The holiday season is always a busy time for basketball teams, but that doesn’t mean the players and coaches don’t have an affinity for family traditions in December.
Long Beach State men’s basketball captain Colin Slater and women’s basketball sophomore Justina King are both far from home this month. Slater is from New Orleans and King is a Toronto native, so they’re both feeling nostalgic recently while starting the season with their Beach basketball families.
This week we talked to Slater and King for the LB Fee Show podcast about recent games and their holiday memories.
Episode 45 – Top 5 Storylines Of 2019 And Basketball Check – In With Justina King And Colin Slater by lbsuathletics
JJ, Mike and Andy run down the Top 5 storylines from 2019 at Long Beach State, and then we check in on the basketball season with a pair of tremendous interviews with Colin Slater and Justina King. Good episode to finish out the year!
Question: Justina, is the holiday season different in Canada?
King: Well you can start with the weather. At home it’s snowing right now, and here it’s still sunny, and you can wear shorts.
Q: So, which do you prefer?
King: I’ve had about 18 good years of the snow. That’s enough for me. I like the sun.
Q: Canada also celebrates Thanksgiving on a different day, right?
King: Yes. Ours is the second Sunday in October. We get that Monday off, though.
Q: What else is strange about California Christmas for you?
King: The palm trees that people put lights on. Where I’m from we have evergreens with snow on them. I know we sing the songs but at home it’s more of the Christmas vibe. And also my family is at home. So obviously that’s a big factor on the holidays.
Q: Colin, how do you celebrate the holidays?
Slater: For me it’s been a lot of basketball during the holidays, but for me and my family we do this dance video every year. My teammate Breyon Jackson was in the video last year. We’re going to do another one. We’ll find a way.
Q: Like an MTV video?
Slater: We usually pick a Christmas song and we have our own individual dance moves, and then we have a choreographed segment. It’s really cool.
Q: Who started this tradition?
Slater: I think it was my sister. She’s a dancer who owns her own dance company. It’s legendary. It really is.
Q: Do you miss New Orleans?
Slater: Of course. Every day. I miss the food and the environment, but I don’t miss the humidity. I think about it all the time and I understand what it takes to bring something back to my city.
Q: You were one of four LBSU players to score double figures in the loss at USC on Sunday. Despite your overall record, do you think your team is improving?
Slater: I really do, especially (at USC) we played really good basketball. We played as a team defensively. Of course it wasn’t a perfect game, and it didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to, but we’ve taken the steps we need to take in order to get to where we want to be.
Q: Justina, you and your teammates played No. 3 Oregon last weekend, and Kobe Bryant was court side for the game. What was that like?
King: During shoot around everyone was saying Kobe might be coming. I was like, “Okay, whatever, why would Kobe be at the Walter Pyramid?” and then I saw him walk in and that was really exciting. Kobe was one of the greatest of all times. To have him watching us was a crazy experience.
Q: How do you feel about this season?
King: I think we’re still developing. Last year, we were in a dip that we couldn’t get ourselves out of, but this year I think we’re making strides to becoming what we want to be. I think our mentality is different this year. Last year, we were all new. We were basically run by freshmen and sophomores. Because of experience we’re a lot more calm this year and the chemistry is better. We believe we can do something really special with our group.”