He has had to stomach the public watching him as a single-layer reality star, captured making short observations while being filmed for his soon-to-be ex-wife Kim Kardashian’s reality show, “Kourtney & Kim Take New York,” he’s hit the court to a chorus of boos while on the road as a New Jersey Nets power forward, and his every move has been documented and dissected by the press.
But in his first in-depth interview since the NBA lockout’s end, Kris exclusively tells Access Hollywood correspondent Jill Martin that he has found a way to rise above it all thanks to his upbringing, his faith and his love of the game.
“I’m in a great place, above all [thanks to] my faith in God and just… how close my family is and then the fact that… luckily, we didn’t get locked out all season and we’re playing basketball,” Kris, now 27, told Jill as she sat with the star at New York’s Hotel Gansevoort over the weekend, following his birthday dinner at Abe & Arthur’s, thrown by his sister, Kaela.
“Basketball is where you can just go and not think about anything and just let loose,” Kris told Jill of how he’s coped with the headlines and the drama. “I always tell people basketball is like my therapy. Some people talk to psychologists and stuff like that. I just need to go play basketball.”
It hasn’t always been easy to shake it all off, though. Kris’ 72-day marriage to Kim has been picked apart, but he told Jill that he went into it with good intentions.
“To me it was real,” Kris said, when Jill mentioned there are some who’ve suggested the union wasn’t authentic. “I would never go through something or do something that wasn’t real or I didn’t believe in, so I can really only speak for myself in terms of that.”
Last month, while co-hosting “Live! with Kelly,” Kim herself denied rumors that her marriage was a “business decision” and while speaking to Jill, Kris too hit back at the suggestion.
“No, I mean, in my life, there’s been opportunities to make money and I don’t believe in what it is,” he said. “When I was kid growing up, it was always like, ‘Man, one day I want to have this or that,’ and you work so hard and that’s your goal, but like, when you get all those things that you wanted, those things don’t make you happy. Money only has so much — it doesn’t rule my life so I would never do anything strictly for money.”
One thing Kris will do for money is raise it – for the Humphries Foundation.
“I want to redo a basketball court — an outside basketball court in Minnesota — through my foundation for kids — like a safe place to go and be active, because my foundation is all about preventing childhood obesity, and so I’ve been focusing on that,” Kris told Jill of one of his many plans for his non-profit organization aimed at serving disadvantaged youth.
Kris has been playing his best basketball for the past two seasons, and is now averaging a double-double. Being a star on the court comes with added attention and when asked about the women who scream with glee for Kris after the games, he turned red.
“I don’t know,” he said blushing. “It’s just, I don’t know. I’d love to walk off the court and — I don’t know, it’s interesting.”
While the ladies are there when he’s ready, Kris insisted to Jill his heart is solely in the game.
“I’m not dating anyone right now,” he said.
“Dating basketball?” Jill asked.
“Basketball,” Kris nodded. “What do they say? ‘My girlfriend is Spalding.’”