Zariyah King is a junior and guard for the Berkeley High School girls’ varsity basketball team. While she and her family were living in Georgia, they lived across from a basketball court where her brother would take her to play with him. When she moved to Berkeley, her mom started working as a janitor for the Piedmont Recreation Center, so she was able to play for free in their recreation league. She continued to play in middle school. However, it was in high school that her focus on basketball increased, when she learned about scholarship opportunities.
King hopes to be able to play D3 basketball in college at NYU. “I think just the more I watched basketball over the years I started to see myself as a player … and then I was like yeah this is definitely something I want to do,” King said. She began to add her own training sessions with her brother on her off-days and before practices.
While she has had many accomplishments in her career, she considers her greatest accomplishment to be winning most improved player at the banquets, an end-of-year celebration. “That (most improved player award) really hit home for me because I had been training with my brother a lot, and just to see that people were recognizing it too,” said King.
Trey Johnson is an outfielder for the Berkeley High School boys’ varsity baseball team. He has been playing baseball for over 10 years. Despite his dad having played football, Johnson fell in love with baseball at a young age. He knew that he wanted to play in the MLB after seeing Josh Donaldson play for the A’s back in the day. “I remember watching him and I thought I wanna be him when I grow up,” said Johnson.
Johnson reflected on the lack of Black representation in baseball. “I don’t wanna say there’s racial discrimination but I feel like (baseball) is just not as opening for other African Americans,” he said.
Since joining a competitive travel baseball team when he was nine years old, Johnson has had the opportunity to travel all over the country. He has been able to travel with his team to places like New York, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas. He recalls those travel experiences as highlights of his time playing baseball.
Donte Joseph, a sophomore at Berkeley High School, plays guard for the boys’ varsity basketball team. Joseph has been playing basketball his whole life because of his brother. “The main thing that made me get into (basketball) was my older brother because he was like my main inspiration. He was like getting into it, and he was really training, so he just took me under his wing I guess. And I started loving the game,” said Joseph.
He was able to make varsity as a freshman, a huge accomplishment given the competitive nature of the sport. The faster speed of pace found in varsity basketball helped Joseph progress tremendously, as well as his drive to be on the same level as upperclassmen. Joseph is also driven by a desire to support his team. “What motivates me to keep playing is trying to win Berkeley High (School) the state championship,” Joseph said. “That’s what motivates me to keep playing.”
After BHS, Joseph has big goals for his basketball career, including playing college ball and eventually making it to the NBA.