Rising UZ Basketball Sensation Chiimba Tashinga King Jr Eyes Pro Career in Basketball Africa League and Beyond

At the age of 22, JBC center Chiimba Tashinga King Jr made a significant impact in the qualifiers for Africa's premier men's club basketball championship, the Basketball Africa League (BAL), showcasing skills that many of his peers can only dream of.

King Jr's decision to pursue basketball over the more popular sport of volleyball in his country was influenced by his father, Chiimba King Snr, a pioneer of basketball in Marondera, one of Zimbabwe's affluent farming towns.

A second-year Disaster Management student at the University of Zimbabwe, King Jr celebrated his recent birthday on the sidelines of the East Division Elite 16 qualifiers in Johannesburg. Despite the challenges faced by his team in South Africa after dominating the group D qualifiers in late October, King Jr has been a standout player, earning praise for his remarkable contributions to the Addison Chiware-coached side.

"Playing on this stage is truly an honour. I am just happy to be here. It has been a treacherous journey for our team. We had to contend with financial struggles, making many sacrifices on our way up to this moment, but the trouble was worth it," shared Chiimba, revealing that the team resorted to fundraising through GoFundMe accounts at one point.

The JBC Super Six league champion acknowledges that this is the biggest stage he has played on to date, and the experience aligns well with his ambition to use the sport to make a positive impact on the lives of his community back home.

"The experience and the atmosphere are different, and I know for a fact that when we go back home, we will be a different team. Among players my age, I will be the tormentor," King Jr remarked with a chuckle.

Reflecting on his journey into basketball, King Jr explained, "I went to volleyball-dominated primary and high schools, and being a tall student, the teachers made attempts to have me switch, but I never bowed to the pressure. I would always be drawn back to the court as volleyball did not give me the kind of joy that basketball does."

Basketball, for King Jr, has been more than just a sport. "Basketball has done a lot for me, as cliché as that may sound. It has been an escape from the ills of youth and has allowed me to study and learn about life while doing what I love most," he continued.

Having made his debut in the Zimbabwean top-tier league with JBC in form 3, King Jr had a brief stint with Leopards Academy and his college team before returning to JBC in the 2023 season, reuniting with coach Chiware, whom he considers a father figure.

His drive to achieve more in the sport is fueled by the desire to accomplish what his father, King Snr, couldn't and to pave the way for young players, including his only sister, who is also a basketball enthusiast.

"My dad is a pioneer in Marondera. He was a menace and often taunts me about it, which lights a fire in me to do better," said the 6ft 6in center. "He is one of my biggest supporters who is always there cheering me on and correcting my game. I have always looked up to him, and I want to achieve what he could but never got the chance – to play at the highest possible level and opening doors for others. This would make him more proud."

With aspirations beyond the Zimbabwean borders, the 22-year-old has issued a plea to clubs across the continent and beyond, believing that advancing his career internationally will contribute to the growth of the sport in his home country and open doors for more players to secure professional deals.

"JBC will always be home, but any opportunity to showcase my talent elsewhere is highly welcome. In addition to getting paid for something I am passionate about, this would also mean making new connections and contacts, and what I can achieve with that is more important," King Jr expressed.

While acknowledging that 22 might be considered late for scouting by major leagues like the NBA, King Jr remains resolute in his commitment to improvement.

"That I was averaging 18 points in the group qualifiers, and I haven't realized such numbers in Joburg bothers me a little bit," he confessed. "Playing as a center here is challenging as I am undersized compared to other big men. The advantage, however, is that I am not under-skilled. I just need to work on my aggression and on my left-hand ball handling, then I can easily average 30 the next time I am on this stage," he added, emphasizing his shift in focus from being the best in his country to aiming for recognition on the continent and competing on larger stages.

*Source: FIBA

Don't just read, become a part of the story! Contribute a coffee to Greedysouth's journey NOW!
Mungwadzi Godwin

twitterinstagramI like sharing positive stories about Zimbabweans at home and abroad. I also write articles on Personal Finance, Fashion, Music, and Tech. Let's connect!

Post a Comment (0)
Previous Post Next Post