UK Snooker Championship 2017: Mark King embraces new Kojak nickname
Mark King says he may stick with the new “Kojak” nickname handed to him before his stunning 6-5 win over four-time world champion John Higgins.
The Essex potter let BBC Master of Ceremonies Rob Walker come up with a new temporary moniker prior to his introduction to Wednesday’s last-16 UK Championship encounter.
Walker chose the famous lollipop-sucking detective, played by Telly Savalas in the cult American 70s TV show, as a tribute to King.
“He can have it for now,” joked world number 21 King.
“It was just a bit of banter we had. He can keep doing it. Let’s see how it goes. He has got it for the run of this competition.”
Walker also handed King a lollipop as he made his way into the York Barbican arena, which he sucked during the latter stages of the impressive win.
“My mouth was like a camel’s armpit and I had no chewing gum and it was there,” King, 43, explained.
“It was nice to get some flavour. It was cherry as well so he did well.
“What a programme that was with Telly Savalas – but I don’t look like anything like him.”
King, who won his first ranking event title in 2016 at the age of 42, had not gone beyond the second round of the UK Championship since 2005.
Making the most of cashing in
He faces Shaun Murphy or Ricky Walden in the last eight and said his breakthrough and £70,000 pay cheque for his victory in the Northern Ireland Open last season has been a massive help on many levels.
King, who has had to overcome a gambling addiction, said: “On that evening when I won in Belfast, I think I had £1.34 in the bank. I had the prize money coming but at that stage that’s all I had.
“It’s nice to play without having to worry about that stuff.
“When the missus rings up and says ‘can you transfer some money?’, I can go ‘done’.
“I don’t have to ring up someone and say ‘can I borrow a couple of hundred quid until my prize money comes in?’
“It’s nice to go out and enjoy it and not think it’s the be-all and end-all, that I’ve got to win to pay the bills.
“I can now play and enjoy it. I work hard. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke and I look after my family – and that’s what I’m about.”