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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  K-12 education

‘Love Dad’ and basketball: Lakeside (Plummer-Worley) senior Kenyon Spotted Horse racks up accolades while keeping father’s memory near

UPDATED: Fri., June 4, 2021

On the basketball court, Kenyon Spotted Horse’s shoes carry a special message: “Love Dad.”

After his father died four years ago, Lakeside (Plummer-Worley) varsity basketball captain Spotted Horse wanted to find a way to honor him, so he wrote on the shoes he plays in almost every day.

Since he started playing basketball in kindergarten, the 18-year-old senior has consistently been a leader on his team. But it’s how he carries himself off the court that makes him what principal Jennifer Hall calls “the highlight of Lakeside.”

“He encompasses resiliency,” she said.

After his father died, Spotted Horse said he struggled to focus on school and basketball – a sport he had been playing since kindergarten. He missed a week of practice to travel for his father‘s funeral.

Before his first game back, Spotted Horse said he was getting dressed and broke down crying. His friends comforted him.

“This game is for him,” they said.

Spotted Horse went on to score more than 20 points during that game.

Along with the message on his shoes, Spotted Horse has a tattoo on his forearm: a feather with a basketball that says “Dad.”

Basketball has always been a way for Spotted Horse to process any hardship, said Hall, who has known him almost his whole life. She calls it his “counseling.”

“I’ve never known Kenyon to not play basketball,” she said. “He lives and breathes basketball.”

For Spotted Horse, the game has taught him about leadership, teamwork and communication, and it’s brought him his closest friends. His favorite part of the game is how challenging and competitive it can be.

He’s quickly risen through the ranks, receiving honors such as being selected an Idaho Player of the Year, state MVP, all-league team member and others.

But Hall said he has never let the awards in basketball go to his head.

“There’s so much to admire about him,” she said. “I find him inspirational every day.”

Spotted Horse said he struggled to stay motivated and complete his school work after his father died. His mother, teachers and friends started pushing him.

“Now I am where I’m at now,” he said. After graduation, Spotted Horse plans to play basketball for a community college and eventually make his way to a university. Right now he’s looking at Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Montana.

Before then, Spotted Horse will walk across the stage in his cap and gown to accept his diploma.

“I’m most excited to look at my family during graduation and know I made them proud,” he said.

Laurel Demkovich's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.

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