KANSAS CITY -- Kei Kamara knew he was destined for something great. Even as a child, dodging bullets in war-torn Sierra Leone, Kamara knew he would be famous. How it happened, though, was a shock. April 24 against the LA Galaxy, the Wizards forward became a global sensation after he blew a shot on goal -- a shot the blogosphere has dubbed The Worst Miss of the Century.
Granted, the century is young. That's still not something you want on your résumé. Unless you are Kei Kamara. The 25-year-old seems delighted. Tall, lanky, with a wide smile and melodious West African accent, Kamara laughs to learn that Page 2 has sent someone to talk about his epic miss.
The Major League Soccer game was tied 0-0 when KC's midfielder Davy Arnaud took a shot but the ball dribbled out.
"And I was like 'Oh, no. Now I have to hit it.' So I went to slide and just totally missed. It hit my elbow and went in --- but I still tried to claim it. I was getting up to celebrate, but saw another teammate with his hands on his head, like 'oh, no.' Then took a peek at the lineman. The flag was up, and I knew what he was calling."
Kamara argued with officials. But his heart wasn't it.
On SportsCenter's "Not Top 10 Plays," he was the No. 1 highlight. Then, as the kids say, he blew up. The clip went viral, with hits in the millions. Kamara felt the full-force of web fame.
"Phone calls came. Texts and emails. Crazy," he shakes his head. From Germany, Taiwan, from all across Africa. In England, Norway, a superstar in China. They all called. Guys said it was front page in the biggest newspapers in their countries."
Redemption came a few weeks later. He came in as a sub against D.C. United. Though the Wizards lost, Kamara scored a great late goal -- against another player from Sierra Leone. That shot earned him the No. 3 slot on SportsCenter's Top 10 -- the good one.
He chuckles at the symmetry. And why not laugh, he said, "I get paid to kick balls!"