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Sunshine in Cairo: Harlem Globetrotters’ Kay West on Her Come-Up 

 The Harlem Globetrotters bring their bouncing joy to the streets of Cairo

Image courtesy Zeina Abaza

The Harlem Globetrotters brought their bouncing joy to the streets of Cairo, and ELLE Egypt caught up with one of their shining stars, Kay “Sunshine” West for a Q&A. In her first year with the world-famous team, Kay Sunshine West is already making waves. Here, she shares her journey, inspirations, and the unique experience of being a Globetrotter.

Can you share how you became a Harlem Globetrotter?

My father is a security guard at a middle school where I’m from. He was just in the right place at the right time. I always say it had to be nothing but God. He was speaking to me, or speaking about me to a gentleman about how I was currently training to play overseas. And there was a recruiter for the Globetrotters in the room at the time who overheard him, kind of stepped in, and said, I think I have something better for your daughter. She’s interested. And went out to try out probably two weeks later. They called me the next day after the tryout, and there I was.

Can you tell us about your favorite part of being on the Harlem Globetrotters?

Image courtesy Zeina Abaza

My favorite part about being on the team is, one, that I get to see the world, and just the fact that my job is being able to put smiles on so many people’s faces.

Who has been your role model throughout your journey?

It has always been my older brother. Of course, I’ve always been in tune with women’s basketball and just other women athletes. I always loved Skylar Diggins, Candice Parker, but my brother was definitely my role model. He was probably one of the hardest workers I’ve ever known, and he’s just a great person.

He teaches you that life is bigger than basketball. So it’s just when you’re doing whatever you’re doing, do it with a bigger purpose than just dribbling a basketball.

What message do you want to convey to younger girls?

Image courtesy Zeina Abaza

I just want to show younger girls that, first of all, girls can do anything. Don’t ever forget it. And you can do anything by just being you. You’ll see me out there at the game tomorrow, and I’m going to have a little bit of makeup on, some sparkles, and a bow in my hair. Just show that you can be feminine, you can be yourself and still compete with these men and still be in a, you know, a man’s dominant environment and still be you.

How has your upbringing shaped you as a player?

I think my upbringing has shaped me into the player that I am today, just because my favorite thing to say is, ‘life be lifin’’. A lot of things happen, and you face a lot of adversity. Sometimes you get knocked down so hard you really don’t think you’re going to get back up. I’ve been proven time and time again that if you stay true to yourself, you keep working at it, everything’s going to work out in one way or another.

What sets the Harlem Globetrotters apart from other basketball teams?

Image courtesy Zeina Abaza

I think the main difference is just the fact that we have the ability to make people smile every night, to be able to not focus so much on the basketball aspect, but more on connecting with the people, connecting with the audience. I’m just trying to do something bigger than basketball every night.

How has your experience been in Cairo so far?

I think you guys are really nice, great people. And it is beautiful. And I mean, I got to see the pyramids and ride a camel. Never thought I could do that. So, come on.

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