“The first year was proving to myself that I can do it, next is to prove to everybody else,”
The first year is the hardest. Don Kingu is the creator of ATBNews.com. At The Buzzer formed five years ago, it started with a nasty distaste for his job at the time. A self proclaimed basketball junkie, he was seeing encouragement from all sides to start up something.
The steady progression of ATBNews. com has been refreshing to the online basketball community. Just a few years ago they were one of the first to consistently post highlights online. Fast forward to now many of the largest sport organizations have accounts solely dedicated to highlights.
Like in any new venture the face of the company is required to wear many hats. Don Kingu’s early introduction to this happened when he started his website.
“I started the blog in the summertime, then around October I wanted to launch the website. Trying to get the right look and everything, and how stressful it was to a point where I kind of had to learn and do it myself,”
Now we know Jay-Z as the face behind Rocawear & Roc-A-Fella Records, but he didn’t do it all on his own. Every boss needs a right hand, Dame Dash and Kareem ‘Biggs’ Burke were that for Jay.
Tyler Ruivo is the Dame to Kingu’s Jay, when the idea first sparked Ruivo was all about it. Kingu squints as he thinks about the past. He talks slowly and his voice is low. The two went to high-school together, Kingu calls him one his first friends.
“He is the one I kind of went to when I had the idea of my head, like, listen, this is what I this is what I have in my head. I kind of want to start it up and you know, see where it goes. And he was all about it,”
On Point Basketball has been a long time leader in Canadian Basketball coverage. Drew Ebanks operates as the head of the snake covering everything from the G-League to high school basketball. When ATBNews stepped in to this arena Ebanks welcome them in with open arms.
“The more people covering basketball here in Canada, us being a hockey country, the better. So other people might have looked at Don, you know, other companies coming up in basketball media here independently, my opinion thinking as competition…for me, it’s more about if I can help the young ones coming up after me, that’s always been my mentality… We’re all in this together, let’s grow this basketball thing. So we can all eat that’s number one.” Said Ebanks,
Connecting with Mckeyra McNeilly was eye opening for Kingu. McNeilly was focused on building websites and optimizing web pages and he was there to help him grow his brand. It was the beginning of him putting trust in someone else. McNeilly pushed him to be more comfortable as visible face of the company.
“McKeyra was one of those dudes who (said), it has to be you, you have to be the guy, you have to be the face, you have to be out there,” said Kingu on the initial push from McNeilly
Ball in the 6 and ATBNews have grown alongside one another over the past 5 years. McNeilly talks about the profound effect Don has had on his career.
“ Now, he’s been able to really, you know, spread ATB news so that he can approach any organization in Toronto with respect, you know, be open to whatever it is that you’d like to do, because he’s done it before.” said McNeilly
For Don, the story continues and as the basketball grows in this country, ATB will be there.