’m focusing on.
PI: Who are you leaning on most heavily as you make your decision with your recruitment? What factors are you weighing?
KW: Definitely my mother. My brother is going to be there, but she’s been through it with me, supporting me the most. Definitely going to lean on my mother, my coach because he’s also been there guiding me through this whole process. So those two will definitely be key in making my decision.
PI: What type of system best fits your playing style?
KW: I guess the game has been opened up with bigs being able to shoot. Of course being able to shoot the ball is definitely going to be fun, but having that ability to stretch the floor and help my team any way that I can is what I want to do.
PI: How much do you care about personal stats?
KW: Personal stats isn’t really a focus that I have. Of course when you get those accolades from the stats you always like those, but it’s not the dominant focus that I have.
PI: Would you say you rely more on your natural talent or your work ethic?
KW: I don’t think I rely on either one. I think I use a combination of both. Natural raw talent will only get you so far, so you then have to use your work ethic. So I think I rely on both, and different situations call for either the raw talent or the work ethic.
PI: Do you model your game after anyone in particular?
KW: I did start looking at Tim Thomas — used to play for the Clippers, played for many teams actually. Looking at Kevin Garnett, his ability to stretch the floor, shoot the ball, be a rim protector. I look at Kawhi’s defense. I look at LeBron’s dominance, the floor general he is. Those players are the guys I look up to the most and take things from their game to implement in my game.
PI: Are the Clippers your favorite NBA team?
KW: I am a Clipper guy. Even before the Blake Griffin [era]. I live in LA and everybody loves the Lakers and I was like “I want to support the Clippers,” since they’ve always been the underdog. So I guess wanting to stay with them and support them is my thing.
PI: Who is your favorite all-time Clipper?
KW: It’s hard because I take different things from all the players, that goes from PG [Paul George] to Patrick Beverley to Kawhi [Leonard] to Montrezl Harrell. I don’t really have a favorite, but the most dominant would definitely be Montrezl Harrell.
PI: How do you like their chances to win the title in the bubble?
KW: I think they have a solid chance — everyone is well-rested and ready to play. I think they had a chance before all of this coronavirus, but I think their chances got a little higher to win.
PI: What was your first NBA experience like? How eye opening was it for you?
KW: In 2017, I was a ball-boy with two of my best friends [hired for one game] and it was a really great experience. I was really close to the players and on an NBA court so I was like “I’m right here, this is where I want to be,” so feeling that first time at the Clippers arena was pretty amazing, it felt like I was at home.
PI: Who in the NBA — past or current — best resembles your game?
KW: I see a little bit of Kevin Garnett in my game, hopefully Tim Thomas because I love his game. Kevin Garnett and Tim Thomas are players I see in my game. I haven’t really been paying attention to other people comparing me to different players, I’ve always known that I’m the player that I want to be so comparing me to different players isn’t really in my focus or something I’m trying to look at.
PI: Which position do you view yourself as?
KW: If you were going to put a position on me I would say power forward — stretch-4. Maybe play a little bit of the small forward. But just playing straight up basketball I don’t think I have a position because I feel like I can do everything on the court.
PI: Please explain what Kijani Wright brings to a team, regardless of the situation.
KW: On the court, defense — high motor on defense, maybe not a vocal leadership role, but definitely helping guys where they follow me and they see the level that I play at so they try to match that level on defense. Offense, that versatile game, playing outside and inside the post — like you said, the passing ability, being able to facilitate and get guys open and get them the rock when they want to shoot. Off the court, I would like to think that I’m a cool dude to hang out with. I’m pretty laid back, keep to myself, but I think I’m pretty fun to hang around with, I guess.
PI: What is your leadership style?
KW: Say you were doing drills in a practice and I’m doing it to the best of my ability, doing it the right way. Say there’s a guy looking up to me and they try to follow the way I’m doing the drill, trying to match that energy that I have. I think people just follow my play style and try to play the style that I play.
PI: What’s your biggest passion outside of basketball?
