If you follow pro basketball but are not already familiar with Houston Rockets’ player K.J. McDaniels, get ready. The 22-year-old basketball player from Mobile, Alabama, proved that patience and determination are all you need to succeed as he took a risky, non-guaranteed deal during his rookie year that paid off big time. McDaniels was initially drafted out of Clemson by the Philadelphia 76ers, and signed a one-year deal that could’ve cost him his career if he didn’t play well. But McDaniels’ game was so good that he was picked up the Houston Rockets and signed a three-year, $10 million deal with them this summer.
I recently sat down with the blooming NBA star, and he had a lot to say about basketball, believing in yourself and his appreciation of BlackBerry.
“Basketball is my life,” says McDaniels with passion and sincerity in his eyes. The young player eats, sleeps and breathes basketball and doesn’t plan on switching up his routine anytime soon. The sport is a chance for him to have a career that he loves, take care of his family and give back to his community.
“I’m really family oriented, laid back and serious about my job. Family is my number one motivation because of how we grew up in Alabama. I come from a very poor place and have seen a lot of people struggle because they didn’t have the proper help or resources.” Knowing this, McDaniels has vowed to stay on top of his game so that he’ll be able to do more for his relatives and other people in need.
When McDaniels isn’t on the court, he spends his free time watching Jurassic World and playing with his five dogs who seem to love his BlackBerry devices just as much as he does.
(Learn how the BlackBerry Passport is also a slam dunk for these users: celebrity chef Tyler Florence, a top fashion blogger, an international video game company executive, a truck driving social media specialist, a Vegas music promoter, a technology journalist, a heart surgeon, a tech startup founder, a sales director, a senior hospital executive, a manufacturing executive and a non-profit founder.)
McDaniels: My first phone was the BlackBerry Pearl and I literally thought it was the best thing ever created. My mom bought it for me and that’s another reason why it’s very dear to my heart.
I loved the structure of the phone, keyboard, trackball, ease of customization and the fact that when I pulled it out nobody else had one. Having a “different” phone was a big deal for me back in high school. But it was really a great phone and I loved it so much that I stayed with the brand and kept getting BlackBerry devices year after year.
Watts: You’re currently using the BlackBerry Passport. How does it help you on and off the court?
McDaniels: It’s not that much help on the court, aside from keeping my mind clear knowing that all the business I need to handle and communications I need to manage have already been taken care of. Which in the long run allows me to focus more on my game.
Off the court, I stay on top of notifications from friends, family and business. My BlackBerry recently helped me find my first house via a real estate app.
I use custom LED settings to have different types of alerts from loved ones, social media and important messages like those from the real estate agent when I was house hunting. With one glance I’ll know by the color of the notification if it’s something that can wait or needs my immediate response. The iPhone doesn’t let you do that.
Music is a big part of my life and I listen to it right before my games to help me stay focused. It’s easy to organize all of my tunes on the Passport so I can always find the right song or playlist to get me in my zone.
I enjoy managing all of my social media accounts so I can keep up with the #32Nation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The camera is great, but I actually use my Classic to take and store all of my pictures.
The Passport is just a great device that helps me easily stay in touch with life outside of basketball.
Watts: What are your favorite features?
McDaniels: I appreciate the setup of the phone, as well as learning new tips and new ways to use it every time I interact with it.
The keyboard is essential. I don’t have to worry about the touchscreen going out and not being able to communicate.
I love that the lock screen lets me reply back to messages without unlocking it and that it has various pattern combinations to get into the phone. My phone isn’t easy to hack into like the iPhone. I also love that the Passport uses media cards which keeps all of my business private without worrying about an iCloud hack.
WiFi calling is very reliable and never goes out of service. I can stay in contact with anybody no matter where I am.
Other things I enjoy are the Blackberry Hub because it keeps me on top of everything, I like that I can have multiple windows open on my device, and BlackBerry ID keeps all of the stuff together even if I need to use a different device. The way you listen to voicemails on the Passport is pretty cool, the map app is really reliable, and I have all the apps I need thanks to BlackBerry World and the Amazon Appstore.
Lastly, Password Keeper calms my nerves knowing that my device is secure regardless of how much I use it for communication and store my personal information on it.
Watts: I take it that privacy and security are important to you?
McDaniels: Yes, security and privacy are a big deal to me and you won’t get this type of protection on another device. You can even hide your apps so people don’t see all of your business if they take a glance at your phone.
Watts: Does your Passport stand out in the locker room?
McDaniels: Most definitely! I just convinced a rookie teammate to get a Passport because he was so impressed with mine. No other players have them, just us two, our general manager and a handful of other people within the organization.
Watts: How would you rate it?
McDaniels: What’s the highest rating? Whatever that number is I give it that.
Pricing and Availability
Ready to put the world at your fingertips with a BlackBerry Passport? Get a factory-unlocked BlackBerry Passport from our global shopping portal, ShopBlackBerry.com (check with your local carrier for device compatibility):
It’s also at Amazon, and at AT&T for $499.99 unsubsidized or starting at $16.67/mo. with a 2-year contract. Rogers and Telus carry the BlackBerry Passport in Canada.