Much intrigue has swirled around Ye‘s Donda Academy, and on Monday (Jan. 24), the prep school’s basketball team shed some light on the program in a new interview.
In a cover story for SLAM, the elite team talks about being recruited away from their hometowns to attend the prep school named after Kanye West‘s late mother — a professor at Chicago State University and the namesake of her son’s latest, Grammy-nominated album — in Simi Valley, Calif. (While he doesn’t comment in the story, West did pose with the hand-selected team for the cover shoot, wearing a black hoodie and dark sunglasses.)
“A lot of my teammates, when they left [their previous schools], they had some bad reactions,” 6-foot-8 forward Braeden Moore admits to the magazine. “People called them clout chasers and said the [school] offered them money.”
The profile reveals that the basketball team’s custom jerseys are produced by Balenciaga, they wear YEEZY 500s during games, and at one point had their meals prepared by Ye’s personal chef. They also live together in luxury apartments, use an online curriculum approved by the NCAA known as K12 Private Academy and aren’t surprised when the rapper swoops in to direct the team’s photo shoot or call players on the phone for one-on-one mentoring.
“I know how important education is and I have goals that surpass basketball,” adds Moore. “That’s another reason [why] I came here, like with Justin [Laboy] and Ye, creating these relationships not only sets me up for success in basketball, it sets me up for life.”
Meanwhile, vice principal and athletic director Shayla Scott says in the story that Ye’s goals for Donda Academy are only in their infancy. “When I have opportunities to talk with [Ye] about his vision for the school, it’s by no stretch of the imagination something that’s out of reach,” she says, later adding, “In actuality, anybody can do school this way. But, to know that we’re doing it because of the support we have from Ye and all the parents and players, I think is really, honestly, going to build for future years.”
Read the full SLAM cover story here and check out Ye’s Instagram post of the cover below.
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