we’ve got a certain swag to us”
Kofi Josephs’ relationship with basketball began at primary school when his teacher handed him a ball for the first time. Instinctively, Kofi threw the ball which hit the backboard and dropped straight into the net below. And just like that, his love of the game was ignited.
In his 18 years of playing, from learning the ropes at playtime to competing in the British Basketball League for Worcester Wolves, Aston-born Kofi has racked up some notable memories, including competing at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games:
“I’ve had a bunch of career-defining moments, but one I would say was not making England under 15s. I got cut on day one. That knocked my confidence and that was tough for me. I had to make a decision to stick with it or to move on. I stuck with it and the next time I made the England team was for the Commonwealth Games about ten years later. That was the most defining moment in my career. It just shows that I stuck with it and kept working consistently for so many years. I ended up making it for the Gold Coast which is a super high level.”
▲ Team England Basketball player Kofi made his Commonwealth Games debut in 2018.
His devotion to the game remains today, although Kofi is happy to admit that basketball is not his only passion. His other interests play an active role in improving his confidence and performance on court:
“I want my body to feel good but my mind to feel just as good too. With basketball, I’m doing what I need to improve, but I’m happy to have the chance to develop stuff off the court too. [In the past year] I’ve had some time to write a book, work on art pieces, progress my mental health business, and I do modelling too, so I get the chance to explore all my other talents.”
“Basketball gave me a platform and a place to showcase my talents, yet the higher level I got in my profession, it also became a hindrance too. When you reach a certain level, you’ve got to really dedicate your whole life to it. But I don’t only wanna be an athlete, I can be so much more. I think because of my tenacity and my other interests, it’s helped me be a better player.”
“I love Brummies.
Wherever I go, you know where I’m from and I represent it.”
The 29-year-old’s success in the game has allowed him to travel the globe yet despite currently living in Manchester, Kofi is a Brummie at heart…
“Birmingham isn’t just my home, it defines me as a person. A lot of my core values and beliefs are engrained in me because of Birmingham. The people are so diverse. I love Brummies. Wherever I go, you know where I’m from and I represent it. We’re just so diverse and so multicultural, we’ve got a certain swag to us. I’m proud of it. I definitely want people to know I’m from Birmingham because I’m not ashamed of my city. Some of the experiences I’ve had growing up – I bring those to the court, or to my art or my dress sense – and that’s cause I’m from Birmingham. Birmingham is me and I show it in everything that I do.”
So it is only natural that Kofi is bursting with excitement for when the eyes of the world will be on his city during Birmingham 2022:
“Birmingham has a lot to offer and it will be great to let people know about the diversity, the culture we have and how talented the young people are. They’re our future. We have such a creative and great sporting history and the kids are following that.
“Our city has so much to offer but doesn’t always get the positive publicity in the way that other cities might. So, this will be a really good way to finally have the opportunity, on a world stage, to show what we can do.”
Kofi Josephs features in Birmingham 2022’s latest campaign, joined by other elite athletes who each have an association with the West Midlands.