KW: I love watching cooking shows, hanging out with friends, but really watching cooking shows is one of the main things I like to do. I can’t really cook yet, I’m trying to get my mom to help me out there, but that’s kind of been the one thing I like to do when I’m not playing basketball.
PI: If you were going to do anything other than basketball for a career, what would it be?
KW: I mean knowing that I have that [cooking] that’d be one route. I’m a good artist. My mom’s an artist, this painting right here [located on the wall behind him in the interview] is her art, so I definitely have the artist in me from her so that’d be another route.
PI: Talk about Never Broke Again. Is fashion something you’re interested in?
KW: They’re partners with the Compton Magic, so I was just trying to put the name out there as much as possible. I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fashion type of dude. It’s obviously fun to go out and buy different exotic things, but I wouldn’t say I express myself with fashion like a Russell Westbrook or Kyle Kuzma. I’m pretty laid back and chill, but I don’t know if fashion could be another route. Like Kelly Oubre, he’s into fashion, but it could be a route, who knows?
PI: What do you find yourself doing most outside of basketball while quarantined?
KW: I just recently downloaded NBA 2K because I haven’t played 2K in so long, in three to four years, so I started doing that. Hanging with the family as much as possible, trying to stay safe. Really when there’s no basketball I’m always watching basketball. I watch Jordan, trying to see the dunks that he does and use that in my game, [I’ll watch] Tim Thomas. But just trying to hang out with the family as much as possible.
PI: Are you more of an Xbox or PlayStation guy?
KW: When I was little I had a PS3, I want to say I’ve always had the Sony PlayStation in my heart, but I had an Xbox 360 & Xbox One, but I wasn’t able to play with my friends because they had a PS4. So I transitioned to PlayStation and I’ve been on that ever since. I love it.
PI: What are some games you like to play?
KW: Before NBA 2K I was playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, did play a little bit of Fortnight, but it’s really been those two games I’ve been playing. I did play a little bit of Destiny as well. My mom is really particular about what I play and put in my mind. She’s a strong believer that shooting [games can lead to real violence] and you have to keep your mind safe and strong. What you put out there is what you see so I mean if I’m always playing Call of Duty [where I’m] shooting and shooting, I wouldn’t want that to be a reality.
PI: What’s your favorite thing to read or watch these days?
KW: The type of books that I like reading are definitely action and adventure, stuff where it’s not too hard into detail where I got to read so many chapters just to figure out what’s going on. Definitely not a Shakespeare type of dude, I was reading that this year and it was brutal. Movies I like to watch are more action and adventure — one of my favorite movies is Central Intelligence, I love that movie. When I was little I loved Prince of Persia, I loved watching that movie...I don’t know why, but that was one of my favorite movies growing up.
PI: Your USAB profile listed various war movies as your favorites, what do you like about those movies?
KW: I don’t know why [laughs], I’m not going to say the guns or the shooting is the best part, but when you’re out there with your brothers and you’re working together, that kind of attracts me.
PI: What are your top cooking shows? Have you tried out any recipes?
KW: I haven’t been trying recipes, but I love watching Gordon Ramsay, I watch Kitchen Nightmares. When I was on them I used to watch them like super hard late at night, watch shows on YouTube. I love watching Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives with Guy Fieri, Chopped, I did watch a little bit of Cake Boss. I just love watching those shows, but I haven’t really tried any recipes.
PI: What are the four apps you use the most?
KW: Instagram, Snapchat, Twitch, and Netflix.
PI: If you woke up tomorrow to see $10 million in your bank account, what would be your first purchase?
KW: That’s a hard question, I would definitely buy something for my mom. I don’t know the purchase, but it would definitely be for my mom first. I love Porsche, a Porsche Panamera GT3 RS would be my dream car. I don’t know if it would be a go-to right away if I had money, but that’s something I would want to buy.
PI: What do you think makes someone a successful NBA player?
KW: I think the impact that they bring into the game and I guess their legacy and how they impact people throughout their career and putting on smiles for people. Of course winning a championship, having a long championship accolade or something like that, but I think having an impact and putting smiles on peoples faces.
