Among the throngs of Venezuelans marching in streets on Wednesday, protesting the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, was a 6 foot 11 inch former center for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels men’s basketball team.
Kris Lang, 39, of Gastonia, North Carolina, posted a picture and a series of videos on Instagram Wednesday of himself amongst protesters clashing with government forces.
The videos show protesters hurling rocks at soldiers on a nearby bridge who return volleys of tear gas canisters into the crowd.
In another Instagram video posted the same day, Lang called on Venezuelans to stand up to their government.
“Venezuela, it is time to fight for your rights,” said Lang in Spanish. Adding, “You don’t need to live like this … you have more rights than the government is giving you. Please, go into the streets, protest, march, support all the people in the streets. Because I am tired of hearing so many Venezuelans say, ‘I want to leave my country’ … Here in Venezuela, you have everything. It is one of the best countries in the world. It’s true. And many of those who know me know I love Venezuela. I am here supporting, and everything.”
Lang played forward and center for the Tar Heels from 1998-2002 under coaches Bill Guthridge and Matt Doherty, and according to his North Carolina basketball player profile, was the 50th leading scorer in Carolina history.
Since then, his career has taken him around the world, playing on multiple pro teams in Europe, Turkey and South Korea, before landing in Venezuela in 2013.
According to Sports Venezuela, Lang joined his current squad, Panteras de Miranda, in June of 2018 after having played for two other Venezuelan teams, Crocodrilos de Caracas and Bucaneros de la Guaira.
After Wednesday’s protests, in which opposition leader and President of Venezuela’s National Assembly Juan Guaido declared himself head of state, US President Donald Trump and leaders from Canada and nine Latin American nations, formerly recognized Guaido’s claim to power.
Hours later, Maduro broke diplomatic relations with the US, ordering all of its diplomats to leave the country within 72 hours.