By Louie Stout
Michiana angler Ken Holder poses with Carlos Thomas (left) and former NBA star Wilson Chandler pose in front of Chandler's new Caymas boat.
When an angler gets a sponsor, he’s expected to perform, and not necessarily just in competitive events.
Nobody knows that better than Michiana’s Ken Holder who helped put a former NBA basketball player in a fully loaded Caymas CX21 with a Merc 250 from Starboard Choice Marine in Edwardsburg, Mich.
It came together in a roundabout way through Holder’s relationship with another angler from northwest Indiana.
Holder built a friendship through fishing tournaments with Carlos Thomas from Crown Point, Ind. Thomas, who had made the acquaintance of former NBA player Wilson Chandler at the Bass Pro Shops in Portage, Ind.
Chandler, a Benton Harbor native who was drafted in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft, played 13 years in the NBA. He played college basketball at DePaul University.
Anyway, Thomas met Chandler in the Bass Pro Shops while shopping for boats. Chandler was relatively new to the bass fishing scene but had a deep interest.
“He grew up in Benton Harbor and used to ride his bike to the St. Joe to fish off the bank,” said Holder.
Chandler told Thomas he was ready to buy a boat in Grand Rapids, where he lives now, but Thomas told him to hold off and check out the new Caymas at Starboard Choice. He set up the showing through Holder.
“He came down, looked at the boat, test drove it and liked what he saw,” said Holder. “He especially liked the friendliness and honesty of the Petersons (Starboard Choice Marine owners).”
A few days later, Holder met Chandler for breakfast in Benton Harbor, the two went to the bank and they headed to Edwardsburg to seal the deal.
Holder didn’t know what the negotiated price was but said the boat was listed at $88,000.
“He’s a really nice guy who is eaten up with bass fishing,” said Holder, who is sponsored by Starboard and Caymas. “It all came together because of relationships built through fishing and I was glad to help Starboard Choice out and get Chandler into a really nice boat.”