When King came to the United States 20 years ago, he did so with a dream of playing in the NBA. It made sense. The 6’9” athlete had a body built for basketball. He towered above his friends and teammates, making buckets look easy.
The Gambia native was well on his way to the pros when he suffered a devastating knee injury. He was lost, with his professional basketball dream - gone. Without basketball, he became inactive, gaining weight without any motivation to return to physical activity. His 9-5 job didn’t help. One visit to the doctor changed that. Tipping the scales at nearly 400 pounds, King, who was 27 at the time, was told he needed to do something, or he wouldn’t make it to his 30th birthday.
That visit to the doctor's office signaled a turning point.
It’s when King’s weight loss journey - and love affair with running - began.
He started by walking. Then slowly ramped up to running. Before he knew it, King was running half marathons and then accelerated to the full.
He’s lost a whopping 190 pounds and that dream of joining the NBA has turned to dreams of being the tallest man to run all of the major marathons around the world. He’s already crossed New York and Chicago off the list.
I run to inspire others and to show people that no matter how you look or how big or small you are, running marathons is something everyone can do if you put your mind to it
In Chicago last fall, King crossed the finish line donning a shirt with the Gambian flag. His home country is never far from his mind. He’s happy to represent Gambia - and to inspire others on his journey. He feels it’s his calling. “I just want to make the world a better place and I’m doing it by running,” King says. “This is what I’m called to do. I’m a prophet in the running world and I’m spreading discernment.”
King has already signed up to run Chicago again next year. In the meantime, he’s hitting the treadmill every day and dreaming even bigger.