When Chris was in junior high and a member of the Lauren Lions Basketball team a comedy movie was released called “The Air Up There.” Co-starring with Kevin Bacon (who is maybe about 5’10”) was the Kenyan born actor Charles Gitonga Maina, who topped out at a 6’10” and leads his team to victory. When KATU Television announced that they were bringing Charles Gitonga Maina to Portland for an interview on AM Northwest Chris and I went to be in the studio audience to meet the actor (and get tickets to the preview of the movie). It is a fun movie for kids but I thought it was a bit of stretch for Kevin Bacon to play the role of the coach and I wondered if he had ever even coached 5th grade basketball as I had at Lauren Middle School when Chris was in the 5th Grade. We did enjoy our vicarious visit to Africa and the colorful images of tribal people portrayed in the film.
Maina attended college at Florida’s Lynn University on a basketball scholarship from 1997 to 1999. However, the LU coach did not permit him to use the ‘Jimmy Dolan Shake and Bake’ move that won the game in the movie. So Maina left the USA for opportunities in Europe and apparently had visa problems that prevented his return to the USA. It seems that no one has heard what happened to him since.