The first thing to notice is the long hair.
The next thing is the fighting spirit.
Defensive tackle Kalepo Naotala signed with the Warriors on Feb. 3, 2016, but delayed enrolling until January to fully recover from knee surgery. Despite the long recovery period, Naotala was prepared to work hard. During the 2016 offseason conditioning program, the first under strength/conditioning coordinator Bubba Reynolds, the Warriors each did 10 sprint-pushes of weighted sleds per workout. This past spring, they did 18. Naotala welcomed the challenge of the sleds … and sprints … and heavy-ball throws … By May, he was fit and prepared to contend for a spot in the defensive-line rotation this fall. He also displayed a personable side. In May, he was part of the group of players who greeted workers during a downtown pep rally.
This past Saturday, Naotala was seriously injured after hitting his head while diving off the wall near the Kapahulu Groin off Waikiki Beach. A witness said two teammates pulled him from the water. He then was transported to a hospital in serious condition.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Naotala, his family and the Warriors.