Reaching higher and higher: Edmonds native Corey Kispert honored in ceremony at King’s High School

King’s High School on Wednesday honored one of its graduates who has reached the top of his profession, in a moving ceremony celebrating the accomplishments of Corey Kispert.

Kispert, an Edmonds native who played high school basketball at King’s, had his high school jersey retired by the school. Kispert, who earned first-team All-America honors at Gonzaga University, is now playing in the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the Washington Wizards.

His No. 24 jersey, resplendent in the school colors of red and white, was unveiled high above the Knights’ home court as the crowd in a packed Mike Martin Gymnasium roared its approval.

Kispert led King’s to consecutive Class 1A state championships in 2015 and 2016, and scored 28.7 points in three games during the Knights’ state title run of 2016.

NBA player and Edmonds native Corey Kispert speaks Wednesday at a ceremony to retire his jersey at King’s High School.

His next stop was Gonzaga, where he played four seasons for the Bulldogs. In his senior year of 2020-21, Kispert was a preseason first-team Associated Press All-America choice, and was also named a first-team All-American as Gonzaga went 31-1 and advanced to the NCAA championship game.

Kispert was the 15th overall choice in the 2021 NBA draft by the Wizards, where he is playing in his third season. On Thursday, he was back with the Wizards as they met the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland.

On Wednesday, Kispert was described by former teammates, coaches, school administrators and current Wizards teammates, staffers and coaches (via video) as a tenacious-but-humble player who has always had the best work ethic on any court.

When asked Wednesday if he could guess how many hours he’d spent in the King’s gym, Kispert said “quite a few. I’m bad at ballpark numbers, but yeah — this is home. Thousands.”

Kispert emphasized that — without exception — the competition he has faced at every level has served as a motivating factor.

“I know it helped me in the long run to play against teams that were so well-coached and knew what they were doing, especially guarding me,” Kispert said. “I was able to add things to the toolbox that I’ve been able to use.”

That competitive element seldom takes a day off, Kispert said.

On “a daily basis, a constant learning curve, and I’ve not even figured it out yet, it’s not even close,” Kispert said. “Still learning, still growing — the progression’s still going.”

Corey Kispert stands with family and friends Wednesday.
Steve Willitts (left) of KRKO radio and My Neighborhood News Network speaks with NBA player Corey Kispert, who was honored Wednesday at King’s High School.
Corey Kispert’s jersey for King’s High School was retired in a ceremony Wednesday at the school.
An image from a video during the jersey-retirement ceremony for Corey Kispert on Wednesday at King’s High School.
An image from a video of Corey Kispert (taking the shot) playing in the NBA, during his jersey-retirement ceremony Wednesday at King’s High School.

— Story and photos by Craig Parrish

  1. Enjoyed watching Corey for many years. He was so quick against UCLA to get the ball after a made basket by UCLA to Jalen Suggs resulting in a game winner for Gonzaga from half court in college National semi finals in 2020

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