When your dreams are bigger than others’ approval of your abilities, sometimes a person needs someone in their corner.
For Kingi Knox, that person was Eddie G. Robinson Jr.
“He would fight for me,” said Knox.
He wouldn’t literally fight, but he used his power to promote her career.
“There is politics behind the scenes and you have to fight for what you want,” said Knox as she explained what Robinson Jr. taught her. “There are a lot of obstacles just like football.”
Between the moments of silence and tears, Knox explained how she had no clue her longtime friend and mentor passed away.
“I am shocked, I did not see this coming,” said Knox in a phone interview from her Los Angeles home.
Eddie G. Robinson Jr. was the son of the late great Eddie G. Robinson, the head coach for Grambling State University for 57 years and the winningest coach in Division I football.
“This is so sad because he was someone who ran every day,” said Knox. “He was religious with working out.”
Robinson Jr. died from prolonged heath issues and recently had heart surgery. He died at age 70 on November 6 at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.
The small city of Grambling has been haunted with excessive media attention causing many alumni to phone relatives, friends and other alumni in the area to uncover the story. Knox was one of the concerned alumni, but the news she received was devastating. Unable to imagine the reality, she called Robinson Jr.’s phone praying he would pick up. After no answer, she knew it was true.
“I feel like the world was shortchanged because he wanted to do so much,” said Knox, who met Robinson Jr. during her time as a Grambling student.
Robinson Jr.’s life was tailored in the image of his father. Nearly all of his life, he was around football, and the passion for the sport was inherited into his blood.
“It was, perhaps, Eddie’s passion for sports and the youth that define him best,” said the Robinson family in a statement. “Each year, he looked forward to hosting summer football camps in honor of his father and enlisting colleagues and friends to impart the fundamentals of the sport and life lessons to camp participants.”
Robinson Jr. mentored and challenged youth at the annual Eddie G. Robinson football camp which Knox co-hosted several times. In addition, he was also the head football coach for Grambling High School in 2003-2005, Carroll High School in Monroe, and Minden High School in Minden.
According to Knox, Robinson Jr.’s ultimate goal was to provide more scholarship opportunities for students who could not afford college.
“We talked about special projects to raise money to send students to college on scholarship,” said Knox. “We wanted to do things to keep his father’s legacy alive.”
The impact of the Robinson men on Knox’s life is undeniable. She often told children at the Eddie Robinson “Eddie Sr. encouraged me to dream, and Eddie Jr. helped me live my dream.”