KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE)- Former Tennessee basketball forward John Fulkerson will embark on a new journey near the end of the summer. The VFL signed a deal to play in Belgium’s top professional basketball league.
Fulkerson ended his six-year career on Rocky Top playing in 165 contests, earning the SEC and Tennessee program records for the most games played. The forward from Kingsport scored 1,121 total points and became the 53rd Vol basketball player to eclipse the 1,000-point benchmark against LSU. He also finished his career with the seventh-best career field-goal percentage in program history (.556).
As Fulkerson heads overseas, he will take a piece of Rocky Top with him.
“I fell so much in love with Tennessee and Knoxville that I want to call Knoxville home one day,” Fulkerson said. “Now that I’m done playing, I’m going to be the biggest Vol fan there is. I can’t wait to be a fan and cheer on our teams in a different way.”
Fulkerson credits playing for the Power T for opening new doors for him on and off of the court and for the lifelong relationships he made. The Tennessee native wanted to give back to the University that has given him so much that he decided to pledge $2 of his NIL money for every point scored this past season to the Tennessee fund.
He ended up donating $5,142. Fulkerson is believed to be the first student-athlete to make a philanthropic donation to their athletic department while they were still active.
“I wanted to give back to the University because they’ve done so much for me,” said Fulkerson. “I’ve seen what the money people give back can do and how it directly impacts the student-athletes. What a great experience they’ve created for me and for everybody here.”
Fulkerson hopes to leave a legacy at the University of Tennessee as a great teammate and competitor on the court and outside of the lines, someone who is a great role model that bled orange and white.
“I just wanted to make them [fans] proud and to be able to represent Tennessee in a good way, especially for younger kids. That’s very close to my heart because that’s exactly who I was,” reflected Fulkerson. “I looked up to so many basketball players here [Tennessee], so for me to be in this position and have them look up to me, I just want to be the best role model and made a positive impact everywhere I go.”