Essex County's 'Patch Hero' Honored at Nets Game
West Orange resident, basketball coach takes center court Wednesday night
All eyes turned to center court at the Prudential Center in Newark last night as one of the community's unsung heroes garnered the spotlight.
West Orange resident Paul King was named Essex County's "Patch Hero" during the Nets winning game against the Toronto Raptors.
King, 37, was introduced during the game's second time out, as an announcer touted his many contributions to the community.
A seven-year resident of West Orange and a father of three, King spends his free time volunteering at the Montclair YMCA, runs a basketball camp in East Orange (PEK IMPACT) and works with a solar energy company to bring solar development to urban communities.
King also mentors young high school athletes and not only helps them go to college but also raises their game on the court.
"I talk to them about life too," King told Patch. "I just want to help out the kids in any way."
His friends, family and even some of the young athletes he's mentored proudly cheered him on as he smiled for the cameras on the court.
King said his parents were both ministers in a church and since he was young, he used to help his mother do outreach programs in Newark. He quickly took charge of the youth ministry and began dealing with urban city youth at a young age.
He went on to play basketball at Rider University in Lawrenceville and upon graduating, began coaching and individually mentoring students on the side.
On Wednesday, King was featured on the JumboTron screens and awarded a Patch gift bag.
Patch partnered with the Nets to honor local heroes for the Nets 35th and final season in New Jersey.
Congratulations to our Patch Hero!