Karl Kramer | Stepping Out of his Brother’s Shadow

In a crowd of people, Karl Kramer is not hard to miss. One look at him and you’d have a guess on what he does.

Passing by the halls of the University of Santo Tomas, it would be no question that this buffed-up, six-feet-four tall lad plays for the basketball team of the university.

I sat with him months ago for an interview for a class. At first, I had a preconceived notion he would be a stuck up conyo white boy, and that this interview would be hard to conduct.

That wasn’t the case at all.

As we sat down, he gave off this warm, fun vibe, and the interview went light and casual, as if we’re just two friends catching up.

I started the interview asking how he came to play basketball, “Growing up, my brother has been playing basketball since I can remember,” he answered. By brother, he means the nine-year veteran PBA player Doug Kramer, of course, who currently plays for GlobalPort.

Going back at the beginning, Karl first started his basketball career in high school when he was recruited to play for the University of Baguio Science High School and was then recruited by San Beda College upon graduating.

“’Nung high school ako medyo tsangi-tsangi pa ko pero nung kinuha ako ng [San] Beda, parang na-appreciate nila kung ano meron ako,” he said.

Although Karl appreciates what San Beda has done for him during his two-year stay as a Red Lion, he had a choice to make to take a step closer to playing for the PBA; he then transferred to UST.

With the promise of being able to play for the UAAP and the exposure beneficial to him, Karl became a part of the Thomasian community in 2015.

“’Nung ni-recruit ako dito (UST) sabi makakapaglaro ako sa UAAP. Dream ko din makapaglaro sa PBA so maa-attain ko din ‘yung dream ko,” he shared.

With his older brother playing for the Philippine Basketball Association, it is not unusual that the younger Kramer would take this route as well.

Karl recounted that at the young age of six, he was introduced to playing basketball and gradually fell in love with the sport; his competitive spirit was triggered as he enjoyed winning every game.

“Siguro ‘nung nakita ko ‘yung hard work ko nagpa-pay off tapos na-enjoy ko na natatalo ko ‘yung kalaban, [masaya ako],” he said with a grin.

Being the younger Kramer, comparisons between the two brothers could not be helped sometimes. However, Karl admitted that if he should compare himself to other players, his strategy is very much the same as his brother’s—granted that he initially learned from the 33-year-old PBA player.

“It’s nice to always go hard but you should always use your head also on how to play”

— Karl Kramer

When I asked him how he feels stepping out of his brother’s name, he said that there is no pressure in living up to it, as both of them have different preferences and goals, life- and career-wise.

As we moved on, Karl’s face lit up with a playful and familiar smile once I asked him if he would have reservations playing against his brother should he be drafted in an opposing team in the PBA.

“Edi mas masaya!” he exclaimed, thrilled with the image of this possibility. “Noon pa man nagwa-one-on-one na kami nun eh, so sanayan na kami kung may bruise sa katawan,” he added.

Aside from his brother Doug, Karl looks up to basketball players from the PBA and NBA as well. He shared he is in awe of PBA player Ranidel de Ocampo, as he praises his footwork and countermoves. Meanwhile, internationally, he looks up to all-time favorite Michael Jordan and Lebron James.

Although he has set his career end goal to playing in the PBA and staying there for a while, could you have imagined this 22-year-old as a doctor?

Karl shared that had basketball not been introduced to him by his brother, he initially dreamed to enter the medical field. As he enjoyed playing the sport, he decided to take this as his career path.

“As long as hindi [ako] ma-injure, God-willing, [basketball] na ‘yung papasukin kong field,” Kramer also added that after reaching his goal in his basketball career, he plans to have a family of his own and either make a business in the sports industry or fly abroad and start anew.

This younger Kramer is also open to modeling and acting as a career change, should basketball not work out for him. He actually has already started modeling for clothing brands, like Levi’s, and is a celebrity in his own right, with his Instagram following reaching 32,000.

Currently, he enjoys the perks of modeling while juggling training and getting physically fit.

He, however, still doesn’t lose sight of his love for the sport. When asked for an advice he could give younger athletes pursuing what they love, he said, “It’s nice to always go hard but you should always use your head also on how to play.”