A Biography of Jonathan Kuminga


With roughly one month left into the regular season, it's clear that the secondary MVP of the Warriors' season, alongside Stephen Curry, is Jonathan Kuminga, the 7th overall pick from the 2021 NBA Draft. Though the season started off slowly, a candid, professional conversation between Kuminga and Coach Kerr truly shifted the entire outlook for not just Kuminga, but for the Warriors as a whole. Since that conversation, the Warriors have begun to soar- placing top 5 in both defensive and offensive efficiency since the new year while being firmly over .500 and in contention for the playoffs. With Kuminga's excellent, elevated play during this span, averaging north of 20 points and 5 rebounds per game with over 54% efficiency from the field, he has, understatedly, become a fan favorite among Dub Nation. With that said, let's dive into the backstory behind Jonathan Kuminga's rise to fame. 

Jonathan was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo on October 6th, 2002. Despite the fact that soccer was the predominant sport in Africa during this time, basketball remained in Jonathan's blood- his parents played back in the day, his cousin, Emmanuel Mudiay, plays for the Utah Jazz, his other cousin, Omari Gudul, currently plays professionally in Romania, and his older brother played at Texas Tech University. Thus, growing up, Kuminga played both soccer and basketball, but as he became older, he developed a greater affinity towards basketball, partially because his physical tools were becoming too overbearing for the traditional soccer player. To follow his passions and gain greater exposure to basketball, he made the bold move to immigrate to the States, leaving his family behind, at the age of 13. In an interview, Kuminga said, "We used to go around the country, so leaving my parents wasn’t that hard. The last day I heard I was going to come over, I made that decision. I was like, I gotta man up. I gotta grow up. I’m going to see them one day, so I just gotta come over and continue to reach my goal.”

Kuminga immediately reaped the benefits of transferring to the States to play basketball. As a mere freshman, he was a quality rotational player for Huntington Prep, consistently ranked as one of the top prep schools in the country (it's also the school where Andrew Wiggins lit up the high school basketball scene). To gain greater playing time, Kuminga transferred to New York's Our Savior New American School as a sophomore. It was there when he truly took off as a recruit, garnering the eyes of hundreds of scouts nationally. Within one of the more competitive brackets in New York basketball, Kuminga averaged 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists and was awarded MaxPreps' National Sophomore of the Year. He also shot up to become the #1 ranked rising junior on the ESPN Top 100, over the likes of Chet Holmgrem, Paolo Banchero, and more. 

As a junior, Kuminga sought to play better competition, preferably teams with highly-ranked recruits like him; thus, he transferred to The Patrick School, the alma mater of Kyrie Irving. There, he averaged 16.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.7 assists. Despite the statistical dropoff, it is key to remember that Kuminga's level of competition his junior year was as good as it gets in high school basketball, with nationally-ranked teams such as IMG Academy, Montverde, La Lumiere, and more. During his high school summers, he played in Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL), widely known as the top level of grassroots, AAU basketball. He was a member of the NY Renaissance during the summers, where he played against future NBA talent such as Cade Cunningham, Chet Holmgrem, Greg Brown, Jaden Hardy, and many more. Notably, as a rising junior, he dropped 43 points against Cade Cunningham, the consensus #1 player in high school basketball at the time. 

Kuminga decided to forgo both his senior year of high school and college, revolutionizing the basketball development landscape by enrolling in the NBA G-League Ignite. There, he could earn a 6-figure salary while playing against seasoned NBA vets, NBA hopefuls, and more within the G-League. As a mere teenager playing against grown athletes, Kuminga averaged 15.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. Heading into the draft following the G-League season, Kuminga was regarded as a top-5 prospect, alongside the likes of Evan Mobley, Cade Cunningham, and his Ignite teammate Jalen Green. However, given Kuminga's shooting inefficiencies during his time in the G-League, he slid to the 7th pick, by the Golden State Warriors. We all know the rest..... 

Kuminga's rise to NBA stardom proves to those around the world, that despite any familial and personal circumstances, it still remains possible to achieve your dream as long as you remain committed to the goal, and the goal only. Though the journey may be filled with trials and tribulations, risks of great magnitude, and times of self-contemplation, it will all work out in the end. Kuminga is the living, breathing example of this sentiment. 

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