I...never wanted anybody to label me as ‘just’ an athlete.
BA in Sociology,
If you know the name Special K Daley, then you know the impressive skills of this 6’5” basketball player and entertainer for the Harlem Globetrotters – you may have seen his 2002 Gatorade commercial with Michael Jordan; or perhaps you saw one of his appearances on television shows like “Hell’s Kitchen” or “The Bachelorette.” If you know the name Special K Daley, then you know that Kevin Daley has reached celebrity status.
But did you know he also engaged in discussion forums and wrote papers as an Ashford University* online student? Just like any other person, this celebrity needed and wanted a college education.
Daley, of Dallas, Texas, became a professional basketball player in 2000 and retired from the Globetrotters in 2014 after 10 years as team captain. In that time, he traveled to more than 60 countries. But he was always more than a ball player – he’s also a motivational speaker and an author. He takes it as a personal mission to “motivate and encourage people to greatness.”
In fact, it was his passion for motivating others that made him decide to finish his college education. “I found myself talking a lot about the importance of an education in my motivational speeches and one day I thought to myself, ‘How can I speak on education if, when I had the chance to get an education, I didn’t take advantage of it?’ I also never wanted anybody to label me as ‘just’ an athlete.”
Of all the universities Daley researched, Ashford University accepted the most transfer credits, and it allowed him to complete his assignments online. “Being able to do my assignments on the computer was very important to me because my schedule was very demanding.” That’s an understatement! In the year and a half it took Daley to complete his degree, he played 500 games in 25 different countries and 150 US cities racking up over 50,000 miles! “I had to meet deadlines while I was in different countries with different time zones, so sometimes I would be up at crazy hours doing class work.”
The long hours certainly paid off; in May 2010, Daley graduated from Ashford University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at age 33. “Life definitely changed for me as an Ashford graduate. People respect me more and people are inspired by me in ways that I never thought possible; this time, it has nothing to do with basketball!”
To future Ashford graduates, Daley has this advice: “Do not hesitate. Only positive things can come from earning a degree. If I was able to graduate under the conditions I did, then you can do it, too.”
* Ashford University is now the University of Arizona Global Campus