AOTM: Kenneth Thai

Nadia Lee, Staff Writer

Dribbling into his last semester of his high school career, senior Kenneth Thai is determined to finish in the paint strong without looking back.

Thai currently plays for the Diamond Bar High School varsity boys basketball team as its shooting guard. Although he was placed in the junior varsity team during his freshman year, Thai was moved up to varsity the following year and has been playing there ever since. By the time he entered the varsity team his sophomore year, he was the youngest player on the team.

“[It] was pretty cool playing with everyone older than me. I was able to learn a lot from them and ever since then, I just kept on growing,” Thai said.

Thai has been playing basketball for ten years ever since the day his father introduced the game to him.

“My dad inspired me at first because he started just playing around with me and my brother, and then it just got really fun for me. So that’s when I started taking it seriously,” Thai said.

His father was not the only one who sparked Thai’s passion for basketball. His brother—former Brahma varsity basketball player Daniel Thai—also supported him on and off the court.

“My brother has always been playing basketball with me whether it’s been in high school or just out in my neighbor’s backyard. He inspired me to do better because we always had these competitions and just to be with him is a good feeling because I’ll always have someone there for me,” Thai stated.

Playing for the high school’s basketball team was not the only time he dribbled on the court. Thai has also been playing outside of school for the Suburban Optimist Club with his friends since eight grade.

“I play because I enjoy playing [basketball] and without it, I don’t know what I’d be doing right now,” Thai said.

Thai is also the Vice President for the club Hoops of Hope, a DBHS club that coordinates basketball events such as the three verses three activity held every year in the gym, aiming to raise and donate money to charity.

Thai’s talent on the court isn’t the only sport he excels in. Ever since his freshmen year, Thai decided to participate in the 100 meter sprint, high jump and triple jump for the DBHS’s track and field team. He was named Rookie of the Year during his freshman year and achieved the most points as a sophomore.

“Well, what made me start track was just like a little friendly competition and it turned out that I was pretty good at it. I can jump pretty high so I wanted to just try things out,” Thai stated.

Despite attending high school as a student athlete throughout his four years, Thai does not plan on playing basketball or participating in track in the collegiate level. Instead, due to his extreme interest in the medical field, Thai aspires to become a physical therapist with a bio medical degree at UCLA, UCSD, or UCI.

“It’s [basketball] not my main focus. My dad’s a doctor and I always wanted to be like him,” Thai said.

Unlike the past two years where the varsity boys basketball team’s season abruptly ended short in the first two rounds in CIF, Thai hopes on going even further in the playoffs and finish his last year with no regrets.

“I feel like for my last year, I need it to be my best year because for the past few years, I haven’t been leaving everything on the court. So when I leave, I want to look back with no regrets,” Thai said.