There is a special bond that Alex Lewis and his two sisters, Taylor and Avery, share with their mother, Kimberly.
A single mother, Kimberly dedicated her time to raising her three kids while also running one of the most successful dance studios in the Valley, let alone Ahwatukee. Even through every extracurricular activity Alex and his sisters participate in growing up, Kimberly was always there.
“My mom works harder than any woman I know,” Alex said. “She was a single mother who raised us and still was able to run her business, which is her passion. I wouldn’t expect anything less from her.”
The Lewis family recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of Dance Studio 111, Kimberly’s business that she built from the ground up. Alex and the rest of the family took part in a special production to celebrate the anniversary, “Cheers to 25 years.”
To Alex, taking part in the production was another way to honor his mother on the dance stage before he returns to Maryland to continue playing on the biggest stage football has to offer.
A 6-foot-6, 305-pound offensive tackle, Lewis graduated from Mountain Pointe High School in 2010. He was a part of the first team led by former Pride coach Norris Vaughan, which finished 12-1 and established the foundation for what would make Mountain Pointe one of the most dominant programs in the state.
Lewis signed with the University of Colorado after high school, and went on to play in all 12 games for the Buffaloes his freshman year. He moved to left guard his sophomore season with Colorado, but transferred to the University of Nebraska ahead of his junior year. After sitting out in 2013 due to the NCAA transfer rules, he became a two-year starter for the Cornhuskers.
He was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
“It feels good to represent the community and Mountain Pointe,” Lewis said. “But it feels even better to represent my mother and all she has done for me. She showed me that no matter what type of adversity you go through to always keep striving for what you’re passionate about.”
Lewis has battled through adversity in his three seasons with the Ravens, but has come back stronger in each instance.
As a rookie, he started for Baltimore the first 10 weeks before a sprained ankle forced him to miss the rest of the season. In 2017, Shoulder surgery kept him out the entire season. Last year, a suspected neck injury forced him to exit the field on a cart, but he returned two weeks later to finish the season.
Lewis has been praised for his footwork since being drafted by the Ravens. His quickness allows him to be a versatile blocker, capable of reaching the second level with ease. According to Kimberly, that trait came from his time as a child spent dancing in the studio.
“He really didn’t want to take ballet but I knew how important it would be for him,” she said. “I remember he was fighting me on going but all of a sudden he had a new love for it. Come to find out, one of the teachers, Jill (Hammond), was paying him to go to class.
“But ballet really did help him with his core and his footwork.”
Lewis is listed as the starting left guard for the Ravens for the upcoming 2019 season, a spot that will be difficult for him to lose. He will continue to use the footwork he learned as a child growing up in Ahwatukee, but he doesn’t believe that came from dancing.
To him, it’s the result of constant motivation from his mother.
“She always pushed me,” Lewis said. “Whether it was in football or dance, she was always there for me.
“She is extremely determined and believes in not giving up.”