Taylor King was checking in from Miami, a stopover en route to Argentina, where he would join Atenas de Carmen de Patagones in Argentina’s second division. This was early January, a few weeks after he’d played his last game with the G-League’s Agua Caliente Clippers, and seven months after he’d come back to the U.S. from England, where he’d led the BBL’s Leicester Riders to the most successful season in club history.
Playing his first game with Atenas just six days later, King put up 21 points and nine boards in a loss to Platense. It was the sort of immediate impact you might expect from a guy who has played professionally in 10 countries; all the travel, the adjustment to new languages and cultures, none of it seems to faze him. The biggest challenges in King’s life have always had roots closer to home.
If you remember Taylor King at all, it’s most likely as the mid-2000s prep phenom who signed with Duke, transferred to Villanova, and then essentially dropped off the basketball map. I hadn’t thought much of him until last summer, when I stumbled across a profile in a small English newspaper with a headline that referenced his “road to redemption.” That story in the Chester Chronicle detailed a long, dark path—family estrangement, drug use, and derailed potential—from which King had finally emerged.
“From where I started to where I am now,” he says, “it’s been quite a wild ride.”
He’s 29 now, married and a father, and still playing professionally, even if it’s well out of the spotlight. His is a cautionary tale, but also an inspirational one: Yes, life is messy and people screw up. But mistakes can be corrected. Relationships can be fixed. For King, it’s not too late to get it right.