Kenneth Dozier Sr. is 49 years old from Los Angeles. He was convicted for attempted murder in 1997 and is serving a 38-to-life sentence, having served 24 years thus far.
He and I met on an unusually hot Saturday morning on West Block yard to do this interview. I had approached him about being featured in the newspaper a few months back, but I also wanted the timing to be right. This interview was conducted in the midst of the Intramural League playoffs, where his former team, The Franchise, is in the second round of the playoffs and have an opportunity to win a fourth title in five years.
AT: How long have you played organized sports?
KDS: Since the age of 10 or 11, playing basketball for Bethune Jr. High in South Central, Los Angeles.
AT: Basketball is only one sport you played growing up?
KDS: I also played Pee-Wee Pop Warner football for Jefferson High.
AT: So, you get to prison in ’98, and you’re at CSP- LAC (Lancaster), Level IV; what was the sports atmosphere there like?
KDS: It was high quality and big. A lot of participation amongst all the races.
AT: So, in the late ’90s, on the Level IV’s, it was well understood about interacting in sports with different races?
AT: Now, I know that you could’ve made the SQ Warriors as a power forward in 2012-14, but you never chose to go out for the team. Why?
The Franchise was down 2-1 in the finals. In that pivotal fourth game, your team was down by 28 points halfway through the third quarter; in the final 20 seconds of the fourth, you had two steals and two three-pointers to get your team into overtime and eventually win that game. What did that feel like?
KDS: It felt good being a part of a winning community.
AT: Yeah, I get that, but that was some Reggie Miller v. New York Knicks type stuff in that game. What do you remember about the moment?
KDS: I remember everybody hollering about we was going to lose.
AT: You’re in school now, getting that GED. What’s the drive behind that?
KDS: In 2006, my daughter asked me to help her with a math problem and I couldn’t help her. In that moment, I said that’ll never hap- pen again. I needed to better myself. When I was young, I didn’t have a chance to really get an education. Now, I have kids and grandkids. At Sole- dad, I started after the GED, but was transferred (to The Q) in 2011. Right after I arrived in West Block —before I was even classified—I went.
AT: Okay, test time! Name your all time all-star Los An- geles Lakers team…Go!
KDS: Huh? What? Point guard: Magic. Shooting guard: Nixon. Small forward: Cooper. Power forward: Wor- thy. Center: Abdul-Jabbar. Off the bench, I’ll get Kurt Rambis, AC Green, Jamal Wilkes, Brian Shaw, Byron Scott, Kobe Bryant and Glen Rice.
AT: You get the chance to talk to a 13-year-old Kenneth Dozier…what’s one sentence that you say to yourself?
KDS: “Be true to yourself.”
AT: Thank you for giving this interview. Many people don’t know we’ve known each other and have been friends since 1998 when we met at Lancaster, so I ap- preciate you sharing some of who you are. You get the clos- ing statement.
KDS: No matter where you may be in life, you can always become a winner within yourself and with those that love you. Push forward, push forward, push forward, push forward…keep pushing and you will win.