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Soul of the Game Undisputed

Updated: Dec 15, 2018

OK let’s just go back in time and agree on one thing.: First, let me ask the question. Where did you take your first shot or play your first game of basketball? I am nearly 100% certain that it happened outdoors as a child. For me it's a certainty that it happened like that.

My game and love affair with basketball began outside on playgrounds, driveways and parks. I dribbled my ball a couple blocks to my elementary school in my ‘hood’ in Costa Mesa, CA....SoCal baby! I loved to play with other friends or even kids I didn’t know but often I was alone and in my own dream world as I honed my God given talent. Shot after shot. Move after move. Fast break after fast break. I took on my b-ball hero’s identities. Hero’s of my childhood were Jerry West and Elgin Baylor of the Lakers. West the logo of the NBA and Baylor who had his iconic hang time moves. I became them when by myself with a ball and an outdoor court with chain nets or in some cases no nets, Lol.

When i swished on a chain net I got the very distinctive loud feed back that all can remember, if you have experienced it you know the sound!

Dave Kiley_dk3_wheelchairbasketball
Dave Kiley, ~10 yr. old standing on the right with a skateboard along with his brothers

Then came the driveway ball. My dad built a hoop and backboard above our garage. It was epic. My dad, a carpenter constructed my first and best hoop ever. I had close friends in the hood who also had their on courts in their driveways. Porch lights allowed us to play into the night or until our parents had enough. The games we shared were epic and to this day I have my own urban legend firmly engraved in my mind on my path of becoming a basketball player: The Clough’s, Seymour’s and the Clark’s all I still refer to as the 'Neighborhood No Goods’ along with the 'Kiley boys' who belonged to this fraternity played relentlessly day and night. The competition was incredible and intense. Game after game, foul after foul and of course the arguing over the right score 😂 !

We were all better than good athletes. All were Catholics who went to St.John the Baptist elementary in Costa Mesa. We all went on to Catholic high schools and and I took flight as Point guard at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Ca and still today are ranked nationally every year.

It was my freshman year when I would wake an hour and a half early before the carpool mom arrived and I’d head to St. John’s a long block away to work on my game and ensure I was going to start.

high school basketball_dk3
Dave Kiley at Mater Dei High School

It was also at this time I became familiar with all the beach courts in SoCal at Capistrano Beach, Laguna Beach , Newport Beach. For solitary shooting or for the infamous pick up games I found with other players in love with that element of ball like me. Just something different and unique about playing on the oceans edge. Street ball tourneys were awesome on Southern Cal. Big time ballers stretching and testing my skills I got hurt right out of high school. Spinal Cord injury before I could entertain any scholarship offers. Are you kidding me, are you serious? Paralyzed really....!!! What about my love affair with ball? C’mon Lord help me out. 🙏

I found myself in Rancho Los Amigos Hospital. Everyone in there was paralyzed, so it didn’t take long to accept I had changed in an instant from walking to a wheelchair. One thing that did not change was my heart for basketball. Basketball was a switch that could not simply just be turned off.

Exposed to the game, played on wheels by one of the greatest ever to play, Ed Owen, Hall of Famer at Rancho, I began to play again. On discharge. I hit my safe haven, the beach courts of SoCal. Great distraction for my new life full of new challenges. Just like starting over as a child I began to play outdoors.

Fast forward to the early 90’s. I had become close friends with Trooper Johnson, now USA Women’s National team coach. He would come down from Northern California as we prepared for the Barcelona' 92 Paralympic Games. We’d rent a room for a few days just a short push to the beach courts at Capo. There we would play, practice and brawl one on one all day with breaks for food and naps and then back at it. Moon light served as our court light and even played at mid

night ! Man we had the bug bad for ball and we both still do.

A SoCal Beach Basketball Court

Another testimony to support my claim of ‘Undisputed’ is on the way from SoCal to San Jose for a National Tournament, I took my son and three nephews up Hwy 395. All the way up we stopped at every outdoor court we saw! Every one was smiling and shot hoops. We played in the rain and even the snow. We were at a court at Tahoe Donner, it was snowing. The boys on the ‘World Fun Tour’ helped get me and my chair over a fence that surrounded the court so we could continue our legacy! Again it was an epic moment of feeling the ’Soul’ and I will never forget it and will always cherish it especially with my son Justin and my nephews.

So enough of my memory lane, but it had to be said to lead you to my NOW.! Here I am today with you reading this, I hope and now 65 years old. My career a distant but great memory all behind me. DK is now into his 16th year of hosting the newly rebranded DK3 events. 3x3 freestyle wheelchair basketball. I’m so in love with the concept and the ‘Soul Of The Game’ of 3x3. So many of you who have played in my DK3 events have fueled my passion. You have told me you how much you love 3x3 and the DK3 format. Thank you!

Today, I am proud to announce that in 2019 DK3 will take place in Dallas (UTA), Mooresville, NC and our candle on the cake will happen on October 12 - 13, 2019 in SoCal. Now in 3 cities! Wow, who knew!

DK3 Venice Beach Veterans Championships
DK3's third city event is set to be in Venice Beach in October 2019 for Veterans.

The DK3 Veterans Venice Beach Championships.

Spectators, apparel, prize money, exposure, and RESPECT for our men and women who have served our country, many with significant loss and now play wheelchair hoops at a crazy high level.This event will carry the message that only the ‘Soul of the Game’ can carry. Lots to be done and sponsors to be recruited but confident I can find and attract the best possible!

No argument it all began outdoors.... undisputed!

‘ It’s not what we have lost it’s what we have gained’.

Peace through Christ and Hoops DK

Contact me if you want to learn about participating or sponsoring DK3.

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