Thursday, May 24, 2007

Dancing King 

Posted by James at 12:09 PM ET

Now in her seventh-year with the Luvabulls, Evadney King is at the top of her game

By Rachel Parker
UIC Alumni Magazine

Underneath a crown of loose curls, Evadney King’s ’99 CBA mind is spinning. “C’mon, E,” she says to herself, brushing a manicured hand across her forehead. “Just take it one quarter at a time.” Next to her, other Luvabulls fidget with red-and-white skirts and stretch out their muscular limbs. King takes a deep, shaky breath. “God, help me through this game,” she says, then signals the squad to head toward the court.

To King, this pre-game anxiety is a good sign. “It means I still have the drive,” she says. “Once you get comfortable and stop being nervous, you should stop doing the Luvabulls.”
Evadeny King, Luvabull
Going by that philosophy, King’s been nervous for quite some time. A member of the Chicago Luvabulls for the past seven years (six years as captain), she’s had a record career, given that most women leave the team after two or three years. The high turnover is partially due to the Luvabulls’ grueling schedule: Team members practice two evenings per week for four to seven hours; regularly travel to international basketball tournaments; and perform at conventions, trade shows, and promotional and charitable events, in addition to every Bulls home game.

Luvabulls are also required to be full-time students or work full-time jobs. In King’s case, that’s fulfilled at TransUnion LLC, a Chicago-based credit bureau agency, where she serves as a project manager. King joined the company in 1999 after receiving her UIC degree in information and decisions sciences.

Growing up in Beverly on Chicago’s South Side, King first flexed her dancing muscles as a sophomore at Whitney Young High School. She joined the pom-pom squad and the school’s jazz/ballet/hip-hop group, and then became a member of the New Life Performance Company, a professional liturgical dance ensemble. In addition to traveling with the company, King was among 10 ensemble members invited to perform at a Yolanda Adams gospel concert.
Evadeny King, Luvabull
At UIC, King was a member of the Dancing Flames for three years. That experience foreshadowed her future with the NBA, as she danced at basketball games alongside several teammates who would later become Luvabulls. One of them, Toya McGill, spent a year with the Luvabulls before being appointed coach of the Dancing Flames in 2005. (King was initially recruited by UIC’s Athletic Department for the position, but after deciding to remain with the Luva-bulls, she recommended McGill.)

While King has put her heart into the Luvabulls, her soul is devoted to a dance ministry at Covenent United Church in South Holland. As founder and director, King takes the ministry seriously, requiring her 30-member ensemble to practice every Saturday and perform one Sunday per month. If a dancer hasn’t learned the routine properly, King won’t allow him or her to perform, explaining, “You want to give God excellence.” If not her dancers, King, at least, is satisfying that demand.

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