Karim Ezzeddine likes to take control of his own future, so it was only fitting that he picked his own headline: Just a passionate kid from Paris.
Passionate is certainly the right word to describe him.
Ezzeddine was born in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but his family moved to France when he was 2 years old. His hometown might be listed as Paris, but he didn’t give up the culture of his birthplace. His favorite dish includes Pondu, Fufu and Makayabu, as his mom cooked these often since he was a baby.
“It looks like spinach but it doesn’t taste anything like spinach. I hate spinach. But I would eat Fufu and Pondu all the time. Fufu is like mashed potatoes but not mashed potatoes.” Ezzeddine laughed after trying to explain. “I would have to show you a picture.”
Although he admitted he can’t cook those, Ezzeddine said he doesn’t feel completely lost in the kitchen.
“I don’t think cooking is hard. I just mix everything,” he described his cooking method. “I’m not a picky eater so whatever I like, I put it together and I make it a meal.”
He might like food, but that’s not what kept him out of trouble when he was growing up.
Ezzeddine said he grew up in a tough area in Paris and that sports brought the neighborhood kids together. They played a lot of soccer, which he really enjoyed, although he never did it as anything more than a pastime activity.
French anthem in the locker room after conditioning 🇫🇷❤️🤩🔥⚽️🤯 pic.twitter.com/4HcUArrQsb
— Karim Ezzeddine 🇨🇩🇱🇧 (@KareemEazy) July 15, 2018
Basketball came at age 11. His brother, one of six siblings, played the sport first. Once Ezzeddine grew taller, he decided to play too. For him, this sport meant something bigger than just a game.
“I put on my uniform the first day and I started running through my whole neighborhood. It gave me an identity. I’m a basketball player,” he recalled. “I was nobody before that. I was just a kid that was in a lot of trouble… It was like ‘I’m American.’ To me, being French, you want to be American, you want to have that American vibe.”
Ezzeddine said that being part of basketball also made him feel like he was part of “that hip hop vibe.” He listens to all kinds of music but mostly rap, both in English and French.
Astroworld best project of 2018 so far. Don’t @ me
— Karim Ezzeddine 🇨🇩🇱🇧 (@KareemEazy) August 3, 2018
When it comes to French artists, Booba is one of his favorites. However, Ezzeddine was more excited to talk about a friend who is part of Key Largo, a rap duo. He and his friend played basketball together for four years before they separated when one decided to pursue music and the other basketball. Ezzeddine said Key Largo seems to be doing pretty well at the moment, and that it makes him happy to see his friend succeed in the field he loves.
Socializing and meeting people who do interesting things is something Ezzedine likes to do. In fact, he said he is going to make it his job.
“I want to open an agency with my brother,” he said. “Since I’m from Paris, I know a lot of people in the fashion industry, the music industry. We are opening it right now, actually.”
Ezzeddine compares what he wants to do to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. He said that although he is still working on his college degree, he is not waiting until graduation day to start. The name of the company will be “Din” which in Arabic means “religion” or “way of life.” He chose this because it’s part of his last name. The fashion part of the company will be the French word “cru.”
Of course, his big project is not going to take him away from basketball. Instead, Ezzeddine plans to go pro after college and use the money from that to invest in his company. For him, it’s not really just about the money. It’s about creativity.
“I just love creativity. It’s not about fashion, it’s not about music,” he said about his agency. “It’s just creativity, the expression of yourself. It’s great in many kinds of aspects.”
As a junior at the University of New Mexico, Ezzeddine is about to experience his first year of Division I basketball. He said his goal is to win a championship for him and his team. He is going to make the best out of it, like he does with everything else.
“That’s really what it is. I’m a life lover. I’m just a good-vibe giver,” Ezzeddine said.