PI: What has been a defining moment or story in your life?
KW: I guess starting out with AAU, where I was first introduced. It’s kind of what skyrocketed me wanting to play against different players from different cities. Starting out AAU and not knowing anything about it, playing for my first club team and going to the workouts and tryouts were pretty defining moments.
PI: Why has that stuck with you and what did you learn from it?
KW: I feel like it’s always going to be a part of me, like my origin in a way. There were also some really good relationships that I had, really good mentors teaching me the little things when I was a big man in the post. But yeah just learning the little things with my position as a center.
PI: What have your parents instilled in you over the years?
KW: To always have a strong work ethic and respect the game and if you’re going to do something then just go hard at it and don’t waste time.
PI: Do you have any mentor figures in your life other than your parents?
KW: My trainers — they’re good figures to look up to. Douglas Joseph, one of my trainers, definitely a good mentor that I look up to. A life trainer and really good friend.
PI: What role does your life trainer play?
KW: I think he is just there to support me with anything that I go through. And I think he’s always going to be there to talk to if I have any problems or with any challenges that I have.
PI: How long have you had a life coach and what are some skills you’ve learned from it?
KW: It started out when I was first with Compton Magic and that's where the relationship started to go up and ever since he’s just kind of been there for me.
PI: In the social media era how do you manage outside pressure and expectations?
KW: I don’t feel like I have any outside pressure. I mean I kind of view pressure as a little bit of excitement, so I don’t really look at my following, it’s not really high, but that’s not something that gets to me, that’s just a number in social media. So I’m just doing my thing, I don’t really care if I have a blue check next to my name or a high following, I don’t really care for those things.
PI: What does a ‘day in the life’ look like for you?
KW: Going to school, my school is pretty friendly, pretty welcoming with open arms so I mean going there I wouldn’t really be stopped to autograph photos or something like that. I am treated like a normal student, and the friends that I have are pretty open to me as well. They treat me as a normal student, not as some player who has a high profile and someone who has gone to different places around the world. Yeah it’s not really like I’ve been given the special treatment, I’ve been treated like a normal student so I appreciate that.
PI: Talk about your greatest all-time memory on the court
KW: I don’t think I have a greatest all time memory on the court, not one that I know of.
PI: Tell us something about yourself that most people have no idea about.
KW: Most people don’t know that I love cooking shows, that’s one. I mean I’m pretty kept to myself, so I don’t really have any sort of secret thing that most people don’t know about.
PI: What are four words that best describe Kijani Wright?
KW: Tall. Chill. Introvert. Fun.
PI: What would you say is your biggest motivation or inspiration?
KW: My mom is my motivation, I think. She’s sacrificed so much, she’s helping my dreams to come true, so my motivation would be her. The thing that I want to do best would be to give back to her and so going to the gym and having that mindset to give back to her really pushes me. Getting a better living situation, I want to give her the opportunity that she didn’t have when she was a little kid that I can give her once I reach my dream, so that sort of thing.
PI: Describe what you imagine your life will look like 10 years from now.
KW: I don’t even know what life is going to be like a year from now. 10 years from now, that’s a long time — hopefully I have facial hair [laughs]. But yeah I mean I definitely want to see myself in the NBA 10 years from now, having a successful career, helping out family-wise, giving back to my community. But, yeah that’s something I definitely envision in 10 years, even smaller than 10 years, but for the sake of the question in 10 years for sure the NBA.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you want to be remembered for?
KW: I think I want to be remembered as the person who helped better other people. Any way possible with basketball, on the court or off the court. I think that’d be something I want to be remembered by, just helping people.
PI: Is there anything you’d like to say on the current events in today’s world?
KW: I think something has to be done to change the social injustices, biases, racism, and all of the things that are happening today and has been happening for years. I think there has to be some sort of collective agreement, there has to be equality for sure. I don’t know if we’re ever going to get there because of how long there has been social injustice and these problems in the world, but there has to be something where we all work together as one.
Watch the full interview with Kijani, here