A number of new sports are set to make their Olympic debut in Tokyo. One of them is 3x3 basketball, and Kareem Maddox, a Los Angeles native and Princeton alum, is expected to play a key role for Team USA as they look to qualify for the competition.
As part of our preparation for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, NBC Olympics sent questionnaires to a wide range of athletes to learn more about their lives on and off the field of play.
Here’s some of what we found out about Kareem Maddox:
Tell us about your family.
Father: Alan Maddox
Alan is from Los Angeles. He's an avid traveler and world explorer. He has been to every Olympics since the 1980s. He gets very immersed in the Games, often volunteering in the press center.
Mother: Iman Zaki
Iman was born in Sudan, to a Sudanese father and British mother. She has lived and worked all over the world.
Brother: Jamal Maddox
Jamal is another avid traveler. He has spent most of his time abroad in China, Taiwan and Japan.
Parent influence on athletic career?
They were very influential. They always encouraged me to participate in a wide range of sports. They always placed academics above athletics, but when they realized that I could be a good basketball player they encouraged me to pursue that, as long as I found ways to stay an informed and engaged citizen.
Do you have another job?
I am a producer for Spotify's podcasting arm, Gimlet Media. At its core it is radio production, and I have a background producing and hosting for NPR-member stations. It's a separate professional pursuit. I balance work and training by getting up early to work out and staying late to get my job done.
How has your hometown shaped who you are today?
I think being from Los Angeles has just made me a laid back person. I think that LA people are exceptionally good at going with the flow, and evaluating things as they come. Some would argue that they don't have a plan. I would counter that "the best laid plans of mice and men go often askew" and that only by being open and flexible can you make the best decision at any given time.
Top spot in your hometown?
I always tell people to visit the Santa Monica Pier and Griffith Park Observatory. The LACMA in Mid-City is another good place to visit in LA.
How much time do you train? Hoe much do you sleep?
Training, around three hours. Sleeping, around eight hours.
Typical training day?
I get up at 6 AM to work out before work. I then get to work at about 10 AM and work until about 7 PM. Then I try to go play basketball.
What's your favorite workout?
I love shooting workouts for basketball. Nothing is better than making a lot of shots.
What's the most grueling workout you've ever done?
To this day, the toughest workout I've ever had was one in college my freshman year. It was a basketball workout that consisted of making 100 shots by going full court coast to coast, while making dribble moves along the way.
Earliest memory of basketball?
I remember watching the Chicago Bulls of the early '90s. It was special.
Earliest memory of watching the Olympics?
My father took me to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. We were in the stadium when Michael Johnson broke the 200m world record. I was 6, but remember his gold shoes, and how he seemed to run completely upright. I also remember going with my dad and his friend and son, and running on a track where they could replicate the photo finish.
Specific breakthrough moment?
When they announced 3x3 would be an Olympic sport in 2016. I knew I had no choice but to go for it.
I would consider the teams from Serbia our biggest rivals. They have dominated 3x3 for a long time, and if we want to be the best we will always, most likely, have to beat one of the teams from there.
What do you watch to unwind?
My guilty pleasure is The Millionaire Matchmaker.
Do you have a nickname?
People just call me Reem.
Do you have any fears?
I'm really not a fan of bugs. It often puts me in a bind because I hate killing any living things, and that extends to bugs, but I just wish they would leave me alone.
What is on your bucket list?
See every country. Attend the Met Gala.
Advice you'd give a young player?
Be a good teammate, and do one or two things really well.