Street renamed for Kings 5 founder, Andy ‘Pops’ King, Jr.

Street renamed for Kings 5 founder, Andy ‘Pops’ King, Jr.
The King family, friends, elected officials and community leaders honored the late Andy ‘Pops’ King, Jr. with a heartfelt street co-naming ceremony.
Photo by Silvio Pacifico

Bronxites honored a dedicated basketball coach’s service to his nation and community.

Councilman Andy King joined his family, friends and the entire northeast Bronx community in commemorating his late father Andy ‘Pops’ King, Jr.’s legacy at a street co-naming ceremony on Saturday, July 14.

The southeast corner of East 215th Street and Barnes Avenue was renamed ‘Andy ‘Pops’ King, Jr. Way’ for the beloved coach, veteran and community leader.

“My dad raised his family and a community from a house here at this corner and this park across the street,” the councilman said. “I know he is looking down at us with a smile and we miss him.”

Andy D. King, Jr. was born to Andrew D. King, Sr. and Bethesda Cummings King on January 3, 1937 in Brunswick, GA.

The three-letter man played varsity football, basketball and track and field for Risley High School’s Class of 1957.

King, Jr. briefly attended college in Georgia prior to enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1959.

While stationed in Korea from 1959 to 1961, he also represented the Army as a player/coach on its basketball and football teams.

Following his service, King, Jr. resided in Williamsbridge with his wife Bernice, of 55 years.

He was employed as a supervisor for Revlon Cosmetics and Healthcare in NYC.

In the early 1970s, he founded the community-based Kings 5 basketball team.

The organization helped neighborhood youth stay off the city street corners by providing them recreational activity, boosting their morale and cultivating their leadership skills.

Kings 5 offered weekly meetings for youth to receive school tutoring and motivational coaching.

King, Jr. financed trips outside of the borough allowing participants to meet professional basketball players and business role models.

He established a safe haven for bullied youth and his coaches were always on hand to counsel troubled youth.

Kings 5 competed in championship tournaments across the city and Westchester County including the Holcomb Rucker Basketball League, Mount Vernon Fourth Street Summer League and the Runyon Heights Basketball League, among others.

Kings 5, which included over 10,000 youths and young adults from ages 8 to 40, was the longest running basketball program to exist in the northeast Bronx between the early 1970s to late 1980s.

The organization practiced and played out of Olinville Park, known today as the Agnes Haywood Playground.

In July 2016, King, Jr. joined his son Councilman King in dedicating the intersection of East 216th Street and Barnes Avenue as ‘Kings 5 Way.’

He passed away on October 8, 2017 at 80-years-old.

“Everybody’s got a Pops story, but mine is special because I’m my mother’s son,” expressed Michael Hill. “He raised me as his own since day one; he was never my stepfather, he was always my Pops.”

King, Jr. is survived by his wife; their four children Michael Hill, Councilman Andy King III, Lisa King and Terrance Daniel King and his sisters Clara Axson and Mary Trimmings.

More from Around NYC