Motivation and Basketball Tricks with Jim “Basketball” Jones: A Slam Dunk for HSE Students
I won’t quit! This was just one of the messages students at Harrison Parkway Elementary School heard from an energetic guy with several basketballs. That energetic guy is Jim “Basketball” Jones. Growing up in Ohio, Jim struggled with a learning disability, dyslexia. He spent his early years in special education. By high school, Jim was no longer in special education classes but continued to require tutoring. It was also during this time that he began learning to spin and juggle basketballs.
Much like school, Jim put in countless hours in order to successfully handle the basketball. At the age of 16, Jim was performing at half times during the Cleveland Cavalier’s games. His positive outlook and determination not only paid off on the court, but also in school. Jim graduated from high school and, despite low scores on his college entrance exams, Jim graduated from Bowling Green State University with honors and then earned a Masters Degree in Business from Ohio State University.
Now, Jim draws from his experiences to help motivate others. From his home in Toledo, Ohio, Jim travels within a 250 mile radius to encourage kids not to lose sight of their dreams. Jim says “I have done over 350 assemblies over the last five years. It’s great to see my sayings painted on the walls of schools and repeated in classrooms.” Hamilton Southeastern schools are certainly a fan of Jim’s program, because he has already made several trips to many schools in the district. Mary Fieldhouse, the school counselor at Harrison Parkway responsible for bringing Jim “Basketball” Jones to the school, said “other counselors talk and Jim’s program has been highly recommended”.
The students of Harrison Parkway Elementary were treated to a spectacular display of juggling and basketball tricks performed with lively music. All eyes were riveted on Jim from the time the students entered the school’s gym until they danced out (at the direction of Jim). He involved the students and teachers in many of his tricks all the while delivering important life messages vital to being successful in any endeavor. He even gave out pencils engraved with notes from his mother, who would offer Jim words of encouragement as he struggled through school.
A message Jim calls “piece of cake”, is used to demonstrate that many people learn by breaking down concepts and learning step by step. In other words, don’t eat the whole cake just a piece at a time. Other life messages he shared with students are to have the courage to be you, being supportive of others, the importance of listening skills and making good choices. The students were enthusiastically reciting these and other messages by the end of the assembly.
Perhaps the most important message Jim delivered was his presence. He is proof that by living the messages he preaches one can truly realize a goal. To quote Jim “Basketball” Jones, “I won’t quit!”
If you would like more information on the Jim “Basketball” Jones program, including information geared toward students, check out his website at www.jimbasketballjones.com.