Kendall Brown took her shot expecting it to be rejected. She waited in line for more than an hour Sunday afternoon at the Simpsonville, Ky., outlet mall, in anticipation of “a little humiliation.”
The South Oldham (Ky.) senior had decided to pop a prom-posal on Kentucky basketball star De’Aaron Fox.
“I for sure thought he was going to say no,” Brown said Monday afternoon. “Expecting the worst out of that situation paid off. I was completely shocked that he said yes.
“I hope it works out.”
Sadly, scheduling conflicts could prevent Fox from honoring his pledge. South Oldham’s senior prom is scheduled for May 13, a Saturday that coincides with the NBA’s pre-draft combine in Chicago. Though Fox is probably the quickest player in the 2017 draft, even he might be hard-pressed to be in two places at once.
“I’m kind of anxious,” Brown said, “but I’m trying to be patient. I’m still hopeful. I don’t want to jinx anything. We’ll say it’s like a 50-50 chance. It’s just one night. He can take a breather.”
Inviting celebrities to high school dances is a low-percentage play that periodically pays off like a lottery ticket. The late rap artist Tupac Shakur once surprised an enterprising fan by visiting her home, springing for her prom dress and picking her up in a limousine on the appointed night. Actress Vanessa Hudgens, singer Taylor Swift and Olympic snowboard champion Shaun White have all attended proms after becoming rich and famous.
None of them may be as well-matched to their teen-age admirer as is 19-year-old De’Aaron Fox to 18-year-old Kendall Brown, who starred on South Oldham’s state championship soccer team as a junior.
“It was kind of funny that she asked Fox,” said Kenny Burke, South Oldham’s girls soccer coach. “The way he takes people on is very much the way she does. She plays a striker and an outside wing position where she finds herself a lot 1 (on) 1. That was her specialty. Taking people on.
“As fast as he is, that’s exactly how she plays.”
Both are effervescent personalities. As a freshman, Fox, an American Family Insurance ALL-USA first team selection in 2016, was the UK player most comfortable and chatty in front of a camera, as glib and spontaneous as Bam Adebayo was terse and guarded. Kendall Brown is similarly wired and preternaturally sunny.
She had earlier asked Fox to the prom via a Twitter message posted March 23. When that request went unanswered, Brown designed a blue-and-white poster-sized invitation that read, “I’M DE’AARON YOU TO GO TO PROM WITH ME.”
“She asked me, ‘Do you think it’s crazy?’ ” Jenny Brown said of her daughter. “I said, ‘No, I think it’s awesome.’ ”
Fox was handed the poster during an autograph appearance Sunday, then stood for a joint photograph with Brown and her poster. When he took her up on her offer, she and blurted, “No, really?” began shaking in excitement, then covered her mouth in astonishment. She was so overcome by the moment that she neglected to get Fox to sign the poster.
“I was,” she said, “in such a tizzy.”
With more than a month remaining before the big dance, Kendall Brown has time to regain her composure and, if necessary, to make adjustments.
“The theme is Old Hollywood,” she said, “but no one ever goes according to the theme. If that’s his deciding factor for not going, we don’t have to incorporate that.”
For a prom date with De’Aaron Fox, Brown is prepared to make some concessions.
“Currently, her dress is a mermaid style gown with a brownish/copper colored taffeta skirt and black top with gold beading,” Jenny Brown explained. “It looks lovely on her, however, it is not BLUE!”