The Student News Site of South Windsor High School

The Bobcat Prowl

The Bobcat Prowl

The Student News Site of South Windsor High School

The Bobcat Prowl

The King of Hearts

South Windsor High School Senior London King celebrates after clinching a spot in the state playoff tournament.
Eli Schwartzman
South Windsor High School Senior London King celebrates after clinching a spot in the state playoff tournament.

When a kid goes outside in his driveway and starts shooting a basketball, they imagine the bright lights of an NBA arena, hitting a game-winning shot to win a championship, or making a highlight reel level play. Something they never consider is the nightmare of a life-altering off-court problem, but that became all too real for South Windsor’s London King.

King is a senior at South Windsor High School. A standout athlete on the basketball court and a dedicated student in the classroom. He is set to graduate with his fellow seniors this June; however, just two years ago, walking at graduation was his smallest concern.

When he was a sophomore attending Northwest Catholic High School in West Hartford, King was playing at a pre-season basketball practice for the basketball team. While running down the court, he began to feel dizzy. He recalled waking up about 13 seconds later, before he was rushed to the hospital. After an examination from a cardiologist, it was revealed that King had suffered a heart attack. 

The immediate panic only worsened, as it was discovered that this was actually Kings’ second heart attack. What was misdiagnosed as a seizure when it occurred, the collapse King suffered while playing basketball at the age of 10 was his first heart attack. With this, London would need heart surgery at the young age of 15 if he wanted to ever play his favorite sport again.

After accepting the surgery, King had to sit out his entire sophomore season. Everyone knew how hard the recovery would be, but something never lost was London’s positivity, which his father Lydelle says is his super power.

“When things didn’t go his way, when he endured setbacks, he always remained positive,” Lydelle said.

In the following summer, King made the decision to transfer to South Windsor High School, going back to his hometown school to finish out his final two years. Despite not playing a game of basketball since his freshman year, King would get the green light to return, earning a spot on the team as well as in the starting lineup.

After averaging 15 points, three rebounds, and three assists in his junior season, King received a lot of doubt and hate from peers who deemed him to be “overrated,” but that just guided him to work unbelievably hard for his final year. Unfortunately for him, there would be no smooth sailing.

During the off-season following his junior campaign, more heart trouble would be brought to King. A malfunction in his defibrillator required a very sudden second heart surgery. 

My message to people is to make the most of every moment, because it could be gone in an instant, and that’s something I live by.

— London King

Kings’ mother, Haley Brooke-King, described the pain she felt during her son’s heart trouble, saying “There is nothing worse than seeing your child hurt, being diagnosed with something as dangerous as life-threatening heart arrhythmia and going through two heart surgeries.”

Yet again, King’s spirit and positivity never waivered.

“Having gone through what I went through, it made me look at life in a more positive way. I value every moment and opportunity I have and I don’t take anything for granted,” London King told The Prowl.

Following another strong recovery, King was once again cleared to play basketball. Prior to the year, he was denied a request to reclass by the CIAC, which his father calls a complete “robbery.” With his senior season on deck, his last chance to cement a legacy, and other’s doubt at an all time high, the hometown kid did not disappoint.

King dominated on the court, finishing the season averaging 22 points, five rebounds, and seven assists per game. In addition, he helped lead the Bobcats to their first playoff bid since 2016 and was rewarded with CCC all-conference honors.

Reflecting on his story, King said, “If I can play basketball after having two heart surgeries, I believe nothing can stop me, and I think that’s the reason I play with so much passion.” 

Something that King has never had to doubt is his parents’ love. Haley Brooke-King stated that “London is my hero. He’s the strongest human I have ever known and I’m so proud to call him my son.” 

London King walks out on senior night with his parents, Lydelle and Haley, and two siblings, Brooklyn and Dallas. (Eli Schwartzman)

Lydelle King added on, saying “To watch him have the success that he has had and make this amazing comeback makes me so proud to be his father.”

His parents were the two people that always remained by London’s side through all his lowest moments, and now get the privilege to be with him at his highest point, which will certainly only grow higher.

King still has decisions to make about his future, but plans to attend a preparatory school next year before hopefully going to play basketball in college.

No matter what game or opponent King is faced with in the future, he will already have won; winning the game of life, and coming out the other side a stronger and tougher person. 

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Eli Schwartzman
Eli Schwartzman, Web Manager
Sophmore Eli Schwartzman is the web editor for The Bobcat Prowl. Schwartzman enjoys sports photography, and is regularly attending local sporting events with his camera to take pictures. He has a love for sports, both watching and playing. His favorites to watch are college football and the MLB, while his favorite sport to play is baseball. Outside of school, you can find Eli at the baseball fields, taking pictures at a sporting event, or hanging out with his friends.