Converse-endorsed skateboarder Kenny Anderson has long loved hoops, especially the UNLV variety.
by Dan Shapiro @danshapiro413
Over the course of his career, Kenny Anderson has skated in an untold number of parks, in an untold number of countries. His experience this past month may have been the raddest, though. “I wanted to do a Huck Finn-type of thing,” says Anderson of his three-week tour atop a floating skate park that traveled from Minnesota to Louisiana along the Mississippi River.
Anderson (no relation to the former NBA player of the same name) had a summer to remember. Aside from skating on water, he also released his KA-ONE shoe with Converse, the iconic brand he loved growing up. We caught up with the native of Las Vegas, NV, to discuss his boarding and balling.
SLAM: Growing up, were you a UNLV fan?
KA: Definitely. My buddies and I, we’d skate all day and always make sure to catch that night’s game. I remember the huge ’91 Duke upset. They’d won all those games except that last one. Vegas back then was such a small town, so that loss was huge. I was 13 or 14 and after the game, my buddies and I hit the streets on our boards. There was this stagnant, eerie quiet, but then a riot broke out if I remember correctly.
SLAM: Did you play basketball growing up?
KA: Religiously, almost. We played tons of pickup games. In between skating, we’d go to my buddy’s house with a hoop and play with his dad. We had our own little rivalries and set teams. I played until I kinda stopped growing.
SLAM: You don’t play now?
KA: No. A lot of friends who are pro skaters are in basketball leagues, which is awesome. I tried to get in one last year but couldn’t figure it out with my schedule.
SLAM: You’re an L.A. guy now, so do you root for the Clippers or Lakers?
KA: I’m a Lakers guy and appreciate Kobe for what he does on the court. My travel schedule really keeps me out of the loop though. On the road, I’m not really watching TV much. But when I’m around it, I definitely enjoy watching.
SLAM: Do you have a favorite player, past or present?
KA: Growing up, pre-skateboarding, my guy was Dr. J. He reminds me of sitting with my dad watching the Sixers when I was 8 or 9 and he was doing his thing. I actually did a commercial with him, and heading to that shoot I was, like, calling my dad and texting my brothers. I couldn’t believe being around him. I’m almost never like that around celebrities, but he’s totally a childhood hero. And the guys on those Rebels teams. I was a big Anderson Hunt fan back in the day and obviously LJ. When I first went on Converse, with the Grandmama stuff, I’d see all the posters and whatever in the hallways, wondering if I’d run into him. It was funny to think that we had something in common besides Vegas.
SLAM: They’re obviously pretty different sports, but do you see any similarities between basketball and skateboarding?
KA: One hundred percent. Of course, they’re totally different sports in a sense. But with skating and basketball, for me, it’s all about the style. Anyone can make a three or dunk. But it’s the way you turn, the way you push the boundaries. The guys with the style are the ones who always grabbed my attention, which brings me back to Dr. J. All that control and style on his dunks was incredible.