Born: November 1, 1989
Kenneth Bernard Faried Lewis was born November 19, 1989 in Newark. His mother Waudda, raised him as a Muslim. His father, Kenneth Lewis, did not live with the family, but nearby in Jersey City. When Kenneth was in grade school, his mother was diagnosed with lupus. His grandmother had already died from the destructive autoimmune disease. When Kenneth was 12, a woman named Manasin joined the family, as Waudda’s partner (and later wife).
Bright and personable, Kenneth attended Technology High School, a magnet school in the Forest Hill section of the city. There he excelled in the classroom as well as the basketball court, as he grew to a height of 6’8” with an even broader wingspan. Kenneth was First-Team All-State as a senior, averaging 23.2 points and 15.8 rebounds per game. He also was named Top Rebounder at the prestigious Five-Star Basketball Camp.
As his mother’s medical problems worsened, she encouraged Kenneth to attend college far from home instead of accepting offers from nearby Iona or Marist. He accepted a scholarship from Morehead State University in rural Kentucky, where he became the star of the Eagles basketball team.
Kenneth led the Ohio Valley Conference in rebounding during his sophomore and junior years, and scored in double-figures in each of his three varsity seasons. In 2009, he led the Eagles to an NCAA Tournament berth. His 13.0 rebounds per game in 2009–10 ranked second in the nation. After his junior year, Kenneth declared himself eligible for the NBA draft, but changed his mind and elected to return to Morehead State for his senior year.
As a senior in 2010–11, Kenneth average 14.5 rebounds per game and broke Tim Duncan’s modern-era NCAA record for rebounds in a season. He also led the nation with 27 double-doubles. The Eagles returned to NCAA Tournament and scored an improbable upset over the powerhouse Louisville Cardinals. Kenneth graduated as one of only 18 players since 2000 to finish with more than 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds as a collegian.
The Denver Nuggets selected Kenneth with the 22nd pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. He served as a backup to Nene Hilario until the power forward was traded to the Wizards in March of 2012. In his first game after the trade, Kenneth scored 16 points and hauled down 18 rebounds. Unleashed for 30-plus minutes a game, he overwhelmed opponents with his physical play and earned the nickname “Maninal.”
Kenneth finished third in the 2012 Rookie of the Year voting. In 2012–13—his first full year as a starter—he averaged 11.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. That winter, he was the MVP of the Rising Stars Challenge with 40 points and 10 rebounds. In 2013–14, under new coach Brian Shaw, Kenneth continued to develop into one of the NBA’s top-rebounding forwards, earning comparisons to fellow New Jerseyan Dennis Rodman. During the season's second half, he ranked among the top power forwards in the conference.
During the summer of 2014, Kenneth was selected to play for Team USA at the FIBA World Cup in Spain. He led the team in points and rebounds in a win over Turkey in a preliminary round contest, was the high scorer in a won opver the Dominican Republic, and led Team USA in rebounds for the tournament, which the Americans won. Kenneth was named to the World Cup All-Star team.
The Nuggets signed Kenneth to an extension at the start of the 2014–15 season and the day after Chrsitmas he turned in a game for the ages, with 26 points and 25 rebounds against the Timberwolves. He averaged a solid 12.7 points and 8.9 rebounds for the season. Under new coach Mike Malone in 2015–16, Kenneth picked up right where he left off, reaching double figures in points and rebounds on a regular basis.In a March game against the Mavs, he scored 25 points and hauled down 20 rebounds. Unfortnately, the Nuggets fell short of the playoffs again.
A back injury limited Kenneth to a reserve role with the Nuggets during the next two seasons. Prior to the 2018–19 season, he was part of a package sent to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Isaiah Whitehead. Denver's salary dump (the Nuggets signed him to a lucrative extension years earlier) may well be a gift to Brooklyn basketball fans, as kenneth still possesses the eye-opening physical skills needed to reignite his NBA career. Until he works his way into the rotation, he will provide a veteran presence on a young team.