Rocket Pennington got his start in basketball when his stepfather introduced him to the sport at the age of five. His father, mother, stepfather and stepmother have all been major role models in his life. “They taught me how to be a man of understanding and respect,” says Rocket.
Rocket’s early basketball days had him playing in games against teams from across the United States and Puerto Rico during small fry basketball. During these games, Rocket and his team would play in large arenas; this inspired him to continue with the sport. At a young age, he also knew how big the Harlem Globetrotters were on the sports landscape.
“Watching them when you’re a child … they were like superheroes,” says Rocket. “I always wanted to know how they were so talented and how did you ever actually become a Harlem Globetrotter.
“This opportunity that I have been given has opened up the eyes of all kids coming up in my neighborhood. I’m looked at as someone who made it out the right way. My job is to continue to keep the Harlem Globetrotters legacy alive.”
Rocket’s college basketball career began at Malcolm X Community College in Chicago, where he helped the team to a 26-6 record and the program’s first undefeated conference season. He went on to play at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D., where he shot over 46 percent on three-pointers in a Tigers uniform. Rocket graduated with a degree in sports management.
The Chicago Heights, Ill., native is all about Chicago sports, as he is a huge fan of the Bulls, Bears and Blackhawks. Rocket loves to play video games, go to the gym, hang out with his family, collect shoes and shop.